10 Overlooked Apples for Apple Lemon Cake

Like a number of apples, the flavor of Black Oxford, an heirloom from Maine, improves in storage. (Bar Lois Weeks)

PART OF THE BEAUTY of New England’s orchards is their diversity, in size, location, crops, and, especially, their apple varieties. More than 30 varieties are grown in commercial quantities in the region; there are as many as 200 more that are rarer and typically found in just a few places.

Some of the more obscure apples are heirlooms, some are new. Many heirlooms are experiencing modest revivals due to their unique flavors and textures and their properties in ciders, fresh and hard. 

Some of the newer apples are just getting started. The better ones will become more widely planted and better known in the years ahead.

Here are some late-season apples, old and new, still available at many orchards, farm stands, and grocery stores. Click on the link to learn more about them.

Any of these would be good choices for Apple Lemon Cake (Macs and Cortlands are good, too!).

The exquisite, spicy taste of Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, Apple Hill Farm, Concord, New Hampshire, make it a favorite among cider makers. (Bar Lois Weeks)
CrimsonCrisp apples, Riverview Farm, Meriden, New Hampshire, have excellent flavor and storage qualities. (Russell Steven Powell)
Macoun is a parent of Liberty apples, High Hill Orchard, Meriden, Connecticut. (Bar Lois Weeks)
GoldRush apples, Tougas Family Farm, Northborough, Massachusetts, are rich in color and flavor. (Russell Steven Powell)
Haralson apple, Hackett’s Orchard, South Hero, Vermont, has hints of pineapple and lime. (Russell Steven Powell)
A large apple, Melrose keeps its shape when cooked. (Bar Lois Weeks)
An all-purpose apple, Rome, or Rome Beauty, Averill Farm, Washington Depot, Connecticut, is especially good in baking. (Russell Steven Powell)
Spencer apple tree, The Big Apple, Wrentham, Massachusetts. Spencer has McIntosh and Golden Delicious parents. (Bar Lois Weeks)
The heirloom apple Yellow Bellflower, Hackett’s Orchard, South Hero, Vermont, sweetens with age. (Russell Steven Powell)

Apple Lemon Cake

Apple Lemon Cake is fast becoming the cake of choice at birthdays in our circles. Adapted from Olwen Woodier’s classic 1984 Apple Cookbook, this version is rich in flavor and elegant enough for any occasion.

Preheat oven to 350oF. Grease and flour a 9×13-inch pan or a 10-inch tube pan.

Grate the zest of 1 lemon, reserving 1 t for the glaze. Juice the lemon, reserving 3 T for the glaze.

In large bowl, mix together:

1 c butter, melted

1/2 c vegetable oil

3 eggs

2 c sugar

3 t lemon zest

1-1/2 c white flour

1-1/2 c whole wheat flour

1 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

1 c pecans, chopped

3 New England apples, chopped

all but 3 T juice of lemon

Pour batter in pan. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes. Cool 10 minutes. Prick top of cake with fork tines.

Spread glaze over the warm cake:

1 c confectioners’ sugar

2 T butter, softened

3 T reserved juice of lemon

1 t lemon zest

1 T honey