Eating 100 Year Old Food Can Be Tastier Than You Might Think

[From the archives.]


A few years ago my wife and I had the privilege to be in a Bible study with a number of older people. You know what goes with Bible study and older people? Food. But not the type that comes from a package. Every week someone signed up to bring a snack, and every week there was someone’s home-made treat on the table. One of the best of all time was my friend’s fresh apple cake.

Fuji apples (Wikimedia)

Fuji apples

Eating these delicious platters and bowls of love always led to stories about how they were made, where the recipe came from, how long they’ve been making it. When it comes to those stories, this apple cake – if you’ll pardon the expression – takes the cake.

Our friend told us it’s a recipe she got when young from her grandmother. Now since this was a few years ago and our friend even then was in her 70s, I figure she learned the recipe back in the 1950s. If it is her grandmother’s recipe, then I also figure it might well go back to when her grandmother was a young woman as well, which would take us to the early 20th century. And that makes this recipe quite possibly close to 100 years old. Who knows? It could even be older.

But you know what else this recipe is? Delicious!

Learning from our elders is ancient proverbial wisdom, and passing it along is wise too. Are there any older recipes you return to? Please share in the comments. They don’t have to be pushing the century mark; anything that’s been around a while that means something special to you would be fun for us to read about.

So here for your pleasure is a simple and delicious apple cake recipe, complete with drizzled icing. If you try this recipe, you will have a very happy tummy.


2 Cups plain flour

1/2 tsp salt

This is kind of what it looks like. Bicycles optional. (Source)

This is kind of what it looks like. Bicycles optional.

1 tsp baking soda

Pinch of nutmeg (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp but I think that is too much)

2 tsp cinnamon (recipe calls for 1/2 tsp but I like more)

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar (recipe calls for 2 cups sugar in total … so suit yourself)

1/2 cup shortening (I substitute one stick of butter for a richer taste)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

3 cups peeled, cored, chopped apples (food processor works well)

1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted if you like)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour a 13 X 9 inch baking pan.

Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.

Sift all the dry ingredients together and add to the butter, sugar eggs mixture until well combined.

Stir in apples and nuts. (Add raisins or dried cranberries, whichever sounds good)

Bake 45 minutes. (Sometimes mine gets done sooner so check after 35 minutes)


3 cups sugar

1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

Brown 1/2 cup sugar in an iron skillet.

In a heavy saucepan, combine remaining sugar, flour and milk and bring to a rolling boil; mix in the browned sugar and stir well. Bring to soft boil stage and stir in one stick of butter.  Beat until creamy and spread (or drizzle, that’s what we do) over the apple cake.


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4 Responses to Eating 100 Year Old Food Can Be Tastier Than You Might Think

  1. Deanna says:

    Yay, a recipe exchange! That apple cake looks outstanding! I’d like to share my grandma’s “barbecue” It’s nothing fancy, basically like sloppy joes but way yummier thanks to the extra spices. I never liked traditional sloppy joes because this recipe spoiled me! This is basically our family’s signature dish that has passed down from my grandma to my mom and her siblings and now to me and my cousins.
    Barbara’s Barbecue:
    2 1/2 lbs ground beef
    2 medium onions
    2 tbsp relish
    1 pt ketchup
    1 tbsp sugar
    2 tbsp mustard
    1 tbsp vinegar
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp cloves

    Brown and drain the beef, mix in the rest of the ingredients and simmer as long as possible (the longer the better!) This is also one of those meals that tastes even better the next day!

  2. EricaM says:

    Most of my older relatives seem able to just throw things together and it comes out amazing. I’ve never developed that talent. I would give you some of the recipes the Greek ladies taught me, but they left out ingredients on purpose and I’ve yet to figure out what they’re supposed to be. XD

    • Tim says:

      I modify or even just make up recipes all the time, Erica. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but usually it’s tasty enough!

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