Last updated on October 20th, 2022
(Updated 2019) I made this Rustic Apple Cake the other day, and then promptly inhaled almost all of it. What a perfect autumn cake! Rich. Buttery. Deliriously-scented with cinnamon, lemon, and nutmeg. It’s pretty to look at, too.
There are lots of apple cakes out there (some are called “German Apple Cakes”). But from reviews I’ve read, the cakes tend to collapse, or “sink” when they emerge from the oven. Consequently I used my trusty Spiced Plum Cake batter. It held up like a champ.
Here’s the photographic step-by-step with commentary from yours truly (afterwards, you’ll find a printable version):
And peel and core them. I hope you have an apple corer — mine, pictured above, came from this online source.
At this point, the slices will be sinfully delicious. Try not to eat all of them.
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.
What’s the easiest way to soften a stick of butter? Leave it out of the refrigerator overnight. Well, that’s what I do.
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.
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.
Probably I have too many cake stands.
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.
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