Easy and delicious, this moist apple cake is bursting with cinnamon apple flavor. An old fashion cake like grandma would make with only a few pantry ingredients and your favorite fresh apples.
It is apple season in Michigan, and I need to do a few apple recipes. Apple cake sounded great, but I wanted an old fashion apple cake. So, I copied from the best, my wife who pointed me to her own recipe in the "Holmes School Cookbook." It used only things we all have on hand, so I used that as a model.
This is one of the best desserts ever when combined with a scope of vanilla ice cream.
I cooked this cake unsupervised by the author, so I slid in a few minor changes—smaller size, more cinnamon, and shredded some of the apple to release more flavor.
👨🍳How to make this recipe
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Prep a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and flour. Parchment paper on the bottom is suggested.
- Dice or shred two medium apples.
- Mix all ingredients well and move to the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean—about 45 minutes.
🍎What apples to use
Granny Smith and Gala apples are both excellent choices. I find Cortland, Granny Smith, Gala, Ida Red, Honey Crisp, or Roma also work well. But really, the apples you love and have in the house are usually the best choice for you.
I would suggest avoiding Red Delicious or Macintosh apples, which don't cook well.
Large chunks of apples release steam when cook and can cause pockets in the cake. Smaller dice will work well.
I like to shred half the apples. It will keep some apple texture while releasing the juices and a great deal of flavor.
A 9-inch round or 8-inch square are excellent choices. An 8-inch round is also a good choice, but the cake will be thicker and take a bit longer to cook (not much.)
The original cake was double of this recipe and bakes in a standard 9X13 cake pan.
This is one of those "sticky" cakes. Even in a non-stick pan with butter and flour, there is some sticking. A piece of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan helps.
A sprinkle of granulated sugar will give a nice crust on top. Some people will add a pinch of cinnamon to the sugar.
Another good topping is a simple glaze. ⅔ cups of powder sugar, ⅛ teaspoon vanilla, and 3-4 teaspoons of milk.
Most people will store it overnight at room temperature. I prefer to keep leftovers refrigerated for up to 3 days. You can also freeze for 3-4 months.
Smaller Crock Pot Apple Cobbler
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🖼️Step-by-Step Photo Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack in the middle. Prep a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and flour. Parchment paper on the bottom is suggested.
Dice or shred two medium apples. I suggest half shredded and half with smaller dice of ¼ inch or less.
Mix all ingredients well and move to the prepared pan.
Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of sugar.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. About 45 minutes.
Cool before serving.
Easy Apple Cake
- 2 apples - medium or large, shredded or diced
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup oil
- 1 egg
- ½ cup walnuts - chopped
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon sugar - optional for sprinkling on top
- Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack in the middle. Prep a 9-inch round cake pan with butter and flour. Parchment paper on the bottom is suggested.
- Dice or shred two medium apples. I suggest half shredded and half with smaller dice of about ¼ inch.
- Mix all ingredients well and move to the prepared pan.
- Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of sugar.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. About 45 minutes. Cool before serving.
Your Own Private Notes
- Use the apples you have but, I'm not a fan of delicious or MacEntosh apples in recipes like this.
- The apples can be shredded or diced.
- I suggest a 9 inch round pan, but an 8 by 8 would work. I believe a 9 by 9 is not a good choice.
- Most people will want to double this recipe. Use a 9X13 pan. Cooking time will be about the same or a bit more. Use the toothpick test.
- Another good topping is a simple glaze. ⅔ cups of powder sugar, ⅛ teaspoon vanilla, and 3-4 teaspoons of milk. Skip the sprinkle of sugar on top of the cake if doing the glaze.
- Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for 3-4 months.
To adjust the recipe size:
You may adjust the number of servings in this recipe card under servings. This does the math for the ingredients for you. BUT it does NOT adjust the text of the instructions. So you need to do that yourself.
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Editor's note: Originally Published October 6, 2016. Updated with expanded options, refreshed photos, and a table of contents to help navigation.
Which apples do you recommend for apple recipes?
Dan Mikesell AKA DrDan
The choice of apples are generally mentioned in the recipe card notes but will be discussed in more details within the post.
