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« Grandma's Applesauce | Main | Chocolate Fudge Cake with Ghost Meringues »

Apple Cinnamon Cake

Apple Cinnamon Cake

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, so says the old proverb. I've been on an apple kick lately, eating my way to dozens of apple cores in the last month. I ate apples with sandwiches instead of chips. I ate apples whenever I had the inkling for a snack. I ate apples before I sat down to meals, and then after. I'm an apple nut.

Though I haven't been sleeping as much as I should, I've stayed healthy and well. So does an apple a day really keep the doctor away? To settle the age old question, I'd have to say yes. Who knew it was actually true?

Apple Cinnamon Cake Apple Cinnamon Cake

The first awkward bite into a ripe apple makes my heart sing. The wide open mouth, the loud crunch, the sweet juice rushing to light up the taste buds—it's a marvelous experience. I love trying different varieties of apples simply to discover their own unique qualities. When I'm looking for a sweet apple, I choose a Golden Delicious. I'd argue Gala apples are the most balanced—slightly sweet, slightly sour, neither virtue overcoming the other. However, one apple has captured my attention in a way no other apple has before. Every year, I anxiously await the moment when the produce department of my local supermarket gives them a seasonal home.

I am talking about the glorious, almighty Honeycrisp apple.

I don't even care that they tend to be the most expensive apples in the store. I've gladly handed over my pocketbook for a dozen of these and I'll do it again. They are worth every penny.

Apple Cinnamon Cake
Apple Cinnamon Cake Apple Cinnamon Cake

My mother warned me to stave off my apple cravings until my grandmother's apple tree ripened, but I couldn't help myself. Every year, after the apples have been picked, my grandma sends out boxes of apples to the entire family. We picked up ours a week ago and I've been planning ways to use them ever since (my grandmother's tried and true applesauce recipe will be coming your way soon. Keep your eyes peeled!).

However, this Apple Cinnamon Cake was on this year's list long before the the apples on my grandmother's tree turned red. I've made this cake every fall for the last three years and it's quickly become an autumn tradition in my home. I hope you give this cake a chance to become a tradition of your own.

Apple Cinnamon Cake

This Apple Cinnamon Cake is layered with beautiful depth of flavor. A nutty, sweet whole wheat cake is interrupted with layers of cinnamon-coated apples. The apples give the cake an unbelievable moistness and density you have to taste to believe. A light dusting of powdered sugar really sets this cake off right. This is a good cake to enjoy with a cup of coffee and a fall afternoon.

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Alfredo

Apple Cinnamon Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

6 medium apples, peeled and diced (about 8 cups worth)
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider (or apple juice)
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup walnuts or almonds, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Grease a tube or bundt pan.

Place apples in a large bowl, sprinkle with cinnamon and 1/4 cup sugar, and stir to coat evenly. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the vegetable oil, 1 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, apple cider, vanilla, and eggs until combined. Stir in the walnuts or almonds.

Place half the cake batter in the prepared pan, layer on half of the cinnamon apples, the rest of the cake batter, and the rest of the apples. Bake for about 90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge and cool in the pan before turning the cake out. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

Reader Comments (29)

Your cake is absolutely gorgeous and those photos are amazing. I love the mood that the lighting gives, it definitely makes me think of an autumn day.

I love apples too, but I'm really picky when it comes to apples. I grew up in Tasmania, referred to as the Apple Isle here in Australia, and in my opinion they have the best apples in Australia. Sadly though, I can't get my hands on them here in Brisbane where I live now, but every time I go home I eat apples like they are going out of fashion. There is certainly nothing better than a sweet, crisp and juicy apple.
Apple and cinnamon work so well together, it's a winning combination. Worth every penny you say ?? mmmh ... wonder if I can get these in France !?
10.21.2011 | Unregistered Commenterargone
I love the rustic look of this cake, especially the top crust. Your pictures are so enticing!! I could go for a slice with a cup of tea right now.
10.21.2011 | Unregistered Commenterla domestique
Definitely making this today .... looks delicious
10.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah
Ok, I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have to make this at some point within the next week. Apple and cinnamon baked goods are some of my favorites--they are always so moist and flavorful.

Do any apples work?? I know that some apples end up drier than others when you bake them sometimes.
Your cake has a generous apple taste. I love that! I agree too that apples and cinnamon is a match made in heaven. Thanks for the post! Will be looking forward to the apple sauce post...
10.21.2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna
This is beautiful!
Lovely recipe! I like cakes with a lot of apples!
10.23.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMedeja
I'm making this cake right now and while it smells wonderful, I'm having a hard time getting it to finish baking. It's been for almost two hours now and it's still raw in the middle. Any thoughts? I hope it turns out, my family is anxiously waiting for it to be done! :)
10.23.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjasmu543
Jennifer-- You are right about those apples. I love fall light, too. I think the shadows are just beautiful.

