Apple Cake

Reading this thing lately, you'd think I'm a sweets person. Moreover, if you're doing a close read, you'd think I'm a pastry person.

But you know me, and you know I'm neither. I'm a savory person, 100%. But there's something in the fall air that makes me want to bake stuff. And, admittedly, there were also leftover peeled, cored, and sliced apples in my fridge left from Pie Lab 2014: the Buttery Reckoning that were crying out to be used. And I'm lazy. And I do like cake.

So what do I do? Slap together an apple cake.

This is one of the few recipes I've picked up that I have felt no reason to adjust or amend. The cake is ridiculously easy to make, and really is lovely for breakfast, a snack, or a real grown-up dessert. (Or... dinner. I mean... what? Who said that?) In fact, I reckon this cake will make it onto at least one of our menus for this year's Christmas Explosion Spectacular, in which we host 2 different families on 2 different nights, to celebrate one enormous, warm, fuzzy holiday. (The menu that this cake isn't on will be the menu that gets THIS DATE CAKE OMG. More on that later.)

A couple of notes:

  • I imagine you could health this up a bit and use whole wheat flour, or a combination of whole and white flours.
  • I have only ever done this cake using sliced apples (yes, because I prep too many for pie), and I actually like their size in the cake. They end up getting a little more broken up in the mixer, so there's little slices of apple throughout. That said, it's easy to chunk an apple, so don't let me stop you.
  • Certainly, an apple like Honeycrisp would be lovely in this cake, but I have used almost all varieties of apple, and it turns out fantastic each time. 
  • I am calling the raisins and walnuts optional for this cake. The apples can easily take center stage, and for whatever reason, raisins and walnuts seem to make this cake a bit more casual in my mind. Nothing wrong with that, but somehow it could be more elegant without them, particularly if you're making this for An Occasion. (It's also a matter of taste. Ask my mom, who puts raisins and walnuts in any baked item she can get her hands on, and you'll get one answer. Ask my sister - she of Pie Lab - and she will want it plain and pure.)

Teddie's Apple Cake recipe from Food 52, with some minor adaptations


  • Butter for greasing pan
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples (Honeycrisp is excellent, so are Granny Smith, Braeburn, Cortlands... but even a nice Pink Lady or Fuji is fine)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts - optional 
  • 1  cup raisins - optional


(3 insanely easy steps.)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube or Bundt pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer with a paddle attachment.  After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.
  2. Combine 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir in to the batter.  (I just put the mixer at the lowest speed.  Lazy.)  Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts and raisins (if desired) and stir until combined.  Don't think too hard about the integrity of your apple slices.  This cake is not that kind of cake.  If the apples get beaten up a little by the mixer, it's totally cool.
  3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before lifting out.

If this is a dessert, I'm recommending serving it with some cinnamon ice cream.  (Vanilla is fine, but 'tis the season for cinnamon!)

If this is... anything but dessert, top this with unsalted butter and a drizzle of honey.  Or swap the honey for a few crystals of flaky salt, as in the photo. Or just enjoy it plain. I'm partial to a nice, cold piece of leftover apple cake.

What's your go-to, dress-it-up-or-dress-it-down dessert? What favorites do you haul out every holiday?

Follow Book + Salt on Instagram