Apple Coffee Cake

3 cups peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apples (3-4 hard, tart apples)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Zest or grated rind of 1 orange
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease and flour a bundt pan or 10-inch plain tube pan and set aside. In a small bowl, combine apples with brown sugar and cinnamon. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and orange zest.

In a third bowl, beat eggs and oil until thick and creamy, about 2 minutes at high speed on electric mixer or with a balloon whisk. Incorporate egg and oil mixture into dry ingredients, then add orange juice and vanilla extract, if using, and beat just until moistened but blended. Do not overmix.

Pour one third of the batter over bottom of prepared pan. Cover evenly with half of apple mixture and then pour another one-third of the batter over apples. Use a spatula to smooth batter over the apples. Repeat if you have enough batter, but always end with a smooth layer of batter.

Bake for about 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for 1 hour. Invert onto a serving plate.
from Kim O’Donnell.