Certain foods have special meaning to us because we associate them with special events or people in our lives. Apples and these three apple dessert recipes do just that! They bring lots of wonderful memories flooding back – filled with special family, great friends and, of course, apples.

Cortland apple

Apples take center stage in the ingredients for all three dessert recipes.

Photo Credit: James Keith

Apple corer

The “Apple Peeler Corer Slicer” is a real time-saver if you’re preparing lots of apples.

Photo Credit: Megan Bame

Apple dumplings

These apple dumplings are a quick and easy apple treat.

Photo Credit: Megan Bame

Fresh Apple Cake

While this dessert wasn’t one of my favorites, it sure had a special place in Grandpa’s heart. This fresh apple cake was a staple food in my grandparent’s house. Though the neatly typed recipe lists the title as “Fresh Apple Cake,” they always called it “Raisin Cake,” obviously choosing to include the optional ingredient, raisins. Apparently Grandma thought it needed more apples too. Where the recipe once read 1½ cups of apples, she revised it to read 3 cups.


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 3 cups thinly sliced fresh apples

Cream sugar and Crisco, add eggs and blend well. Add vanilla, and sift in dry ingredients. Blend well. Fold in nuts, raisins and apples. Bake in greased and floured tube pan for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.


  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 4 tbsp evaporated milk

Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Pour over hot cake.

Apple Crisp

In college, my roommates and I cooked occasionally. There’s no doubt desserts were our specialty. Often we would plan a dessert to be coming out of the oven just as the sitcom Friends was coming on the air. My friend Stephanie’s favorite was this apple crisp, served hot, with vanilla ice cream.


  • 5 cups sliced, pared, tart apples
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup butter or margarine

Arrange apples in greased 9-inch pie platter or round Pyrex dish. Combine brown sugar, flour, oats and cinnamon. Cut in butter with fork until crumbly. Press mixture over apples. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, or until top is browned.

Apple Dumplings

My other college roommate’s specialty was pizza or pasta, but she also enjoyed a certain apple dessert – especially when we used apples bought on a trip to visit her grandparents in the North Carolina mountains. But Vanessa was a fan of short cuts – hey, who isn’t! So despite the snub from authentic chefs, I can testify that these dumplings, made with canned biscuits, are delicious!


  • 1 can flaky biscuits
  • 3-4 apples, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick margarine

Roll out biscuits. Place a couple slices of apple in each biscuit, pull edges together and pinch closed. Set the “dumplings” in a casserole dish. Bring brown sugar, water and margarine to a boil. Pour over dumplings. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until brown. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

Of course biting into a crisp, flavorful apple is yummy, too, but when you’re looking to share something a little extra sweet – and maybe even make a few sweet memories of your own to cherish – try jazzing up your next batch of apples with one of these recipes. As Julia Childs used to say, “Bon appétit!”