Commandeered Apple Cake


Emily has made Apple cake dozens of times, both with her mother and on her own since she was too young to use a knife to cut the apples. Though her mother originally got the recipe from of a friend of hers, it has been totally co-opted and claimed as her own. Through her experience in making this recipe, Emily can answer all of the questions you’ve pondered in previous apple cake attempts.

This apple cake helped Emily connect with her mother. Every time either of them makes the cake, they call each other to discuss the outcome. Here are some of the things they have figured out along the way.

What type of apple works best? Honey crisp for a sweet cake, granny smith for more tartness, a mix to spice things up.

How does the cake turn out if you peel the apples? Don’t bother; it’s much better with the skins for texture and it also keeps the apples from getting mushy.

What happens when you accidentally put an extra cup of sugar in the mix? It becomes very tasty with a super crunchy top, but will induce a sugar crash.

Finally, what is the best way to reheat it? Her mother is a microwave fan and Emily swears by the toaster oven.

Commandeered Apple Cake Recipe

  • 3 cups Flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 cups unpeeled, chopped apples (any variety)
  • 1 cup walnuts (optional)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350˚.  Sift dry ingredients, then mix in apples and nuts. Mix in other ingredients until all flour is incorporated.

Pour into a greased bunt or tube pan. Do NOT smooth out the top—the bumps and ridges get crispy.

Bake for approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

An important equipment note for this recipe is the need for a bunt pan. The batter is so dense that it will not cook all the way through any other way. One alternative for those without a bunt pan is to make “apple cake muffins” which cook up much more quickly (about 20 minutes, or until golden brown on top).

This apple cake started as a Rosh Hashanah treat, using apples to celebrate the Jewish New Year, but can be used for any occasion. It works particularly well as a birthday cake for lactose intolerant bosses. Also, because it’s parve (not meat or dairy), it can be brought to almost any Jewish dinner party. Most importantly, it’s easy (it’s the only recipe Emily has memorized) and is a big crowd pleaser. To serve, You won’t need any accoutrements to go with it, no sauces or whipped cream, that would just ruin the purity of awesomeness that is this apple cake.

Photo by Silar (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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  • Reply Ashley Marie August 24, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Sounds yummy! And it seems like it would be easy to make it gluten-free, which is always a plus.

  • Reply Ann Sullivan August 26, 2012 at 11:16 am

    This recipe seems easy enough to make. I like that we’re given some history behind the apple cake, along with different events it can be useful to have at. It always good to know what foods are appropriate for certain events/holidays.

    Also, the note about the bunt pan is very helpful. It’s smart to include those notices instead of assuming everyone will have the proper cooking utilities.

    I’d love to make this sometime!

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