Argone-- I hope so!

la domestique-- Thank you! A cup of tea with this cake would be just perfect. :)

Laura-- Most apples should be fine, this cake is sweet enough to compensate for most tart apples. I would only hesitate to use crab apples simply because they tend to be very sour/tart.

Anna-- Apples and cinnamon will always be one of my favorites.

Jasmu-- As long as the top isn't burning, the cake just needs to keep baking. Depending on the size of the pan, the cake may take longer to bake. Just be patient and it'll be done soon, I promise. :)
10.23.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
My cake probably would have cooked a lot faster if my five year old hadn't turned off the oven on me....!!! It turned out great regardless!
10.23.2011 | Unregistered Commenterjasmu543
If it wasn't almost 1am I'd be out the door to get some apples, definitely saving this recipe! :)
10.24.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonja
It's in the oven! This looked so delicious, thanks for sharing.
10.26.2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
Jasmu-- Haha! Sneaky little kids. :)

Sonja-- You won't be disappointed!
10.27.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I saw this and though, hey that looks similar to the apple cake recipe i found last year on some site. Scroll down. "Adapted from Smitten Kitchen" Yup. That's the one. Heh. It's a reallly good apple cake recipe so I'm looking forward to trying out your version of this. Havent made it yet this year but I'm thinking I might have to. Sudden craving and all.

Cortlands have always been one of my favorite apple and quite recently the honey crisp as well. Splendid apple. I love going to the apple orchard and trying the different apples as you pick.
10.31.2011 | Unregistered Commenterfrogcooke
I bought a huge bunch of apples from the farmer's market this weekend and finally have the cake in the oven. I'm so excited to try it!!! :)
11.9.2011 | Unregistered CommenterSonja
do you put cinnamon in the batter too, or just on the apples?
11.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterTai
Tai-- I just put cinnamon on the apples and since the apples are everywhere in the the cake, it was plenty cinnamon enough.
11.15.2011 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Hello! I love this recipe, looks beutiful, I wanna try it right now, but, I rather individual portions, could I use this recipe to bake cupcakes instead a cake, if so, how many time should I bake them in the oven.

You suggest apple juice instead cider can I also try with apple flavored mineral water or apple soda?

03.11.2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlmondy
Tried this over the weekend. Looked & tasted AMAZING!!! It tastes even better the next day after sponge soaks up some juices from the apples. Yum! I'll definitely be making this again & again.
07.19.2012 | Unregistered CommenterJessica
Absolutely delicious cake...roommate said it was the best thing she ever tasted. Definitely a keeper!
10.17.2012 | Unregistered Commenterrcm257
I found this cake online last year and have made it about 10 times since then! Everyone in the family demands that I bring it to holiday events, and lucky for me because I love making it! I have eaten it for breakfast with my coffee and for dessert after dinner. Thanks for this oh so tasty recipe! It is one of the tastiest things I make and perfect heated up for a chill autumn day!
11.18.2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara R
This recipe looks dellish! I'm in a pinch and don't have whole wheat flour. Have you tried it with AP flour or have another substitution to suggest?
Thank you!
12.5.2012 | Unregistered Commenterandrea
Andrea-- I have made this cake several times and tried it with all AP flour. It works just fine and the taste is great!
12.5.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Helloo! I'm fascinated by your blog and all the recipes seems like perfect!! I tried this cake and it tastes wonderful:) I shared the recipe and the pictures on my blog =>
But I would like to ask something, I didn't put apple juice in it and it was a little bit dry. Instead of using apple juice what can I use?
Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes!
12.25.2012 | Unregistered CommenterRevna
Revna-- The cake was dry because there was not enough liquid added. The apple juice could have been substituted with buttermilk (ideal), milk, or even water if there was absolutely nothing else on hand. Cakes need a certain level of liquid ingredients to make them moist and tender. Without it, they turn dry.
12.25.2012 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
Can I substitute the one (1) cup whole wheat flour for one (1) cup of all-purpose (plain) flour, thus, the recipe contains 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour?

Apologies if this question has been asked previously.
08.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew
Andrew-- Yes, you may! It should turn out great.
08.22.2013 | Registered CommenterKristin Rosenau
I am making this right now! Had both pears and apples so used them up. Also used a little more walnuts. I love nits.
Had no tube pan so using a 13x9 pan. Should be fine. Maybe cook faster will check it. Have some homemade vanilla & strawberry ice cream left to put on top.
Cannot wait!
10.29.2013 | Unregistered Commenterkristy

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