I've made a cake very, very similar to this for years and I've discovered that the apple taste is better with 4 Granny Smith apples, sliced about 1/4" thick. I've sliced them before with my Pampered Chef apple corer/slicer thingy and couldn't taste the apples, so it's better if the apples are sliced thicker, but not too thick. I usually add 1/2 tsp of fresh orange zest to the batter, too, just to take it up a notch, and next time will mix my apple slices with the cinnamon-sugar mixture instead of sprinkling it over the apples. People love this cake, and it smells SO good while it's baking!!
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I've made a cake very, very similar to this for years and I've discovered that the apple taste...