While I have the misfortune of being born just one week before Christmas, Mark has it even worse. His birthday is four days after the biggest gift-giving holiday of the year, and it’s easy to overlook it.

Actually, it’s not easy for me. Knowing what it’s like to have a December birthday, I make an extra effort every year. (As opposed to his father who just may have completely forgotten his son’s big day last year. Just saying.)

Mark’s mom, though, always worked hard to make his birthday special and completely separate from Christmas. One of the ways she did that was baking him his favorite cake. Unfortunately, my previous attempts to follow her recipe haven’t been totally successful.

As a matter of fact, I decided last year that a mix making a decent replica of my mother-in-law’s apple cake was good enough. This year, though, I’ve been in a baking mood, so I gave it another shot. And while I still love Tastefully Simple’s apple cake mix, I have to admit it: Homemade apple cake is WAY better!

For the first time, I used Crisco in a recipe. I wonder if perhaps I tried to substitute vegetable oil the last time I tried to make this cake. It could be that made the difference.

By the way, I actually prefer the cake without the frosting. I love sweet and don’t often find myself saying, “Oh, it’s just too sweet!” But this time, I did. I want my apple cake straight up with a milk chaser!

Marilyn’s Apple Cake

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
2 cups finely chopped apples

Icing
3 oz. cream cheese
2 oz. butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the sugar, shortening and eggs together. Add dry ingredients. The batter will be dry – very dry (see photo below). Add chopped apples. (You can also shred the apples if you prefer smaller pieces.) Spread into greased 9×13 pan. Bake for one hour. Frost the cooled cake.

What special dish do you like to eat (or make) on your birthday? And for you married ladies, have you ever used one of your mother-in-law’s recipes? Successfully?

This post will be linked to Mouthwatering Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Foodie Friday, Grocery Cart Challenge, Friday Firsts and Food on Fridays. It will also be linked to Ingredient Spotlight at Eat at Home.

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