Mama Said

Mama always said: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. My mom said it, I bet your mom said it, and you can be sure that I say it to my own children. Only thing is, the apples I ate as a child were awful.…

Mama Said

Mama always said: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. My mom said it, I bet your mom said it, and you can be sure that I say it to my own children.

Only thing is, the apples I ate as a child were awful. I remember horrid Red Delicious apples, with thick, waxy skins, and the inner fruit that was, well, not so delicious. I used to think it was a pity that I grew up in The Big Apple, where the apples were nothing to brag about. We even had an apple tree in our backyard, and to my disappointment, even they were pitiful.

It wasn’t until my first true apple picking excursion in upstate New York that I came to understand that the apple really is a noble fruit. I fell in love with varieties that never made it to my urban grocer, and nothing made me happier than seeing my parents buy gallons of the muddy colored apple cider. Nowadays, we are lucky that there is a renewed appreciation for the apple, and we can enjoy newer hybrids as well as heirloom varieties. I love that my children can crunch into Fijis, and Galas, Pink Ladies and Honeycrisps. And thanks to a growing effort, they can appreciate heirloom apples such as Black Oxford or Rhode Island Greening.

I will say, there was one way my mother could guarantee that we would eat our apples: in her Apple Walnut Delight.

Her glazed cake was studded with apples, transforming them not only to edible, but to heavenly.

These days, I omit the walnuts, only because the eaters in my household are not the biggest fans of the walnut, but do not worry, the cake tastes just as good.

Mama would be proud.

Apple Walnut Delight

If you have any allergies or aversions to nuts, by all means, omit the walnut. The cake is just as wonderful without them.

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar (I like to use 1 cup white granulated and 1 cup brown sugar)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups sifted flour
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 cups chopped apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, all work well. Combine varieties if you wish!)
  • 1 cup walnuts (omit if desired, and increase apple quantity to 4 cups)

Preheat oven to 325° F. Butter and flour a 10 inch fluted cake pan or tube pan.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; add gradually to sugar, butter and egg mixture until incorporated. Do not over mix.

Stir in apples, and walnuts.

Spoon into prepared cake pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Frost with glaze.


Combine 1 cup of confectioners sugar with 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and 2 Tbsp milk.


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  1. lea davenport

    a beautiful post, and it softened me up to early morning tears. My son lives on the other side of the world, and tho we communicate daily, I can’t smell him or capture the joy he brings when he walks into a room. But when you love someone so much you sometimes hurt. I think I’ll bake today, and your cake is it. Thank you for sharing.

    • liren

      Lea, thank you, and I hope that when my son is older, and likely living far away, that we are able to stay in touch as well as you and your son :) I hope you enjoyed the cake and thought of him.

  2. Roxana GreenGirl

    Hi Liren,
    Thanks for sharing the link on facebook, I would have missed this amazing cake. Now I’m craving more and more walnuts and apples in baked goodies.
    Gosh, your cake looks amazing!!!

  3. Jean

    I know what you mean about red “Delicious” apples. I still can’t stand them. Now the other varieties you mentioned, so good. Fujis are a staple around here. I have a very similar recipe that also uses a bunch of chopped apples in the recipe so I can almost imagine how this tastes. The walnuts and the glaze are a delicious bonus!

  4. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    I just discovered an apple variety called Black Arkansas, it’s this deep red apple that I think is pretty awesome and great for baking too. I’m a big fan of apple cakes, but like your family I prefer mine without the walnuts!

  5. Monet

    Like you…I ate the worst apples growing up. You know my delight when I ate my first heirloom apple. Now I eat two pink lady apples each day! I love apple cakes, and this one looks and sounds delicious. I hope you have a wonderful Friday. I can’t believe the weekend is almost here! Thank you for sharing, my friend. Many hugs from Austin!

  6. Kate @

    I love anything with apples! I listen to my doctor’s orders ;-).
    That cake, that frosting…oh my…this looks wonderful! I love the addition of walnuts … great job!
    But I’m with you… I don’t like the Red Delicious apples… they’re cakey, spongy, blah.

  7. Mdivani

    You never cease to amaze me with the creativity in which you approach these recipes and topics! You are an inspiration! (And the cake looks like another to go on my list of have to try!)

  8. BigFatBaker

    I am an apple fan, but living in Indiana where all we have is farming I have had the opportunity to eat some amazing apples. I do NOT like red delicious though (why do they call them that? They are the least delicious apple). This apple walnut cake looks amazing, thank you for sharing your recipe!

  9. Peggy

    I used to love going apple-picking as a child! It was a guaranteed field trip every year! I haven’t been in so long! This cake looks like the perfect breakfast treat, though! You’re definitely making me hungry!

  10. Trish

    Yes, I remember the waxiest apples as a kid. They were gross. Your pictures are stunning. I just want to reach right into my computer and take a big bite. Great flavor combinations.

  11. Christina

    Loving this recipe! Where big on apples (and all have our personal favorite) here in my house and I’m surely going to give this recipe a try! Thanks you!

  12. Debi Shawcross

    What is it with kids not liking nuts in baked goods? Mine have finally started being okay with it—
    This sounds as good as it looks!

  13. Sara @CaffeIna

    Well, I guess I have to follow doctors’ orders now and go make myself one of this! One can never have enough apple cakes recipes :)

  14. Becky

    I love apples and your cake looks so moist and delicious. I have a similar apple cake that I make, too. Besides being so good for you, apples are great to bake with, because they give so moist moistness and flavor to what they ‘re baking.

  15. Joy

    That looks utterly wonderful. This is a great way to use apples I have in the fridge.

  16. sippitysup

    I know what you mean about the apples of our youth. Where were all the great varieties we love to day. They were around I guess just not appreciated enough. GREG

  17. RavieNomNoms

    Wow that looks sensational! Your pictures are really stunning!

  18. Roxan

    Liren! Did you revamp your blog? Or am I just totally remembering things wrong? I feel so out of the loop… Anyways, this apple cake looks AMAZING! I have to make it. Sorry to hear that you had such horrible apples as a child :) Try honeycrisp when they are in season next fall (they’re already out of season for this year) those are my favorite.

    • Liren

      Hi Roxan! No, the blog is the same but you must have ESP because I really want to redecorate this space! But thank you! Honeycrisp is my current favorite apple right now, so I am definitely sad that I can’t find them again till next year.

  19. Jun Belen

    Lovely cake, Liren. I love Fujis the best — the perfect mix of sweetness and tartness. What kind of apple would work best with the cake? I’m guessing the Granny Smith would be too tart. And Red Delicious would be too mealy.

    Beautiful apple shot, by the way!

    • Liren

      Hi Jun! Thank you! I love baking with Granny Smith but when I do, I make sure to use some brown sugar in the mix because they are so tart! When I baked this cake the other day, I did a combination of apples. I believe it was half Granny Smith half Gala. I think Fuji would be great in this too!

  20. Kori

    What a beautiful cake! I’ll have to remember this after we go apple picking again next fall ;)

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