Ginger Apple Torte

November 7, 2010


Author Notes: Thanksgiving desserts have to be able to be made ahead and not require much work for serving. After such a large meal, who wants to start cooking again? I think that’s why pies are such a popular Thanksgiving dessert. This torte is part gingerbread, part apple cake. (The gingerbread is a variation of Laurie Colwin's from Home Cooking. I used to bake it in a heart-shaped pan. ) Ginger is thought to aid digestion, so this is perfect for after Thanksgiving dinner. It can be made one-two days ahead, and the flavors will develop. - drbabs
drbabs

Food52 Review: A fusion of gingerbread and apple cake, this recipe is our dream cake for fall -- layers of spiced batter sandwich tender caramelized apples and on top a coating of turbinado sugar melts to a sturdy, glassy crust. Eat this cake fresh, within a day, and make sure you caramelize the apples when sauteeing, so they get a little oomph! - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 3 large apples (I used Honeycrisp and Fuji.)
  • 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + ~2 TB butter + more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger (if you want more of a gingery kick; optional)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (I peeled a 2 inch piece and grated it with a microplane grater)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 10 walnut halves
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9” springform pan. If you are concerned about your springform pan leaking, wrap the bottom with aluminum foil.
  2. Core and peel apples, and cut into thin slices. Melt ~2 TB of butter in saucepan and cook until it is lightly browned. Stir in apple slices until all slices are covered with browned butter. Sprinkle ~2 TB turbinado sugar over apples, and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, till apples are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger (if using) and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Beat in two eggs. Beat in lemon zest, ginger, molasses, rum, and vanilla extract. (The mixture will look curdled. It's OK.)
  5. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring after each addition so the batter is thick and smooth. Fold in the milk and yogurt till batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  6. Scrape half the batter into the prepared springform pan. Cover with apple slices, and spread the other half of the batter over the apples. Smooth top with spatula. Place walnut halves on the top of the cake, and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of turbinado sugar over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake may slightly pull away from the sides of the pan.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it completely from the sides of the pan. Open the ring and remove it. If you want to remove the cake from the base of the springform pan, wait until it has cooled completely, then slide a long thin spatula between the cake and the base. Use a large spatula to then move it to a serving plate.
  9. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a blob of barely sweetened softly whipped cream.

More Great Recipes:
Cake|Fruit|Apple|Clove|Ginger|Milk/Cream|Molasses|Rum|Walnut|Make Ahead|Serves a Crowd|Christmas

Reviews (277) Questions (7)

277 Reviews

judy October 7, 2018
I really liked this. I did 5 apples, unpeeled, chopped in my hand chopper to coarse pieces, then spooned onto batter in layers: batter, apples, batter, apples, batter, nuts--lots of nuts! Oh and extra ginger--Trader Joes has an excellent non-crystalized candied ginger that I seem to throw into just about any fall baking recipe for an extra zing. But this was delicious. Thanks so much!
 
Author Comment
drbabs October 7, 2018
Thanks! I’m so glad you liked it.
 
eljay February 12, 2018
Quite tasty, but not "knock your socks off." Return on investment of time is not great enough for me.
 
Author Comment
drbabs February 12, 2018
Thanks for trying it. What could make it "knock your socks off?"
 
eljay February 12, 2018
I made it according to recipe and included the optional powdered ginger. If I were to make it again, I would double the fresh ginger, perhaps increase the cinnamon, add more walnuts to the top and chopped crystalized ginger to the whipped cream.
 
Author Comment
drbabs February 12, 2018
That does sound really good.
 
Claire February 12, 2018
LOVED IT. Here are my substitutions:<br />About 6 French Chantecler apples. I think I could have used even more and just layered them closer to the top. Next time.......<br />No Turbinado sugar so used brown sugar<br />Don't like alcohol so used Almond milk - I think any liquid would work.<br />Don't have molasses so used rice syrup. I think agave, honey or even maple would work too. <br />Don't have all spice so another pinch of cinnamon. <br />Had lots of fresh pecans so used instead of walnuts. I think you could equally do without anything on top.<br />Don't have a spring-form tin so used an oval baking dish lined with baking paper. <br />Weird oven so had to put it back in a few times. <br />It was a big hit. I think extra cinnamon next time because it was lost a little under the lemon. Definitely better with cream/icecream. Demolished in one sitting. FANTASTIC
 
Author Comment
drbabs February 12, 2018
Hi, Claire! I'm SO glad you liked it and were able to make it work for you!!
 
Shirley B. November 5, 2017
I don't use liquor in any cooking. What can I use in place of it in this recipe? It sounds sinfully good! Thanks!
 
Author Comment
drbabs November 5, 2017
You can safely leave it out. Just add three tablespoons more milk. Hope you like it!
 
Shirley B. November 5, 2017
thanks so much for your quick reply. I'm going to make it for our church's Thanksgiving dessert contest!<br />
 
Author Comment
drbabs November 5, 2017
Oh, good luck!
 
Julie December 31, 2016
This was spectacular... thanks for sharing! Because I don't really walnuts, I substituted 3/4 C toasted almonds on top and replaced the vanilla extract with almond extract. After reading many comments, I also boosted the apples to 4, and next time maybe to 5... because there will definitely be a next time!
 
Author Comment
drbabs December 31, 2016
I am so glad you liked it!
 
Uyen P. November 18, 2016
Does anyone know if this cake freezes well?
 
Author Comment
drbabs November 18, 2016
Sorry, I've never frozen it.
 
Manhattan T. November 18, 2016
It freezes beautifully -- especially if you cut the apples in the smaller side! Such a fabulous cake. Happy baking!
 