Fab desert....as a help for peeling and shredding apples: I core the apple first which gives me two places for thumb and finger to grasp. I then peel or shred. I froze leftover cake cut into servings and placed them on a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper and placed in freezer. When cake was frozen, I used my trusty fold lock top sandwich bags to store each serving of Apple Cake. Then put cake servings in a gallon freezer bag and squeezed the air out and zipped shut.
I was getting ready for our Rosh Hashana dinner and decided that needed another dessert. Because I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to try the Easy Apple Cake from Scratch. It was easy, quick, light, moist, and delicious. Not a slice left. Next time I will make it in the 9x13 pan. Thank you for a delicious experience with something so simple.
Yum! Very nice apple-cinnamon flavor. I cut the recipe in half and made two 4-inch cakes. Baking powder instead to make them rise more. Cut the sugar by half and it was plenty sweet because I used a lunchbox container of applesauce plus a pat of butter instead of oil. Each small cake was 300 calories but we only ate half each, so 150 calories for a nice sized piece of cake. Thanks for the recipe!
I am eating a piece of this cake as I am writing my review. Just delicious and really easy. I like that you can dump all the ingredients together, and loved the sugar sprinkle on top. Thanks!
Made this apple cake yesterday and it is so moist and delicious. I made one small change; instead of the one tablespoon on sugar on top, I replaced that with sprinkling my jar of cinnamon sugar over the top instead ~ can't ever have enough cinnamon with apple recipes. I do appreciate this recipe as I am not a person that really enjoys sickening sweet icings and this one is right up my alley for sure. Keep up the good work and I'll keep enjoying your recipes!
My husband tried this while I was out for the day . He thought it said baking "powder " not baking soda . It was the best apple cake I have ever had !!!! It probably raised more , but it sure did not do anything to the flavor .. Not sure as that is the only way we make it now . Thank you , so easy & sooo good !!!!
Welcome to the blog.
This recipe is an old one from my wife's family. They tend to use baking soda. I prefer baking powder myself, you probably had a better rise. I will try it next time and see if my wife notices.
Thanks for the note.
This easy Apple Cake gets a five star rating from both my husband and myself. I followed the recipe as is and it turned out so super moist and delicious. It definitely is a keeper, but next time I am going to try and reduce the sugar a bit. Thanks for such a great little cake recipe!
The BEST apple cake ever! So simple and so delish. The cake itself is very moist and full of apple flavor. For the spice , I use apple pie spice according to my taste but that was the only modification I made. Thanks for this recipe is going to become one of my go to’s!
A really quick and easy cake -- not to mention delicious! I substituted all of the oil with home-canned cinnamon applesauce and it was fantastic! I diced the apples and I also used 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and added 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves and ground allspice. It needed an additional 5 minutes of baking and it was baked in an 8" x 8" glass dish. While still warm, we topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Definitely a keeper!
Hi Charlie, thanks for the comment. I have done this one several more times already with various combinations. I'm convinced you can modify this many ways and it will still be excellent.
Thanks for the note and especially the trial of substituting in the applesauce for half the oil. I have been planning a repeat cooking doing that exact substitute. Now I can do the Apple Fritter Bread instead...
This cake is amazing!!!! I doubled the recipe & baked it in a 9x13-inch pan. I also only used 1/2 c. Oil & then substituted 1/2 c. Applesauce for the other 1/2 c. Oil. My family LOVES it! Thank you for an awesome cake that we will make over & over again! Definitely a keeper!
This cake is delicious and super easy to make!! But just wondering if it's possible to cut the 1cup of sugar by half as well as the amount of oil without much change to the result of this cake? Also wondering if it can be frozen.
Thanks for the note. It is usually ok to sneak sugar down a little. But cutting in half is a lot unless the apples are very sweet. The oil really is needed, or you will have a marked effect on the texture. You can experiment with substituting applesauce or yogurt but I have not done it with this recipe so proceed at your own risk.
They should freeze well.
Would this be good 2 days after baking? I'm looking for a desert to bring to a saturday tailgate, but would have to make it on Thursday.
Almost but not quite as good.