Let them eat (Brent Amaker’s grandma’s) cake!


If you live in Seattle (especially West Seattle) you know Brent Amaker, at least by sight. You’ve at least seen photos of him and his band The Rodeo – it’s hard to miss five guys dressed head to toe in black cowboy attire in a town full of indie rockers. And if you haven’t seen his band, you’ve probably run into him out on the town — how many guys karaoke at the Yen Wor or pop up at every show, from hip-hop to choral indie-folk, looking like The Man In Black? Brent is a bad-ass, and exudes effortless, black-clad cowboy awesomeness whether he’s performing whiskey baptisms from the stage, rooting on his pals in the Young Evils or helping you pick out car insurance. Why do you think we crowned him the Mayor of West Seattle?


I know I love Brent’s music (which someone recently described as a cross between Johnny Cash and Flight of the Conchords) but I did not know that Brent makes a mean cake. (And by “mean,” I mean “delicious.”) You learn something new every day – although you’ve gotta wonder what he wears in the kitchen. If anyone can accessorize a cowboy hat with an apron, it’d be Brent. Of that much, I’m certain…


If you haven’t seen Brent and the Rodeo live or checked out their latest tongue-in-cheek country masterpiece, “Please Stand By,” I urge you to remedy that situation immediately. It’s entertainment the way God intended it – awesome, dressed entirely in black and drenched in whiskey. He’s the one who writes the country hits. He’s the Man In Charge. And he’s apparently damn good in the kitchen, too.


We were at our local pirate bar when I asked Brent if he’d contribute to the site, so the details of what I beseeched him to deliver are a little fuzzy.  This is what he ended up giving me.



When Barbara Mitchell asked me to review an album for her new website, I thought to myself, this needs to be special.  I mean let’s face it, Barbara KNOWS music!  And on top of that, I live in the most amazing music city on the planet.  There is SO much to choose from.  Which band gets reviewed?  And could I really do them justice?  It would have to be something new and something mind blowing.

After tormenting myself for days, it came to me.  Barbara deserves BETTER than this.  And I can do better.  Sure Seattle is known for it’s music, but it’s also known for it’s coffee, it’s bars, it’s FOOD, and uh….., APPLES!  SO Barbara, it is with great pride that I give to you my favorite cake recipe. Behold:  Grandma’s German Apple Cake.

1 ¼  Cup oil

2 cups sugar – white

3 cups apples peeled and chopped into small pieces.  Use cooking apples (Jonathan or Winesap are good.  Use Granny Smith if you like it tart)

3 eggs well beaten

1 cup pecans

2 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups plain flour

2 tsp soda

1 tsp salt

Sift dry ingredients together.  Mix oil and sugar together and beat until well mixed, then add 3 eggs and beat again.  Add apples and flour mixture alternately.  Mix well, then stir in nuts and vanilla or beat in just for a minute.  Bake in a 13 x9 pan that is greased and floured.  I use a big industrial lasagna pan.  Start baking in cold oven at 325 and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to make sure it’s done in the center.

This cake is best with a caramel icing and I like to ice it hot out of the oven.  That way the icing soaks into the cake and forms crunchy sweetness around the edges.  Yum!

Caramel Icing:

½ Cup oleo

1 cup light brown sugar

¼ cup canned milk

1 tsp vanilla

Mix oleo and brown sugar together and heat over low fire.  Add canned milk and let it come to a boil.  Boil for a half minute or so.  Remove and let cool.  Add vanilla and speak on cake.  Icing is thin, but thickens as it cools.  Serve warm

This cake KICKS ASS!  People who know me have been asking for THIS recipe for years.  This is the first time I have taken the time to write it down.  I hope you like it.  Serve warm with a shot of whiskey on the side.

And if you are still looking for some great new music, check out VIRGIN (http://www.myspace.com/fastfriendsuk).   I’m not going waste a word reviewing their music.  Eat my German Apple Cake.  If you like it, go out and buy Virgin’s new LP.  After this you will not question my taste in food OR music.


Mr. Amaker


Here’s a quick list of what Brent’s been grooving to, along with a helpful hangover cure – especially helpful after seeing Brent and the Rodeo and partaking in one of their whiskey baptisms. Enjoy!


Chain and the Gang, “Music’s Not For Everyone”

Scott Walker, “Scott”

The Young Evils, “Enchanted Chapel”

The Three O’ Clock, “Sixteen Tambourines”

Dungen, “Skit I Allt”


Favorite hangover cure:  Going for a run.  It hurts, but gets all the tainted blood out of your system in about 20 minutes.

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