Saturday, October 24, 2009

Bella's Favorite

This is a cake I make every year during apple season, and often throughout the winter, due to the ready availability of good apples. It has a wonderful taste and texture—rich and subtle with a moist crumb. The apples layered in the middle of the cake add a pleasant surprise and only enhance the cake’s elegant simplicity. When baked in a greased and floured Bundt-style pan the cake is a lovely golden brown. This is Bella’s favorite cake, and is what she asks for every year as her birthday cake.

The recipe comes from the King Arthur 200th Anniversary Cookbook, and is presented here with permission from the King Arthur Company. The recipe below reflects some minor changes I have made. One final note, I often substitute blueberries (which is what you will see in the pictures) for the apples and use milk instead of cider. Raspberries, strawberries, peaches, and apricots can also be used with good results.

German Apple Cake

Apple Filling:

3 large apples

lemon juice (optional)

5 Tbsp. sugar

2 tsp. cinnamon


3 c. flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 c. canola oil

2 c. sugar

4 eggs

¼ c. apple cider or milk

2-1/2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a Bundt-style pan and set aside.

The filling is made before the batter as it is layered into the cake. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. If you won’t be completing the cake within 30 minutes, sprinkle them with a bit of lemon juice to prevent browning. In a small bow, mix the sugar with the cinnamon. Set these aside.

To make the batter, mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat the oil and sugar for 2 or 3 minutes on high speed using an electric hand mixer until creamy.

In a separate small bowl using the same beaters, beat the eggs at medium-high speed until light and lemon colored (about 1 minute). Add the cider and vanilla, mix well and add to the sugar and oil, beating thoroughly on medium-high speed. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold together by hand or carefully mix on the lowest speed with the electric mixer just until blended. The batter will be quite thick and fall in thick ribbons from a spatula.

To assemble the cake, pour one-third of the batter into the prepared pan. Next, lay down a layer of apples, using half of them, and sprinkle with half the cinnamon sugar. Cover the apples with a little bit of batter.

Lay down another layer using the remaining apples and sprinkle with the rest of the cinnamon sugar. Scrape all of the remaining batter on top.

Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes or until a pick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


  1. When I bake this with blueberries I add an inordinate amount of nutmeg. I don't measure, so I'm not sure how much, but plenty. It's delicious!

  2. Bella--Thank you! Nutmeg does so much for the blueberries.

  3. This cake is fast becoming one of my favorites, too. I was wondering, though - can it be baked in a regular cake pan? I don't own a Bundt pan (yet).

  4. Adele--If by regular pan you mean a 9" or 10" cake pan, I would say no. This is such a thick batter that it requires a pan with a "hole." In a regular cake pan, the center would take forever to cook, and would probably collapse during the cooling process. You could use a regular tube pan or an angel food cake pan with success.