Heavenly Apple Cake

September 27, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

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
In This Recipe


  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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Reviews (74) Questions (6)

74 Reviews

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 ?
Nancy September 18, 2017
I just made this. It's wonderful. I'll share my experience because it may help others. I live in a place where I can get very, very fresh dates right off the tree. I have some huge, super soft ones right now, so I did not add them to any liquid. They were so soft, in fact, that after I chopped them they were almost like paste, so I added them to the dry ingredients and fluffed them around and separated the pieces with my hands. I added less sugar ( 1/2 cup plus a few shakes) and could have added even less as it's quite sweet. I did toss in about a tablespoon of peach juice just in case the lack of liquid would be a problem. The other thing I did differently was to bake it in a sheet pan with edges. That way it cooked faster and made very manageable pieces when cutting. It is SO good. Thank you!
galsmu October 24, 2016
Made this tonight with a couple small changes. Reduced the sugar slightly as recommended and used half white and half light brown sugar. Diced the apples smaller than recommended. Baked it in a bundt pan at 350 for 55 minutes. Turned out great! Moist and just the right amount of sweetness.
JJ A. September 23, 2016
Forgot to say that I used my own Apple Liqueur that I make every year from my trees!
JJ A. September 23, 2016
Made and brought this to a Jewish dinner party, where I was the only non-Jew....got RAVE reviews...."this is better than my Mom's apple cake!" Nary a crumb left for me to take home....LOL
Janet January 27, 2016
This cake turned out great! I made the following adjustments: half whole wheat flour/half white flour, I cut the sugar to one cup and used half brown/half white sugar, I used 1/4 c. butter and 3T butter infused olive oil, I added lots of fresh, grated ginger. Also, I soaked my dates in Stone's Ginger Wine. This cake was very easy to make and it is very adaptable. I'm going to make it again tomorrow!
Steven W. December 26, 2016
So you didn't Really make this cake?
anne December 31, 2016
Ya, no kidding. Ridiculous.
cholula December 24, 2018
seems like there are rude people everywhere.....Janet thank for posting
Steven W. December 26, 2018
Not really rude, just a comment that is appropriate in so many recipe threads...at least Janet added that she found the cake to be very adaptable...and that is just what she did. But technically she didn't make this cake.
Susan L. January 16, 2019
Thanks for your comments. I just made this cake and was able to successfully reduce the sugar and sub some whole wheat flour because of your success. I also used walnuts. This is the easiest most adaptable recipe I've found.
Marina A. November 15, 2015
I have to say this cake is AMAZING!! It's has a sophisticated flavor and perfect moist texture. It's not ugly either. Pretty cakes iced to the nine might give you a sugar kick but leave your mouth empty and unsatisfied. This is not such a cake.
Tammy S. November 15, 2015
I guess after reading all of the rave reviews for this cake I was a bit disappointed. Not a BAD cake, just an OK cake. However, I must say that it was super easy to make.
inuglaf November 4, 2015
i want to make this cake in a round pan! what size should i stick to? planning to make it for someone's birthday so early feedback would be HIGHLY appreciated. thanks!
nancy E. October 10, 2015
I have made this twice now. Sublimely delicious. First time with Calvados and the second with brandy. Both wonderful. It is so very satisfying. Thank you for this recipe.
nancy E. October 10, 2015
I had to reduce the sugar as well and would recommend it.
Kerry G. September 20, 2015
Delicious and worth the trip to liquor store. I reduced sugar by one half cup and used raisins instead of dates. Near end of baking (mine took only 45-50 minutes in 9x13 pan), I sprinkled chopped pecans and turbinado (sp.?!) sugar on top and returned to oven. Btw, soaked raisins over night ... About 3/4 cup with half cup booze. Yum!
ChuckT April 18, 2015
Hi Ana, I added the dates and the brandy remaining in the bowl that the dates had been soaked in , without any problems.
Ana April 18, 2015
Hi! Anybody that made the cake can tell me if I'm supposed to put the brandy as well or just the dates? Thanks a lot!
T.w. F. March 21, 2015
Hi, is there anyway to get the measurements in imperial or metric, either weight measurement would be a help.

Measuring by "cup" is very imprecise when it comes to the likes of fruit and butter.

Elizabeth March 5, 2015
Thank you so much for this recipe. I've made the cake 5 or 6 times, and once made cupcakes so others could sample it. It is a huge hit on our mountain. The sugar was cut back by 1/2 cup and tasted better. We used a variety of apples,
and found that tart heirlooms had the most flavor. This is our favorite cake!!