Apple Spice Cake

I have emerged from hibernation. We may have just entered the depths of winter, but after two weeks of all things holiday and having the children home from school, I feel like a bear drowsily emerging from her cave. This was the first holiday break…

Apple Spice Cake

I have emerged from hibernation.

We may have just entered the depths of winter, but after two weeks of all things holiday and having the children home from school, I feel like a bear drowsily emerging from her cave. This was the first holiday break we did not travel, and our bodies easily fell into a routine that followed it’s own circadian rhythms. Alarm clocks were silenced and we all caught up on rest. I have to say, it was really nice.

If I were a bear, my cave would have to be outfitted with a little kitchen, because lazy days are perfect for baking. Repetitively slicing apples and cracking eggs can be so therapeutic, at least when time is plenty and cold weather dictates you stay indoors.

And the sugary sweet aroma of apples soaking in cinnamon and allspice perfumes your home. That is true aromatherapy.

It turns out that as much as time was on my side last week, this Apple Spice Cake is surprisingly easy to make, and does not require a lot of time at all. The batter just needs a few swift strokes with a whisk. And I was also surprised at how the apples are truly the star of the cake. Beneath those petals is a cake so studded with apple, you hardly had to feel guilty as you ate a slice…or two. Which is a good thing, when you’re hibernating.

A cake that is comforting without the guilt? Easy to prepare and still looks pretty? And stays moist for days? Yes, it’s true. Don’t believe me? There’s only one way to find out, now isn’t there?

Apple Spice Cake

8-10 servings

I love how simple this recipe is to prepare - leaving the skins intact means no peeling apples and extra nutrition in the cake. It also makes it quite hearty. However, if you would like a slightly lighter and softer texture, I would peel the apples before slicing. The cake will last up to 4 days when stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container. Also, the original recipe called for golden raisins, but I left that out and added chocolate chips instead. Can you blame me?


3 medium green apples
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg (ideally fresh)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons granulated sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Confectioners' sugar


Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly butter or use baking spray on an 8-inch round cake pan.

Core the apples and slice thin (see note above regarding leaving the skin intact). In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter and egg. Stir in 2/3 of the sliced apples.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and salt. Add the flour to the sugar mixture, along with the chocolate chips, and stir until just combined. Pour into the pan and spread. Arrange the remaining sliced apples and gently press into the batter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Bake until golden brown and the cake is springy, for about 50 minutes.

Remove cake from oven and let it sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake onto a plate and let it cool completely, about 2 hours. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve!

Slightly adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Healthy Kitchen Series: Desserts, by Annabel Langbein (Simon & Schuster, 2006).


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  1. Liren

    Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! I hope you all have a chance to enjoy this simple beauty!

  2. Norma

    What a work of art. My New year’s resolution is to bake. Today I am doing a rum cake. Let’s see how I do. Glad you caught up on rest and you are back creating your beutiful dishes.

  3. Kathy Diaz (found baking)

    No peeling of the apples? Count me in! It looks too pretty to eat. Just way too pretty to even touch. Hope you had a fabulous holiday break with your loved ones. Cheers to an amazing 2012!

  4. Kim Bee

    This is so stunning. I love the pictures. I’ve been hibernating myself. Nice to have a break from time to time.

  5. Vicki @ WITK

    This is such a pretty cake! Whenever I try to lay apples down in a pie, they never look that good. I wish that my holiday break was a little longer, going to work this Tuesday was so hard!

  6. Melissa@EyesBigger

    What a pretty cake! I’ve been feeling like making a coffee type cake the last little while – it’s not something I often do. I think this fits the bill perfectly with all those apples. I’m gonna try it with the raisins though. Lovely photos, as usual :)

  7. lea davenport

    I do believe you, especially when I read there are chocolate chips in the batter! Can’t wait to bake this one. thank you!

  8. Gina

    I need one more cake for tomorrow, “I should”, “No, I shouldn’t”, lol. That is the problem we have looking at all this amazing food isn’t it? We go back on Monday and I’m not looking forward to it. I got up at 8 a.m. this morning, a girl could get used to that. Happy New Years, I’m wishing only the best for you this year. I really do want this cake though.

    • Liren

      You should! One more cake before you return to reality this Monday :)

  9. sarah

    This cake is beyond gorgeous! Sounds like you had a lovely cozy holiday.

    Can’t wait to try this!

  10. Elizabeth @ Saffron Lane

    I didn’t have much of a sweet tooth until this pregnancy, but it’s in full effect now. That said, I’m pretty sure I could eat this whole (gorgeous) cake myself. Lovely photos, once again. I hope 2012 has been great to you so far!

  11. Patty

    Beautiful apple cake Liren! I like the chocolate chips inside and would be very happy to enjoy a piece while hibernating.

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