Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Breakfast Tradition: AP Cake

I've always been bothered by something on the internet: Why can't I find an Appie Cake recipe? I mean, am I calling it the wrong thing? Am I spelling it wrong? Is it Apie or Apee? You see, Appie cake was something I grew up on, yet according to Google, it doesn't seem to exist. 97 billion webpages can't be wrong...or can they? Update: Couldn't find it because it's listed as AP Cake Recipe or A.P. Cake Recipe, which does seem to translate well to All Purpose cake.

Ok, I know this has nothing to do with ice cream, but we do occasionally bake here at the scoop, so I present to you a mild yet satisfying treat. Traditionally served as or with breakfast, Appie cake is great plain or served with butter. (excuse me while I add Appie to my spelling dictionary so it stops trying to correct it). Where does it come from? I don't really know. Amish? not sure. Pennsylvania Dutch? yeah, maybe...probably, iunno, maybe someone can chime in and let us know.

Appie Cake Recipe
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter/margarine
2.5 Cups of Flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
(Cane) Sugar for sprinkles

Here goes: Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Mix the Flour, baking soda and baking powder. Next, stir in the dark brown sugar. Now, thoroughly blend in the (room temp) butter or margarine [my mom always used margarine, though we've been trying it with butter recently].

Beat the egg into the half cup of milk and put into the mixture.You're going to windy up with a pasty batter. Spread this into a 9" pie plate (nice and flat). Sprinkle with sugar (Cane sugar works great). Now put it in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

I took mine out at 42 minutes (when a toothpick came clean from the center)

That's it, you're done! Pretty simple! I've stated before I'm no chef, and this recipe may not be perfect, but it should get you pretty close to what you are looking for. I think I remember it being just a little more moist, but maybe I just need to keep adding milk til I get it perfect. Then I was wondering if I should have used unsalted butter, but considering my mom always used margarine (which is salted), I don't really know. If you have any suggestions (or an alternate recipe), let me know! [below is a close up of final result]

Serving Suggestion: We use to cut it like a pie as a kid, but a 3/4" thick rectangular piece works as well. Spread on some butter or margarine to make it perfect.


Amy said...

I just wanted to say that I'm definitely going to have to add that to my Recipes to Make list! And I just discovered your blog today, and I am loving it!!! Great job!

Anonymous said...

Its A-P cake as in All Purpose Cake and it is PA Dutch Amish make as a simple dessert with dinner or as a coffee cake for breakfast.

Dubba said...

that's what I pretty much figured, but it's tough to be 100% sure nowadays.

Have I mentioned it's tasty?

Anonymous said...


Dubba said...

interesting, though everything Ann Page related seems to refer to cookies, though the general area (Philly) seems appropriate.

Cookie said...

They're named that because they're an all-purpose cake, made to be eaten as breakfast or dessert and when they get a little stale, you dunk them in coffee or warm milk. Most men in my family prefer to let them get a little stale so they can dunk them. The recipe has existed since at least the early 1900's.

PaulyA said...

How can this be AP cake without molasses? I'm from Lancaster PA and I've been eating AP cake since I can remember. My mother made it every year in huge batches. A recipe passed down from my PA Dutch grandmother. I can't imagine it without molasses. All the recipes I'm seeing online don't include it. I may have to post it somewhere. It's amazing.

Dubba said...

molasses? hmmm, dont know, had it a million times but never with molasses.... but when you say molasses I start thinking shoo fly pie!

Sparky 727 said...

My grandmother baked these for my grandfather every week as he had a piece every AM for as long as I remember,but she made hers with Crisco. Never used molasses! Thanks
for the recipe.

Dubba said...

@Sparky: enjoy! AP cake should be passed on from generation to generation :)

Anonymous said...

We always used Crisco for the shortening and Turkey Brand syrup instead of molasses.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

The name, AP, does not derive from "all purpose" or from "Ann Page." Rather, AP (Apee) derives from the Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsylvania German) word, Eepikuche (pronounced Apee-koocha). The origin of this word was discussed in Professor Barba's Deitsch Eck in the Allentown Morning Call on June 12: 1954:

"The word apee cake is a partial translation of Pennsylvania German Eepikuche, which in turn is derived from French pain d'epice. The French word, which means literally 'spice bread' or 'spice loaf,' is generally explained as 'gingerbread' in bilingual dictionaries. Actually, however, this word denotes a popular honey-flavored cake for which Dijon is as famous as Nürnberg is for Lebkuchen. Lambert lists only the form eepies (with correct etymology) in the sense of 'cookie, Christmas cookie (frequently cut in the shape of animals.' How did this French word get to PA via Germany? Unable to find the word in any German dialect dictionary, Barba wrote to Professor Walter Mitzka of the University of Marburg for information. Professor Mitzka, director of the Deutscher Sprachatlas and the editor of the Zeitschrift für Mundartforschung, forwarded my request to Professor Ernst Christmann of Kaiserslautern, who is one of the greatest living experts on the Palantine dialects. Professor Christmann assured me that the word Eepikuche is not known in the Palatinate, and requested information regarding its appearance and manner of preparation. The French origin of the word plus its present geographic spread permit one to hazard the guess that the word was brought to America by the German-speaking Huguenots; for while Eepikuche and its English form apee cake are current in and around the Oley Valley, they seem to be virtually unknown in the western part of the Pennsylvania German area. Indeed, these dry breakfast cakes similar to shoofly cakes are called Dutch cakes. It might be added here that popular etymology has connected this French-German-American word with A. P. (Ann Page) cakes!"

Anonymous said...

My Father, born 1914 and grew up on a Pennsylvania Dutch farm in the Oley Valley talked about eating APees Cake (spelling). A long time ago I asked if he knew where the name came from ... he was not sure but thought it was a Pennsylvania Dutch word, not the name of a person. About 20 years ago, when he was still alive I bought him an Apees Cake at the Kutztown PA Dutch Folk Festival, he said it tasted very different from the one my Grandmother made ... makes me think each cook had their own recipe. Interestingly, the Kutztown Folk Festival attributes APees Cake to someone from the Philadelphia area. Just as we may never know the source for the name Oley in Oley Valley we may never know the real source or original recipe for Apees Cake. Play with the recipe and enjoy it with your coffee for me I'll stick to a slice of chocolate cake and big glass of cold milk. And real "Dutch" shoofly pies always have a "wet bottom".

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness for Pinterest!!! Ive made AP cakes for years and outside my family i couldn't gind anything on them. Thanks for all the info! Tho my Grammys recipe is different too, flour, brown sugar, milk,egg and baking soda. I LOVE this stuff

Anonymous said...

all I have to say is Aint nobody got anything on us Pennsylvania cooks. I grew up on stuff like this myself. This really is a great thing, don't 2nd guess it get this recipe and you will be hooked.