This old-fashioned fresh apple cake recipe is topped with an irresistible maple glaze, spiced with warm autumn flavours like cinnamon and vanilla, and studded throughout with (optional) walnuts. A perfect warming autumn cake that would also look amazing on your Thanksgiving or Christmas Holiday dinner tables.
This old-fashioned fresh apple cake recipe is perfect for chillier fall and winter days as it takes advantage of autumn flavours like apple and cinnamon.
This is an easy cake to make and enjoy throughout the week with coffee or hot cocoa, but it would also make an impressive Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert too.
Serve it with my homemade maple pecan ice cream.
This is inspired by my mother's fresh apple kolač cake that I grew up eating and then tweaked to my own tastes.
I prefer to use a classic bundt cake pan for the visual appeal but you can definitely use a simple round, square or rectangular cake pan as my mother would.
This old-fashioned fresh apple cake also pairs perfectly with my recipe for hot spiced milk but it also goes great with coffee, tea, or a hot mulled apple cider.
And if you love this cake, I promise you will love my Pumpkin spice Bundt Cake too.
- Fresh Apples
- Einkorn or All-Purpose Flour
- Unsalted Butter
- Brown sugar
- Pure vanilla extract
- Baking Powder
- Baking Soda
- Maple syrup
- Powdered sugar
Note on Flours: You can easily substitute einkorn flour with unbleached all-purpose flour.
Einkorn is the first wheat that humans domesticated and grew and it is incredible as it has never been altered in any way in 10,000+ years.
The unique flavour of Einkorn (which nearly went extinct!) really shines in my historic recipe for Traditional Irish Soda Bread.
Of course, you are free to use whichever all-purpose flour you have on hand.
Do not use cake and pastry flour as it is too light for this recipe.
See the recipe card for quantities and instructions.
Clean your kitchen workspace and declutter it from unnecessary things. Gather all of the ingredients that you will be using alongside the equipment needed for this recipe.
There is not much in the way of equipment for a humble recipe like this, and the truth is that you can always improvise.
Don't have a hand mixer or stand mixer? Use a whisk. A fork. Even your hands. I use my hands in this recipe, as you will see, as sometimes they are the best tools for the job.
But it is best practice to start each recipe off with everything gathered together and within arms reach.
This is the time you preheat your oven too.
This old-fashioned fresh apple cake will come together very quickly.
Wash and peel your apples. There is no need to core them. Grate until you have three packed cups of apples.
Sift three cups of four and then whisk in the salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour mixture with the grated apples and mix thoroughly and completely using your hands.
You can use a spatula or similar too, but I find using your hands works best to get every bit of apple thoroughly coated.
This mixture will be very dry and shaggy as it should be.
In a medium bowl using a hand mixer (or in your stand mixer) cream the eggs with the butter.
Gradually add in the brown sugar and vanilla and keep mixing.
Add in any other spices (like if you're making the pumpkin spice version).
Add this liquid to the apple/flour mixture along with the walnuts.
Using a rubber spatula (or your hands) mix thoroughly but do not over mix. What you're trying to do is avoid any big dry floury lumps in the cake batter.
The apples will release liquid as they cook so do not be alarmed if your batter feels too dry or lumpy. It will work out in the end.
Pour batter into bundt pan and make sure the pan is deep enough so that it is only ¾ or a bit more full. You don't want batter right to the edge, ever.
Hint: grease your bundt or cake pan very liberally but not until right before you are ready to pour in the cake batter. This keeps the butter from sliding down the sides.
- Gluten-Free - you can easily swap the wheat flour out for your favourite gluten-free flour instead.
- Grain-Free - I have never tested a grain-free flour or something like almond/coconut or arrowroot flour. If you do, please consider letting me know what you did and how it turned out in the comments so that I can add your notes to the recipe for other people to try.
- Swap Out Butter For Leaf Lard - leaf lard tastes neutral but provides a richness and moisture to cakes and cookies that is incredible. Consider swapping out the butter with leaf lard and then greasing your bundt pan liberally with it too.
