There's something about baking this homemade fresh Apple Cake that warms the soul! It's the perfect Fall dessert when apples are in season and it's super easy to make! Plus that, your house will smell amazing!
This vintage apple cake recipe is from my Grandmother Lucille. Fresh apples are the key ingredient and you only need to peel and core three big apples!
Use Honeycrisp, Fuji or Gala apples for best results.
I found this vintage recipe in a Piggly Wiggly bag of recipes I inherited from my Grandmother. The first time I made it I thought, "oh dear...this batter is thick!"
But, as I continued the instructions, it turned out perfectly...I've added an Apple Butter glaze because...who doesn't like glaze?
Why you'll love this recipe!
- Simple ingredients - nothing fancy or complicated! Apples, flour, sugar, eggs and a few others...and there's no butter in this apple cake recipe!
- Easy - the hardest part is coring the apples, seriously! After that, it's lickity-split simple!
- Flavorful - apple cake (with or without pecans or walnuts...your call) has a really nice texture and it's not too sweet; just the flavor of baked apples
What I especially like about this particular fresh apple cake recipe is that there's no cinnamon...I'm not a big fan of it and every other apple recipe has cinnamon...this is a pleasant surprise!
You can add cinnamon if you like, or use a little Apple Pie spice - it contains cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice - three warm spices that pair beautifully with apples.
Here's what you'll need
First, get an apple corer. Trust me. The rest is a breeze.
The glaze ingredients are: butter, brown sugar and Apple Pie spice.
How to make it
- This apple cake with fresh apples is easy to make, but this first step is critical.
- This step is essential: Do Not Skip It
- Core and peel the apples. Chop them into fine pieces.
- Place in a bowl and sprinkle 2 cups of sugar over the diced apples; combine well; cover and refrigerate for 1-hour.
- This marinating step is critical to the recipe as the sugar and apples form a liquid that thins the batter.
The batter is initially thick but, once you add the sugar coated apples and the liquid that forms from them, the batter thins out..... do not freak out when you first make it!
This old-fashioned fresh apple cake takes about 50-minutes to bake, depending upon your oven.
My oven is old and I had to cook mine for an additional 10 minutes...check the center with a knife or bamboo skewer to determine when it's done. The knife/skewer should come out clean.
Allow the cake to cool before turning it out on a platter; you can loosen the warm cake with a spatula first.
Make the glaze
Melt one stick of butter in a small saucepan; add brown sugar, vanilla extract, Apple Pie spice and a pinch of salt; Heat until sugar is dissolved and the glaze begins to bubble a little; remove from heat and let it sit a few minutes; drizzle over cake
The glaze recipe makes about 1 cup, which is plenty to drizzle over the cake, however, if you want additional apple butter glaze for individual cake slices, you might want to double the glaze recipe.
- Get an apple corer
- Use fresh Honeycrisp, Fuji or Gala apples- not Red Delicious...they get too grainy
- Do not skip the apple/sugar marinating step...
- Chop apples and pecans into very small pieces-the smaller the better, especially when you slice it
- Bake in a tube or Bundt pan; lightly oil and flour pan
- Allow to cool before turning cake out of pan
- Cut cake slices with a serrated knife; the cake tends to crumble when cut with a normal knife due to the texture of the apples and pecans
- You might wanna double the glaze recipe...this recipe makes enough to drizzle over the top, but it's so good, you might wanna make more for each slice!
- My cake "puffed-up" on top after I baked it...so the bottom wasn't level on the cake plate; if this bothers you, level it out with a knife before you plate it
Fresh apple cake is probably one of the "healthiest desserts" you'll find. Fresh apples with all natural ingredients and no preservatives...perfect for any occasion!
- Apple Crisp
- Classic Southern Pecan Pie
- Foolproof Peach Cobbler
- Orange Olive Oil Cake
- Orange Italian Cream Cake
If you make this recipe, please leave a rating and comment below! I love to hear from you!
- Apple corer
- 4 cups apple , cored, peeled and finely chopped, (about 3 large apples)
- 2 cups sugar . to sprinkle over apples
- 4 whole eggs .lightly beaten
- 1 cup oil .vegetable or canola; plus a teaspoon for prepping pan
- 2½ cups flour .all-purpose; plus a teaspoon for prepping pan
- 1 teaspoon salt table
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped pecans (optional)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional) See recipe notes
- 1 stick butter , salted or unsalted
- ⅓ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Apple Pie spice
- pinch of salt to taste (optional)
- In a medium bowl, combine peeled, cored and finely chopped apples and sugar; cover and let sit in refrigerator for one hour4 cups apple, 2 cups sugar
- Preheat oven to 350
- Lightly oil and flour pan; set aside
- In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt)2½ cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add lightly beaten eggs, oil and vanilla extract to dry ingredients; combine well4 whole eggs, 1 cup oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Add apples and their sugar liquid and pecans (optional) to batter; stir until well combined4 cups apple
- Pour batter into prepared pan
- Bake for 50 minutes; check for doneness with a knife or skewer; allow to rest for at least 15 minutes before removing cake from pan
- Melt butter in saucepan on medium heat; add brown sugar, Apple Pie spice, vanilla extract and salt; cook until sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to bubble a little; remove from heat and let set and thicken for a few minutes; drizzle over cake1 stick butter, ⅓ cup brown sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon Apple Pie spice, pinch of salt
- Make sure you finely dice (almost mince) the apples-you do not want big apple chunks in the cake
- Do not panic if the batter is thick at first! Once you add the apples and their sugar liquid, it thins.
- The original recipe called for a cup of pecans; you can use either finely chopped pecans or walnuts-or eliminate nuts altogether
- If you use any kind of nuts in your cake, be sure to mince them finely...the cake doesn't slice very well with big chunks of nuts
- Prior to removing cake from pan, run the straight edge of a knife around the perimeter of the cake to loosen
- For best results, use a serrated knife to slice cake
- If you want a hint of cinnamon, add ½ a teaspoon to the dry ingredients
- You might wanna double the glaze recipe; this makes enough to drizzle over the cake, but there's not much left to drizzle over individual slices
Anita Wilson says
Best cake ever! My mom made this cake and I had lost her recipe, so when I found SmartyPants Kitchen, I was elated!!!!
Wonderful cake to eat right in your hand, on the way out the door, like my sons like to do. I do not use the glaze, because it is so delicious as is, so it is possible to grab and go! :). I also mix a little cinnamon with my sugar to marinate my apples, simply as a family favorite combination.
Thank you for the great recipe!!!
I'm so glad your family liked the fresh apple cake! Thank you for sharing!
This was the best apple cake I’ve ever made or had. The only change I did was put melted butter & brown sugar in the pan and added thinly sliced apples on top. Then I added a few golden raisins to the batter and spooned the batter on top. It was amazing. I am going to make the next one with chopped pecans added to the batter.
Well that sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing your spin on this vintage recipe!
Excellent!!! You could consider baking this in large muffin pans! Good for a good breakfast!
Yes! What a brilliant idea! Thank you!