Tasty Tuesday: Fresh Apple Cake

Our favorite Cake-that’s-not-chocolate is Fresh Apple Cake. I got this recipe about 21 years ago from the secretary at the private Christian school where I was teaching. Carolyn was, in all ways, older and wiser than I. Everything she ever brought to the potlucks in the teacher’s lounge was memorable. I hounded the poor woman for recipes all year. This recipe, of all the ones she shared with me, has endured in my file. It’s THE best cake ever. I actually found a recipe for this cake in a very, very old cookbook, but it called for twice as much sugar and oil as Carolyn’s recipe does. I can’t imagine this cake being better, so I’ll go with this recipe.

Fresh Apple Cake

First, a note about the apples. It really helps, when making this recipe, to have the apples peeled and cut up before you start making the cake batter itself. The best apples, in my book, for this recipe are Granny Smiths or Pippins. Any tart baking apple is fabulous. I will admit, however, that I frequently make this cake to use up any apples sitting in the fruit bowl that are past their prime. If the apple is getting soft or slightly withered, use it! I draw the line at rotten apples though.

You want to end up with 5 c. diced apples (depending on the size of the apple, you will use 4-6 apples.) The apples need to be peeled, cored, and diced up. I do NOT do this in a food processor. Sometimes I’ll get out my apple peeler/corer/slicer thingy and use that. That certainly speeds up the apple process if I don’t have to dig too long or too deep for the gadget itself. After the apples are ready, I set them aside while I make the batter.

Mix together:

  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. oil
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 2 t. soda
  • dash salt
  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground cloves
  • 1 t. ground allspice
  • 1 c. chopped nuts (sometimes I use pecans and sometimes walnuts. Which nut you choose to use does affect the flavor, but it’s a matter of taste. I’ve made this recipe without nuts a few times for friends with nut allergies. On those occasions I stirred in a cup of raisins instead. This did change the texture of the cake somewhat, but it was still delicious.)

At this point, the dough will be very stiff until you add the apples. Go ahead and add the apples. Do not overmix once you’ve added the apples or you’ll end up with a lot of applesauce! (I want to make a special note here that the dough will be SO stiff you might think that you did something wrong. Fear not. Just add the apples.)

I bake this cake in a greased 10 1/2″ x 16″ glass pyrex baking dish at 325 degrees for approximately 50 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. This cake burns VERY easily, so it’s important to use a glass baking dish (you can divide it between two if you don’t have the big rectangular one.) Watch the cake carefully and if you notice it starting to scorch on the bottom, turn the oven down to 300 degrees.

If you MUST frost the cake (and I never do) the cream cheese frosting recipe is as follows:

  • 6 T. butter
  • 6 oz. cream cheese
  • 3 c. powdered sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla

We’ve decided in this household that this cake is better without frosting. A dab of whipping cream or a small bit of vanilla ice cream adds a nice touch if the cake is too plain.

Warning: this cake smells so delicious as it’s baking that you may find yourself tempted to crawl into the oven to eat it right there.

Here’s a curious thing. When we lived in California and Colorado, this cake was, far and away, better on the day AFTER it was baked. It was moister and yummier. Here in NC, however, there is enough humidity that the rules have changed. If I let this cake sit overnight, it gets gooier and gooier and nearly liquid. It really is NOT good on the second day. Actually, it TASTES delicious but has the texture of batter! So in a humid climate, this cake is best eaten the day it is baked.

For other fun apple recipes, visit My Sisters Kitchen. Some of our favorites are:

Apple Sauce Cake

Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Apple Dapple Cake

Sugarless Apple Bundt Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Butterscotch Coffee Cake

We REALLY like apples and have an entire category devoted to Apple Recipes.

Barb Kelley.


  1. Barb! I just got some amazing apples from Jim’s Produce in Deep Gap! What a yummy recipe!

  2. Anna made this for our small grp dinner and it was so delicious I had to get the recipe!! Thanks!!