Fall

Heavenly Apple Cake

by:
May  3, 2021
19 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
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
Ingredients
  • 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
In This Recipe
Directions
  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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88 Reviews

Shang C. April 17, 2021
Made it twice and made some adjustments. Used 1/2 of Turbinado sugar instead of 2 cups of sugar (the sweetness is more than enough for me), 1 cup of all-purpose and 3/4 rye flour, 3/4 rum, tossed in some chopped pecan. Personally I like how adaptable and easy this recipe is and how the cake look: direct and rustic (it's a beauty for me). The taste is also good, I like the combination of turbinado sugar and rum and dates. It gives the cake this very nice dark brown feeling.
 
Tracy B. November 22, 2020
I’ve made this cake twice and it does not disappoint. The second time I cooked it for an hour at 400* rather than 325* and it was cooked perfectly, even in the center. Both times I used an 8 inch springform which I why in needed a hotter oven. It really is a forgiving cake and flexible to whatever ingredients you have handy. I used a combination of wheat, white and almond flour which turned our great! Pears, apples, nuts, any dried fruit work well!
 
Tracy B. November 22, 2020
I’ve made this cake twice and it does not disappoint. The second time I cooked it for an hour at 400 rather than 325 and it was cooked perfectly, even in the center. Both times I used an 8 inch springform which I why in needed a hotter oven. It really is a forgiving cake and flexible to whatever ingredients you have handy. I used a combination of wheat, white and almond flour which turned our great! Pears, apples, nuts, any dried fruit work well!
 
Tracy B. November 22, 2020
I’ve made this cake twice and it does not disappoint. The second time I cooked it for an hour at 400 rather than 325 and it was cooked perfectly, even in the center. It really is a forgiving cake and flexible to whatever ingredients you have handy. I used a combination of wheat, white and almond flour which turned our great! Pears, apples, nuts, any dried fruit work well!
 
Anna H. November 10, 2020
I made this today with a few adjustments based on what I had and didn’t have on hand. I used 1/4 cup brown rum and 1/4 cup water in place of the calvados. Then I used 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup packed brown sugar as I ran out of the granulated. I also had 4 different apples to use up so I didn’t measure them, I just peeled and chopped them and added it in. Then I baked the cake in a Bundt pan and it came out absolutely amazing. It’s moist and tastes delicious. This is a very thick batter so don’t let that throw you off. It’s also such an easy recipe to throw together if you don’t have a lot of time. I’ll definitely be keeping this recipe!
 
boyka November 2, 2020
I fall in love with this recepie. Easy to follow all the instruction, the result is a very delicious cake. I substituted half of the white sugar with petmez. This this gave the cake an incredible aroma and taste. Next time I will halve the white sugar.

 
Amy C. November 1, 2020
This is my second time making it in two weeks. The first time I took it out at 50 minutes and didn’t have brandy so omitted it. The second time I did the full 60 and added brandy. I prefer it slightly under baked but it is still so good this time around. I expect to make this many more times.
 
Lainie G. October 16, 2020
I substituted half brown and half white sugar and it was delicious as a lunch dessert with coconut yoghurt on the side.
 
Gardener May 29, 2020
You're too harsh: Not a pretty cake? I see beauty.
 
ifjuly February 10, 2020
Love how easy this is--I dig a good cake that doesn't require an electric mixer!--and the description is spot on; it's rustic and nubby and comforting. The soaked dates really (!) contribute a deep dark flavor, almost as if the cake has molasses or brown sugar in it. The nubby, shaggy-wet crumb and deep dark flavor combined means it feels vaguely evocative of '90s-healthy-style bran muffins somehow (?), but tastier than that might sound. The kind of snacking cake ideal for a rainy dreary afternoon. I recommend making sure not to overbake.
 
Milicent B. November 9, 2019
This was fantastic! This cake isn't just moist it stays moist. I love this and I don't usually like apple cake. Stellar!
 
FlyingChef October 17, 2019
So sorry Luisa's Ricotta Apple, this is my new fave. Although I will still keep making it because it's most requested. This cake is worth all the calvados poured in it. Only different thing I did was sub 2 T of butter with cream cheese. I was scared since this was the first time I was trying the recipe. Otherwise baked everything as is, so yummy and easy. A good and easy recipe to bring to a party. I am going to try to veganize it for my daughter, I'll let you know how it goes.
 
Michele W. October 16, 2019
YUM! Made this tonight! Super moist & very easy recipe for a quick desert (if in need)
I used 1 cup of white sugar & 1 cup of dark brown sugar. It was not too sweet in my opinion. I added 1/8 tsp of ginger & 1/4 tsp of cloves. I had just brandy on hand seemed to work just fine; didn’t add the liquid once dates had soaked in it; wasn’t certain if that would be too much liquid or not. I’m good with how it turned out. Will make this cake again 👍🏻👍🏻
 
Maggie September 29, 2019
This cake was devoured when I made it! Everyone raves about the flavor and how moist it was. I used calvados and chopped dates. I am making it again today, will cut sugar a bit and try it with golden raisins.
 
Brian M. February 8, 2019
Making this again for the 10th time or so. Used apple brandy and went heavy on the cinnamon. Love this recipe!!
 
Susan L. January 17, 2019
I just made this cake and was able to successfully reduce the sugar and sub some whole wheat flour with great success. I also used walnuts as I had no dates or raisins. I used a bit of lemon on the apples to prevent browning and loved the tartness it added. This is the easiest most adaptable recipe I've found and uses much less fat than most while staying dense and moist. My husband loves it.
 
Cindy F. November 14, 2018
Wonderful!! Very moist, everyone loves it. I made apple liquor, and instead of throwing out the apples, tried them in this recipe. So, I left out the booze, but it came out great. Thank you.
 
Sonja R. October 30, 2018
Just luscious! And incredibly moist still after four days in the fridge. A keeper
 
pvanhagenlcsw August 31, 2018
Delicious cake. Bursting with flavor. Next, I will have to buy a large bottle of Calvados as I will make this often as winter approaches such as it is in SF.

 
carole H. November 13, 2017
Can you freeze this cake ?