Gen16C October 16, 2016
I made this for a dinner party and it was a big hit. Delicious. I used 3/4 cup of buttermilk instead of milk/yogurt. I also used a 9" x 3" pan lined with parchment and it came out of the pan fine.
 
Author Comment
drbabs October 16, 2016
I'm so happy you liked it. Thank you for letting me know.
 
SouthernAZ August 28, 2016
This is just delicious! For us at 5200'elevation, cutting the cream and yogurt by half keeps the batter from bubbling over the rim of the pan.
 
Shannon R. October 26, 2015
Was so happy I read the comments and saw that people had successfully made this with gluten-free flour! Substituted Cup for Cup for the all purpose flour and the cake turned out great!
 
Author Comment
drbabs October 26, 2015
Shannon, that's so great! Thanks for commenting.
 
Tania October 8, 2015
But I wish that I had made more of the sautéed apples for the filling. You can never have too much filling.
 
Tania October 8, 2015
This is a great recipe, the cake turned out really moist and was an overall crowd pleaser!
 
Carolyn September 23, 2015
I'm going to make this cake for a dinner party this weekend. Has anyone tried substituting orange rind and juice for lemon ?
 
Author Comment
drbabs September 24, 2015
I haven't, but I love the idea. In fact, I was planning to make it for a party this weekend, and I think I'll make it your way!
 
whmcdevitt February 21, 2015
just put it on a plate and cover.. if you don't a a glass dome loosely place under foil and stick in the cupboard. i find when i refrigerate overnight the consistency changes. instead of dry otter crumb it gets soggy......just how i prefer it!
 
Chase J. February 21, 2015
I made this cake the day ahead of my dinner party. I'm just wondering what the best way to store it is? Please let me know. Thank you!
 
Author Comment
drbabs February 21, 2015
I have a Tupperware cake holder--basically a plate with a tall cover. I would use that. Or you could leave it (or put it back into) the springform pan and wrap that in plastic or foil. Hope you enjoy!
 
Poniesss403 October 26, 2017
I always struggle with this because I love the little crust or crackle the cake has and I'm afraid if I cover it it will get soft. Will that be avoided if it cools first then cover it? If I leave it open for one night will it dry out? I guess this is more of a general cake storage question. Btw this cake is heavenly and exactly what I wanted!
 
Cynthia November 29, 2014
Made this for thanksgiving this year and it was a hit. Followed the recipe exactly and it came out great. My only adjustments: I added some candied ginger (cooked with the apples) and the cake was done after 45 minutes (my oven runs hot). Two days later and the leftover slices are still moist. Next time I may add an apple or two for a thicker apple layer.
 
Author Comment
drbabs November 30, 2014
I'm so happy that you liked it. Thanks for letting me know.
 
leigh F. September 27, 2014
thank you so much. Honey is a great idea.
 
whmcdevitt September 26, 2014
honey....!
 
leigh F. September 26, 2014
any substitutes for molasses? Just don't like it. Thanks.
 
Author Comment
drbabs September 26, 2014
With only one tablespoon of molasses, you can't really taste it. The molasses adds some complexity to the overall spice cake flavor. If I weren't using molasses, I think I'd use a teaspoon of unsweetened cocoa or powdered espresso mixed into a tablespoon of water to get that bitter complexity that the molasses imparts. I hope you enjoy it!
 
Hayleilei September 24, 2014
Oh what a lovely cake. I made a few adjustments - because of the limits of my fridge, not a lack of trust in this recipe - and it really came out pretty perfect. I also baked up half of the batter into a muffin tin, topped with oats and demerara sugar, and think I preferred the dinky, crispy-edged version more than the cake!<br />Tweaks:<br />Had no rum, so used a bit of extra molasses <br />Half whole wheat bread flour - which surprisingly worked<br />Half demerara sugar, half white sugar<br />Didn't have enough yogurt, so made up the difference with milk<br />No time to pre cook the apples - so I simply chopped them roughly and stirred them (and a handful of sultanas) through the batter <br /><br />This is definitely one to be repeated. A perfect early autumn cake!<br />
 
Author Comment
drbabs September 24, 2014
I'm so glad that you enjoyed it and that your adjustments worked!
 
Manhattan T. February 18, 2014
Made this for a dinner party; in particular, one of the guests loves apple desserts and one of the hosts (ahem...my picky husband) dislikes cooked fruits (of ANY kind. In ANYthing. At ANY time. EVER). So WHY did I choose to make this? Because I hoped that maybe we'd have leftovers of dessert for longer than the next morning by 11 a.m. Theoretically, this should've worked like a charm...<br />I used a cast iron skillet to caramelize the random mix of apples (2 lg., 1 small and sickly-looking) in brown sugar; this took at least 15 minutes. I skipped the grated ginger but added the hefty tsp. of ground. I also dubiously added the copious amount of Allspice specified then questioned why my hand was so quick to flick it all in before my brain thought it through. (I love allspice, but that's a lot! Maybe I'd have even MORE leftovers...of the super-mediocre variety... Gah!) Thanks to other reviewers, I used ONLY buttermilk instead of the yogurt/milk combo. Instead of topping it w/ turbinado I used a generous 2 Tbs. of Demerara, a coarse, crunchy brown sugar. It baked quickly and was pulled out at exactly 50 min. <br />I served it several hours later with vanilla gelato. Then served second pieces to some. Then sent some home with the friend who loves apple desserts (they ate it for breakfast, I heard later). Then watched my apple-loathing husband have a third serving (three. pieces. of dessert.) while bringing in the wine glasses. It was FABULOUSLY moist and PERFECTLY spiced: not too allspicy, not too under-gingery...just PERFECT. The booziness was also lovely but not so overwhelming as to make it unappealing to my daughter. Next time if I want leftovers I'll have to make TWO.
 
Author Comment
drbabs February 18, 2014
Thank you so much. You made my day.