This moist apple cake has layers of apple-cinnamon filling with a walnut topping. It's even better on the second day and will have you coming back to the kitchen for more!
Our family made a second trip to the apple orchard last weekend. You might remember me talking about our first trip to the orchard in my post about homemade apple butter. In that post I complained about the 90+ degree weather. Well, in true midwest fashion, the weather did a complete 180 and this visit to the orchard we had highs in the 40's. It was SO cold. The only person in our group dressed properly was our daughter with her winter hats and mittens.
This trip to the orchard we picked Northern Spy apples. It's a type of apple I wasn't familiar with, but according to King Orchard, it's a late season apple that is tart and will hold up well for storage. At the orchard last weekend they told us "spys are for pies". Catchy wouldn't you agree? I was thrilled to learn that they will hold up because I've been baking apple EVERYTHING this fall and... I need a bit of a break.
What Apples are Best for Baking?
Picking the best apple for baking is a bit of a personal choice. I think the most important component is finding an apple that is firm enough to hold it's shape because no one likes mushy apple desserts... ugh. Ideally you want an apple with a mix of tartness and sweetness. All of this being said, conventional wisdom often recommends Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Honey Crisp for baking.
How Do I make Apple Cake?
This apple cake recipe comes from Deb Perelman's Smitten Kitchen cookbook. For those of you that don't know Deb, she's an amazing food blogger that's been in the game forever. She's a down-to-earth gal and her recipes are such as well. No fancy ingredients or 20 step instructions. Deb says that her mother has been making this cake since she was a kid and that her mother got the recipe from a neighbor.
This recipe starts simply with peeling and chopping apples into one-inch chunks. My chunks were slightly larger and everything worked out fine. You're going to add sugar and cinnamon to the apples which will draw out the juices. This juice is FULL of flavor so be sure to add it along with the apples later in the recipe.
The steps for the cake batter are pretty basic, nothing fancy here. You whisk your dry ingredients together in one bowl. You whisk your wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Then you combine everything together and VOILA! Don't over-mix your wet and dry ingredients. Just fold everything together until it's well combined.
Now comes the fun part. You layer the cake batter and apples in your tube pan. This ensures that you end up with apples evenly distributed throughout the cake. The layers go cake batter, apples, cake batter, apples, and WALNUTS! Deb says she doesn't use the walnuts but I really enjoyed the taste that they added to the recipe.
Whew, that's it! After you throw that baby in the oven for 1 ½ hours and cool the cake, you have a delicious apple cake on your hands. I found that I actually had to cook my cake for about 15 additional minutes because there were pockets of uncooked dough surrounding the apples (Deb warns us about this in her recipe). So just keep a close eye on the cake during the last 20 minutes or so.
- 6 apples peeled and chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 5 tablspoons granulated sugar
- 2 ¾ cup flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 cup canola oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs large
- 1 cup walnuts
- Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheight and place baking rack in the center of oven. Spray a tube pan with baking spray (flour + butter mixture).
- Prepare your apples by peeling, slicing, and chopping them into chunks. Add cinnamon and sugar to the apples and mix together. Set aside while you prepare the cake mix.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set mixture aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, orange juice, vanilla extract, and eggs. Add your wet ingredients to the dry and mix until completely combined (there should be no lumps).
- Pour half of the cake batter into your tube pan. Then, pour half of the apple mixture into the tube pan. Pour the remaining cake batter over the apples, and top the cake with the rest of the apples. Sprinkle walnuts on the top.
- Bake the cake for approximately 1 ½ hours, rotating halfway through. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick which should come out clean.
- Cool cake completely in the tube pan. Afterwards unmold onto a cake stand for eating.
Notes and Tips
Did You Make Our Apple Cake?!
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating above and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and what didn’t — with a recipe! Be sure to check out some of our other recipes below!