This Rustic Apple Cake looks and tastes like autumn sunshine. The sliced apples are flavored with lemon and cinnamon, and then arranged in rows on top of a nutmeg-scented batter. Need a lovely cake to serve for afternoon tea? Here’s the recipe:
Rustic Apple Cake: The Video
Watch my video demonstration of this recipe! As a bonus for watching, I’ll bring you on a walk in the aforementioned autumn sunshine. (To see all of my videos, subscribe to my YouTube channel.)
To start, obtain three baking-type apples (such as ‘Golden Delicious’ ‘Gala,’ or ‘Crispin’)…
And peel and core them. I hope you have an apple corer — mine, pictured above, came from this online source.
Cut the apples in half, then cut each half crosswise into slices that are between 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick.
Put the slices in a large-ish bowl, and toss them with the juice of half a lemon. The lemon will not only add terrific flavor, but it will stop the apples from turning brown.
Toss the apples with cinnamon-sugar (1/2 cup sugar blended with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon).
At this point, the slices will be sinfully delicious. Try not to eat all of them.
Next, grease an 8×8-inch cake pan, and — if you wish to unmold the cake later — line it with parchment paper. Grease in the pan will hold the paper in place.
Please ignore the above photograph.
To make the cake batter, grab a medium-size bowl, and whisk together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and a whisper of nutmeg.
A note for my European and Canadian readers: Because I love you, and also because I want you to make this exquisite cake, I’ve included metric measurements in the printable version of this recipe. We’ll get there in just a minute.
In the bowl of a standing mixer (or just a large bowl, if you are using hand-held electric beaters), add 1 whole, honking stick of softened, unsalted butter.
What’s the easiest way to soften a stick of butter? Leave it out of the refrigerator overnight. Well, that’s what I do.
At medium speed, beat the butter for exactly 1 minute. Then add 1 cup sugar, and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy — about 3 minutes.
With the mixture still running at medium speed, gradually beat in 2 large, beaten eggs…
1/3 cup flavorless vegetable oil…
And 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract.
At “low” speed, gradually add the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour disappears into the batter.
Why is it important not to overmix batters that contain baking soda or baking powder? You’ll find the answer in this fun Baking 101 post.
Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out with a blue spatula.
Then arrange three rows of apple slices on top, in a slightly-overlapping fashion. I arranged mine so that the end rows faced one way, and the middle row faced another way. But you can arrange your own slices in any manner that floats your boat.
Put the pan on a baking sheet, and pop the works into a preheated 375°F oven. Bake until the apples soften, and a toothpick inserted in various places in the batter comes out clean — 45 to 55 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before unmolding.
Unmold onto a board or a platter. I couldn’t make up my mind as to whether I should photograph the dessert on a board, a blue cake stand, or a white stand. So I experimented with all three presentations.
Here’s the cake on a blue stand…
Probably I have too many cake stands.
In any event, cut the cake into 9 equal servings. The corner pieces will have the crunchiest crust. Mmmm.
I think you’ll love this rustic poetry. It’s scrumptious!
Here’s the printable, complete with both US and metric measurements:
Rustic Apple Cake
For the apples:
- 3 yellow apples (i.e., 'Crispin' or 'Golden Delicious')
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 cup (100g) sugar blended with 1 teaspoon (4g) ground cinnamon
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups (204g) flour
- 2 teaspoons (8g) baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- Pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup (201g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/3 cup (113g) flavorless vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Center the oven rack, preheat oven to 375°, and line a lightly-greased 8x8 cake pan with parchment paper (as illustrated below). Peel, core, and slice the apples 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Put the apple slices in a large bowl, and toss first with the lemon juice, and then with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl if using electric beaters), beat the softened butter at medium speed for 1 minute. Then add the sugar, and beat at medium speed until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the machine running, gradually add the eggs, followed by the oil and vanilla. At low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating only until incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and then smooth the top with a spatula. Arrange the apples on top, in 3 slightly overlapping rows (as illustrated below).
- Bake until a skewer inserted into the batter part of the cake comes out clean -- about 55 minutes. Unmold the cake onto a board or platter, and cut into 9 equal squares. Serve warm or cold, with or without vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy this recipe? Then by all means post a comment in the “comments” section below. You might like to receive my email updates, too.
John A Root says
Oh, I needed this recipe yesterday. This looks SO much better than what I attempted to make for company. I will save it for next time. Thank you so much. Enjoy your autumn.
Kevin, I’m baking ng for a fundraiser on 18 November. I have to do most of it ahead of time and freeze.
1. Would this cake work for this or would the apples turn to mush?
2.If I can freeze, what’s the best way to defrost.
3. Any suggestions for other cakes? Bundt cakes work well, layer cakes not so much.
Thank you. Carolyn
Dan Soliz says
Your timing is always perfect. I have all the ingredients but my apples aren’t green, but I don’t care. lol. The lemon will impart the tartness I need. Anyway, your apple rustic cake has to be made after I bake a berry galette (your luscious recipe, of course). I’ve been on a galette frenzy, especially after finding two giant bags of frozen berries and tropical fruit in my freeze that I bought for smoothies that never materialized. Then I came across your galette recipe on my desk and voila the frozen fruit now has a wonderful purpose, perhaps not as healthy as a smoothie. Do I care, no. lol I will wait a few days once the berry galette vanishes, if it takes that long, then your rustic apple cake will take center stage. I can’t wait!! Love, love, love ALL that you do and share with us. I’d love to live your life, even for a day. Dan in Houston
Carolyn D Contois says
You cant have too many cake pans! I liked the rustic, fall country look of the board…
we love you Kevin!
Came across and was so pleased to find you. Loved the video and the lovely fall walk that came with it. Can’t wait to make your Rustic Apple Cake❤️
Willa Nemetz says
Kevin, you can never have too many cake stands!
I’m earmarking this for Friendsgiving!
So lovely. Can’t wait to make this!
Bonjour Kevin, I have just made your cake and it smells divine! My grandson is coming over for dinner and I am sure he will love it ! I will serve it with plain Greek yogurt on the the side and I cant wait to try it ! Once again, thank you for a great recipe.
Kind regards from New Zealand !
I layered the apples on the bottom of the pan, thinking that when it’s been baked it would then be turned upside down. Then I re-read the directions and face-palmed. It’s in the oven now, willl be interesting to see how it turns out.
I enjoy your blog. I need to change my email address and don’t see anything on the website to do that. Please help.