Heavenly Apple Cake

By • September 27, 2009 • 45 Comments

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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 cups chopped dates
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cups 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 teaspoon 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.
Jump to Comments (45)

Tags: Holidays, keeps will, travels well

Comments (45) Questions (5)


2 months ago ChuckT

Tried this recipe today (23/11) using a combination of Cortland and Honey Crisp apples. I opted for the full quantity (¾ cup) of both chopped dates and Calvados and the end result is truly AMAZING. It is moist, light in texture and the flavour is incredible. It really lives up to its name. Thanks for sharing Veronica!


3 months ago Kitspy

This cake is amazing. I used who even knows what kind of apples (had just picked a variety and they were all jumbled together) and soaked the dates in apple cider. I also baked it in a 9" round pan - this was not a smart thing to do, but it was all I had available (baking in boyfriend's kitchen!). I had some overflow and the baking time was longer, maybe 1.5 hours. But all was well in the end. Thinking about adding some walnuts or pecans next time. I like a little crunch in my homestyle desserts.


3 months ago claireaboo

Fantastic cake! Moist at the center and so very delicious. Used granny smiths, 3/4 the amount of sugar, and soaked the dates in regular brandy since we couldn't find Calvados. Made a glaze using confectioner's sugar, more brandy, and dates. Turned out surprisingly great!

Will definitely be baking this again. Thanks for the recipe :)


3 months ago jularcher

Yum, baked this today and LOVED it - very moist. Used a round baking tin, 1/2 cup less sugar, and soaked the dates in the only booze on hand, which was Absolut citron vodka! It took a super long time to bake - a good hour and a half - which may be my oven or the fact I used 7 good-sized apples, which made for a very fruity cake. A great afternoon snack while hot and I'm sure a great dessert later on when fully cooled. Next time I'll try some of the below suggestions, including dried cranberries and almond meal. Thanks for the recipe!


3 months ago whmcdevitt

I use cider sometimes and it's fine.


3 months ago daisybrain

Is this cake too boozy to serve to tweens? What if I substitute cider for the brandy? Of course I'd prefer the brandy.


3 months ago Angie

This cake is delicious! I made it the first time with the original ingredients and this time I added some diced bananas and a handful of mini chocolate chips to the original recipe. The only thing I'd change is... I'll make my kids peel and dice the apples!


4 months ago Nancy Mck

I just made this cake and ate two pieces the minute it came out of the oven. Omigosh it is soooo good.


4 months ago jenniebgood

This was a delicious recipe -thank you! Is there a reason the recipe calls for baking soda vs. baking powder? I've always read that you use baking soda in recipes that have an acidic ingredient, while baking powder is for recipes with more neutral ingredients. When I made this I thought I could detect that slightly metallic taste you sometimes get with baking soda, and so I'm wondering if switching it out for baking powder next time might work?


4 months ago akrainey

I got the same slightly metallic taste. If using baking powder, what is the recommended amount to subtitute?


4 months ago Maciej Niedbala

This cake is a real treat,yummy and gooey with a crunchy top.I was not sure what temperature to bake it in.325F makes around 160C but wasn't sure if the recipe is for a normal or a fan oven.


4 months ago Karrog

Just made this cake and it is delish!! A keeper for sure! I used a bundt pan and it worked great. I also used straight-up brandy with a bit of cherry brandy added (didn't have apple brandy) and it was fine. Thanks for this recipe.


11 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!


about 1 year 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


about 1 year 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!


about 1 year 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!


about 1 year ago Frances Peets

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


about 1 year ago Timpiano



4 months ago akrainey

How long did you bake this cake in a bundt pan? Thanks!


4 months ago Timpiano

I can't remember for sure, but I started checking on it after 45 minutes...


about 1 year ago Timpiano

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


about 1 year 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!


over 1 year 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)


over 1 year ago Veronica S

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


over 1 year 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.


over 1 year ago Hiromi Motojima

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