Heavenly Apple Cake

By • September 27, 2009 • 31 Comments



Author Notes: Though not even approaching being eligible for a beauty contest, this cake seems to be irresistible. It stays fresh and gooey for days (that is if there's any left) and it's really very simple. The recipe originated in a community cookbook that I used regularly for years. The cake was always delicious but, over the years I've changed things--NO nuts--raisins--raisins soaked in Rum--but now I've settled on adding dates soaked in Apple Brandy (or Calvados if you're feeling flush!) Sometimes I substitute brown sugar for half the white sugar. As I say, NOT pretty, but well worth it. Veronica

Serves 12 to 16

  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup apple brandy (or Calvados)
  • 2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups slightly tart apples: peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup melted sweet butter
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Icing sugar for decoration
  1. About one hour before starting to bake, place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the apple brandy. Stir from time to time and if they get too "tight", just add more brandy!
  2. Preheat oven to 325. Using butter, grease a baking pan (approximately 13 x 9 x 2)
  3. Into a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add the chopped apples, dates, melted butter and the eggs. This will be a very heavy, thick batter but don't worry -- just be sure to mix it well.
  5. Spread in the prepared pan, place on a rack in center of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test with a skewer -- if it comes out still a bit gooey, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. You'll know when it's done. It will be a nice dark tan color and will spring back to a light touch.
  6. Remove from oven, let cool a bit. This is delicious hot, warm or cold. As I mentioned, this cake isn't a beauty queen so should be plated in the kitchen! I sprinkle each serving with icing sugar.
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Comments (31) Questions (4)

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5 months ago Donna C.

This is a wonderful cake I like to tuck half (or more) of it away in the freezer and pull it out when company comes. Only used about a 1/4 cup of apricot brandy to soak the dates in, and chunked the apples. Love this cake, have made it many times. Served with a dollop of whipped cream that had had a splash of maple syrup or Frangelico, everyone loves it.
Food 52 is my favourite website!

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7 months ago bebe le perche

second time i made it with variations:
1 cup of turbinado w 1 cup white sugar
raisins instead of figs, soaked in rum
about 1/4 cup ground almonds

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7 months ago bebe le perche

this was posted on my birthday. i'm making it now, for the second time. it is moist, fragrant, and complex. one of my favorite cakes!

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8 months ago karmaya

Variation on a theme: made this today, but instead of dates in calvados, used dried cherries soaked in cointreau; used one and a half cups of sugar; baked in a 12-inch cast iron pan lined with parchment paper; the result was fabulous, especially while it was still warm. Thanks for a great recipe!

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8 months ago Frances Peets

Timpiano - I used a Bundt pan and it worked out fabulous.

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8 months ago Timpiano

Thanks!

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8 months ago Timpiano

Yet another pan query...to try to overcome the aesthetics, could I perhaps use a Bundt pan?

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9 months ago Bluejade

As I cross-posted in the recipe for Grandma's Last Apple Cake, I combined these two recipes. What I particularly liked in this one is the date/liquid mix. Since I didn't have apple brandy, I chopped up the dates and put in bowl with half cup each of coffee and water. Then I microwaved that and mixed in at the end. Good recipe!

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10 months ago dymnyno

I have a very similar apple cake which I make that was my mother's recipe from many years ago when the nearby community of Sebastopol was an apple paradise, specifically, Gravenstein apples. I have found that baking the cake in a cast iron skillet that has been lined with parchment will produce an evenly baked cake that pops out easily. (I love dates and will try them next time)

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9 months ago Veronica S

Thank you! And thanks for the skillet trick -- will definitely try that next time (maybe next week!)

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10 months ago cookiemo

What a delicious cake! Perfect combination of apples and dates. Followed the recipe exactly but next time I'm going to cut back on the sugar by 1/2 cup.

Hiromibw

10 months ago Hiromi Motojima

I felt the same way about the sugar amount...

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11 months ago whmcdevitt

so delicious, the dates give it a real debt of flavor.......great recipe!!

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11 months ago Frances Peets

What a fabulous cake! Just made it with a few changes...no alcohol - used boiled water instead to soften dates and only 1.5 cups of sugar. Thank you for the recipe.

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11 months ago Waverly

We loved your cake, Veronica. The apple brandy soaked dates adds a really nice touch. We served it with vanilla ice cream while watching college football. Delicious!

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11 months ago Arbour

13x9x2 rectangle pan = 15 cups
12"x2" round pan = 15.5 cups
10"x4" TUBE pan = 16 cups

Hiromibw

11 months ago Hiromi Motojima

Has anybody tried this recipe with gluten free flour?

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11 months ago Hiromi Motojima

I made gluten free version today. It is very doughy and gooey. Not sure that's how it is supposed to be, but we loved it. Well, my husband loved it as is, but I would like it to be much less sweet.

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11 months ago Bonny

I made it in a 9 inch spring form pan and cooked it for 1 and 1/4 hours. Also substituted 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour for one cup of the white flour.

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11 months ago Jazzball

has anyone tried subbing in some whole-wheat flour and/or brown sugar? what else are folks trying instead of the calvados? what about apple cider (hard or soft)?

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11 months ago Kathryn Harvey

I used apple schnapps. It was delicious!

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11 months ago JRG

Same question re the round pan, which is more attractive to serve. A 13 by 9 by 2 would come out to be a 12 inch diameter 2 inches deep round pan for the same volume. I sure don't own one of those but maybe you could use a 10 inch springform and adjust the baking time for the extra depth? Help!

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11 months ago lmichaelj

You can find a 12 inch springform pan. They are out there.

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11 months ago Kathryn Harvey

I used a 9 inch springform pan. i cooked it for about 10 minutes longer than called for. The center was still a little moist by most cake standards but it worked well for this - I let it cook until a toothpick in the center still had some moisture to the dough but not much, not dry. We only let it cool a short time so ate it very warm - thought it might be too gooey but it was perfect - it is a naturally moist cake so it worked well. Would do it again this way

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11 months ago cookiemo

What size round pan did you use?

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11 months ago Jeannie

Why does the picture show a round cake but the recipe calls for a 13 x 9 pan?

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11 months ago Veronica S

Picture was taken by Food52 when they tested. But I see that others have already added alternate sizes for pans. A 12 inch springform pan would work nicely and produce a better looking cake! I just like the rectangular for practical purposes--easier to refrigerate leftovers, which there will be if you're making for a smaller group.

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11 months ago Bonny

I just made this substituting crasins and soaking them in OJ