Baking the Harvest: Easy Apple Cake

Apple Cake on a plate dusted with powdered sugar

Sometimes I make a dish and I know from the second it comes out of the oven it’s going to be a keeper. This is one of those recipes. It’s the kind of recipe you become known for and that everyone asks you to bring to every party. We all need more recipes like this one.

I wasn’t even planning to make a cake…

I work really hard not to be an impulse buyer at the grocery store. I make plans and lists, eat before I go to the store, and avoid the sample givers like the plague – I’m onto their shtick. Occasionally though I give in to temptation and am the better for it. Recently, a nice lady in the produce department of my local grocery store was handing out samples of newly arrived honey crisp apples (the best apples ever, for what it’s worth) and she had along with her an apple cake recipe she’d clipped from papers that morning to help overcome the “but I don’t know what I’ll make” objection. All of a sudden I found myself compelled to make a dessert of for a party I was attending that evening for which I’d already made a salad and purchased bread. I decided it was fate. The tasty apples and a cake recipe in-hand were the universe’s way of telling me I should make an apple cake.

But I’m really glad I did…

The apple cake recipe clipped from the paper was created by Susan Smith –Caballero of the Texas Apple Valley Orchard and it won an award at the Mason County apple baking contest. Of course I couldn’t leave even an award winning recipe alone, so I modified it to use both brown and granulated sugar and to incorporate some whole wheat flour. I also added in a bit of nutmeg it’s such a great partner for apples. The result is an amazingly moist cake that is crazy easy to make. The hardest part of the preparation is peeling and chopping the apples. A simple glaze makes finishing the cake a thirty second activity. And as an added bonus, this cake will fill your kitchen with the perfect fall smell as it cooks. It’s perfect to take to a potluck or to serve as dessert for fall dinner party. It would also be a great addition to a brunch menu or holiday breakfast buffet.

Recipe: Easy Apple Cake


  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Serves: 18-36
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes


  • Cooking spray
  • 2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 c. brown sugar, divided
  • 1 c. granulate sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ c. canola oil
  • 1 c. applesauce
  • ½ c. apple juice, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 4 c. peeled and chopped apples (firm varieties like honey crisp, braeburn, and granny smith)
  • 1 c. walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • ½ c. butter
  • ¼ c. evaporated milk


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 8 x 13 ½ inch glass pan with cooking spray.
  3. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk until well mixed.
  4. Combine 1 c. brown sugar, the granulated sugar, eggs, oil, apple sauce, and apple juice in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until well combined. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the mixer in 4 batches, mixing after each addition until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
  6. Gently fold the apples and walnuts into the batter with a spatula.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
  8. About 10 minutes before the cake is done, melt the butter in a small sauce pan.
  9. Add the evaporated milk along with the remaining ¼ c. apple juice and 1 c. brown sugar to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil gently for two minutes.
  10. When the cake is done, pour the hot mixture on to the warm cake and set the pan on a rack to cool completely.
  11. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream, or with a bit of powdered sugar.

Recipe for Success

  • I can’t get apple cider in quantities less than a gallon, so I used apple juice in this recipe but cider would work just as well.
  • The cake keeps beautifully covered in the refrigerator for several days. A few seconds in the microwave will bring a piece it to room temperature – keep some on hand for easy breakfasts during the holidays.

I’m sharing this recipe on Miz Helen’s Country Cottage Full Plate Thursday.


  1. ummm Yumm! I just wrote a post for next week on honey crisp -they really are the “best apples” I will have to try this recipe for it looks far more easier than the one I’ve been using with the same delicious outcome. Beautiful Pic!

    • Natanya /

      Thank you. Your creations are always so amazing so I’m very flattered.

  2. This cake was AMAZING! Totally bookmarking this post for future reference.

  3. Mmm, this looks delicious. It reminds me of my Nana’s Apple cake. Looks simply delicious. More to the point I am always interested in Texas Apples & very interested to learn that Mason county has an Apple Baking contest. How very cool! Great post.

    • Natanya /

      Thanks! I’m very interested in the Mason county contest. I’m going to keep my eyes open for it next year.

  4. I am so happy that you brought your wonderful Apple Cake to Full Plate Thursday. I want to have a slice right now. Thank you so much for coming today and please come back!

  5. This looks wonderful. I love a good apple cake, and this one with sauce and chopped apples is on my list. thanks.