I love this old-fashioned fresh apple cake recipe just as written but you may want to tweak it to suit your own tastes and needs or dietary restrictions. Here are some ideas on what to do.
- Dulce de Leche - instead of the maple walnut glaze, make caramely dulce de leche as a topping!
- Pumpkin Spiced - alongside the cinamon and vanilla extract, add powdered ginger, nutmeg, allspice for pumpkin spice version of this old fashioned fresh apple cake recipe. you can also try making my favourite pumpkin cake recipe – Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake.
- Nut-free - this cake is just as delicious without the walnuts if you dislike them or are baking for someone with allergies.
- Try other nuts - swap out the walnuts with pecans or hazelnuts.
Get your equipment out and ready alongside your ingredients. This is a great habit to get into.
I think this humble old-fashioned fresh apple cake looks best baked in an equally old-fashioned bundt pan.
Stick to the classic bundt (from Nordicware, the original and best makers of bundt pans that are still made in the USA). Do not be tempted to try baking in a fancier version of one.
I already tried that for you and the rustic nature of this cake with the shredded apples and chopped walnuts simply does not work in anything but a classic fluted bundt pan as you see in the pictures.
You can also use a standard 6x9" cake pan. You may have to bake the cake longer to cook the middle all the way through. This is no problem as a simple toothpick inserted in the center will let you know if it needs more time or not inside the oven.
I also use simple hand-mixers although you could certainly use your KitchenAid stand-mixer too.
- Classic Nordicware 9 or 12-Cup Bundt Pan
- Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer
- Box Grater
- 1 Large Bowl
- 1 Medium Bowl
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Silicone Rubber Spatula
- Strainer (for sifting flour)
Storage & Freezing
This cake can be stored on your countertop safely for 2-3 days as long as it's wrapped or stored on a cake stand underneath a dome.
The cake can also be baked ahead and frozen for up to 3 months without any noticeable change in taste, texture, or quality. As long as it is securely and thoroughly wrapped. This would be a great way to get ahead of your Thanksgiving or Christmas baking as the glaze topping comes together in minutes.
Thoroughly mixing the ingredients without overmixing them is the key to the texture of this fresh apple cake turning out moist and with a perfect crumb instead of dry uneven lumps inside.
Follow the instructions in the recipe exactly as stated and you can do it properly on your first try. Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature for the best results.
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- 3 cups packed fresh grated apple
- 3 cups sifted einkorn or all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups roughly chopped walnuts
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- ¾ cup butter (or leaf lard) softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- Wash and peel your apples. Grate until you have three packed cups of apples.
- Sift three cups of four and then whisk in the salt, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour mixture with the grated apples and mix thoroughly and completely using your hands.
- You can use a spatula or similar too, but I find using your hands works best to get every bit of apple thoroughly coated. This mixture will be very dry and shaggy as it should be.
- In a medium bowl using a hand mixer (or in your stand mixer) cream the eggs with the butter. Gradually add in the brown sugar and vanilla and keep mixing. Add in any other spices (like if you're making the pumpkin spice version).
- Add this liquid to the apple/flour mixture along with the walnuts.
- Using a rubber spatula (or your hands) mix thoroughly but do not over mix. What you're trying to do is avoid any big dry floury lumps in the cake batter.
- Grease a 9-cup Bundt pan with butter or leaf lard, sprinkle with flour and pour batter into bundt pan and make sure the pan is deep enough so that it is only ¾ or a bit more full. You don't want batter right to the edge, ever. Place in an oven preheated to 350° F for 40 minutes.
- When done place to cool for 20-30 minutes before carefully flipping the cake out of the bundt pan and onto a plate. Allow to cool completely.
- Make the glaze by whisking butter and maple syrup over medium heat before adding powdered sugar and whisking until desired consistency is achieved. Pour over cooled cake. Add some chopped walnuts.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 682Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 305mgCarbohydrates: 114gFiber: 4gSugar: 72gProtein: 11g