This is a recipe my mom used to make occasionally, and I asked her for the recipe last year upon remembering how much I liked it. Not sure where she got it, but it’s super easy and really tasty. Since, as I’ve said, I’m not much of a pumpkin person, it’s nice to have an alternative fall baking option using apples (which I love). I’m not a huge fan of baked/cooked fruit—I much prefer it raw, crisp, and crunchy. However, in this cake, the apple is grated and becomes an almost seamless part of the cake.
The recipe wasn’t too bad to begin with, healthwise—after all, the batter is about 65% fresh apple, so how bad could it be? It does use some oil, which I prefer not to use in baking (or at least use as little of it as I can). I substituted most of the oil with unsweetened applesauce, which is a fine substitute in any recipe, but it works especially well here considering it’s apple cake. I’ve also made this before with white whole wheat flour, but it does affect the taste and appearance a bit, so I opted for all-purpose this time. I cut down the sugar because when you’re working with sweet apples, you don’t really need mass amounts of added sugar. If you’re using a more tart apple, you might want to add a bit more sugar.
Speaking of apples, there are lots of things to consider when picking baking apples. In this case, I went with Macintosh apples. They’re fairly soft, sweet, and juicy. If you can avoid it, don’t use a really crisp, tart apple for this. You want something that will integrate smoothly with the batter, and you certainly don’t want a crunchy cake. Choose your apples wisely!
Your cast of characters is pretty standard: apples (4 to 6 depending on size—I had 6 but ended up only needing 4), eggs, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, applesauce, and nuts. I used a mix of walnuts and pecans. You can also add powdered sugar for garnish, but that’s optional, of course.
The first thing you’ll want to do is peel your apples so you can grate them. You don’t want a cake full of apple skins!
Then just grate them on a cheese grater, discarding the cores. At this point you might want to toss the apple in some lemon juice to keep it from browning while you get the batter ready.
This is super easy—you don’t even need a mixer. Just combine 2 beaten eggs (or 1/2 cup egg substitute if you prefer) with 1 cup sugar, a scant 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, and 1 Tablespoon canola oil.
Now add in your dry ingredients—flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda.
Now stir in your apple and half of your chopped nuts. Reserve the other half to sprinkle on top.
Now sprinkle the rest of the nuts on top, then bake for 40 minutes at 350 or until a tester comes out clean.
Cool, cut, and serve with powdered sugar sifted over the top. I’d recommend cutting 24 pieces—I initially cut this into 12, but after realizing how huge they were, I halved each piece.
Mmm, this is a beautiful sight. The cake is soft and light, with sweet and tart bursts of apple flavor. The spices make it taste like autumn, and the nuts inside and on top add a nice texture contrast and toasty, nutty taste.
Powdered sugar? Don’t mind if I do!
This apple cake is a tasty, light fall dessert you can enjoy pretty guilt free. It has tons of fresh fruit and what little fat there is consists of good fats from the nuts. Most of the sugars are natural, so that’s always a plus. So feel free to indulge! It would be great heated up a la mode, too—even add a little drizzle of caramel on top if you’re feeling feisty. If you’re not a pumpkin fan, you can still enjoy the flavors of fall! Dig in!
Fresh Apple Cake
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sugar
Scant 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tablespoon canola oil
4 cups apples, grated (about 4-6 apples)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup nuts, chopped
2 T. powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir eggs, sugar, applesauce, and oil together with a spoon. Stir in grated apple, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda; mix well. Add half of chopped nuts. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle rest of nuts over top. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Per piece (24 pieces)