How I wish “applest” was a word. There really is no better way to describe this apple cake.
After considering several titles, some of which are bordering on outrageous, like “The Applest Apple Cake”, “Ridiculously Appley Apple Cake”, “Appleooza Cake”, and the humble “Sweet & Sour Apple Bundt Cake”, I’ve decided to name it Deeply Appley Apple Cake. And if you’ve ever tried Deeply Appley Apple Crumble from Nigel Slater’s “Ripe“, you’d know why.
If you haven’t, allow me to clarify. Question: How many pounds of apples can you fit into a 9-inch Bundt cake, which weighs around 2.5 pounds straight from the oven? 1? 2?
Well, I’m proud to report that I’ve managed to fit 4.4 pounds of apples into this cake. And more importantly, I’ve managed to do that without sacrificing on texture – this is by far the lightest cake that has come out of my oven. Before I get into the how, let me take care of the why.
is was this apple cake recipe in my archives. It looked fine and as far as I can remember, it tasted fine. I wouldn’t have published it otherwise. But time and time again, readers who tried the recipe commented that they were not happy with the result. Most of the issues were minor, but one was something I just couldn’t let go: The cake tasted nothing like apples. It had been quite a while since I had last posted a recipe, so as soon as I received that comment, I decided to push my book project aside for a while and set out to create an apple cake with the deepest apple flavor known to man.
The old recipe had a pound of cream cheese in the batter. A pound! I honestly don’t know how that much cream cheese made its way into that batter. I wasn’t going to let that happen this time and thought it would work infinitely better as a silky cream cheese frosting on top.
I macerated the shredded apples in sugar and spices, drained their juices, cooked the sweet apple juice until thick, let it cool and whipped it together with a pound of cream cheese. The result was fantastic. Silky-smooth cream cheese frosting with notes of cinnamon and allspice.
I didn’t want to spend too much time developing a cake recipe from scratch, so I decided to adapt one of the cake recipes from the book. I played around with the ingredients, managed to incorporate about a pound of drained, shredded apples into the cake, baked it, frosted it, took a photo and finally had a taste.
It was OK, but you certainly didn’t feel like you were taking a stroll in an apple orchard with each bite. Not good enough to make up for the apple cake that tasted nothing like apples. All that work for nothing.
After another unsuccessful attempt, which isn’t even worth mentioning, I gave up. It was taking much longer than I had anticipated and I had so many other pressing projects. A few days later, while I was editing a recipe for my book, I realized that the technique I’ve used to concentrate the flavor of another fruit in that recipe would work miracles for this apple cake as well.
And it did. Here’s how: I started with 4.4 pounds of tart, tangy and firm red apples.
I peeled, quartered, cored, cut them into big chunks and baked them for an hour.
Then I pureed the baked apples, transferred it on a half sheet pan and baked it in the oven until it was reduced to a very thick puree.
4.4 pounds of apples became a pound (about a cup and a half) of tart apple puree.
One thing to keep an eye on is the consistency of the reduced puree. The baking time will depend on the juiciness of the apples. I’ve used a variety called Arap kızı (Arabian girl), which is a tart, tangy and firm red apple. I’ve checked to see if a similar kind is available in other parts of the world and the closest one I’ve found is Winesap. After almost an hour in the oven, the apple puree will become quite thick but it should still be soft enough to dissolve in the cake batter. If it’s too thick, you may add a couple of tablespoons of water and puree with a blender to thin it.
A friend who tasted it said: “I’ve never eaten anything like this before; it’s like biting into an apple!” Mission accomplished.
DEEPLY APPLEY APPLE CAKE RECIPE
For the apple puree:
- 4.4 pounds (2 kg) apples, preferably tart, tangy & firm, such as Winesap
For the cake:
- 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon (2 g) fine sea salt
- 1+3/4 sticks (200 g) butter, at room temperature
- 1,5 cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1 g) ground allspice
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1,5 cups (390 g) apple puree (recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) powdered sugar
- Preheat your oven to 350 F (180 C).
- To prepare the apple puree, peel, quarter, core and cut the apples into large chunks, place on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake for an hour, stirring once after 30 minutes. Remove tray from oven. Drop oven temperature to 300 F/150 C.
- Transfer baked apples into a mixing bowl and puree with a hand-held immersion blender until smooth. Transfer apple puree on a half sheet pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake, stirring and smoothing every 15 minutes to prevent a crust to form on top, for 50-60 minutes, making sure it doesn’t dry out completely. The puree will thicken but it should still be soft enough to dissolve in the cake batter. If it’s too thick, you may add a couple of tablespoons of water and puree with a blender to thin it.
- Remove tray from oven, transfer apple puree into a bowl and let cool. Increase oven temperature to 350F/180C. You’ll have a bit over 1,5 cups (400-450 grams) of apple puree. Some of the puree will stick to the pan; fill it with hot water and let stand for a while for easy clean-up.
- To prepare the cake, butter and flour a 10-cup (9-inch) Bundt pan and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Add sugar, cinnamon and allspice and beat on medium speed for 3 more minutes, scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add 1,5 cups (390 g) of the apple puree and beat until fully incorporated, for about a minute.
- Stop the mixer, sift the flour mixture on top and beat on the lowest speed just until incorporated. Transfer batter into prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 45-50 minutes.
- Let it cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar before serving. Wrapped airtight, the cake will keep at room temperature up to 3 days.
I’m very happy to see a new post. This looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try it out. Your method of baking the apples this way to concentrate the flavor is a really novel idea. I love it! I hope you are well and I hope to see more posts soon.
Hmmm! I love this. I’m thinking Pink Lady apples might, maybe, be similar to the ones you used, as I’ve never seen those here in the US. Thanks for the recipe. It will definitely be my next apple cake!
Ben bunu pişiremem ki, şu elma püresine direkt dalarım o ne güzellik öyle.
I love love love reading your posts 🙂 Can’t wait to try it this weekend.
Wow, I have never tried an apple cake before. Sounds terriffic!
I enjoy your website and am looking forward to you finally completing your cookbook.
I don’t know the Turkish for apple y but if you leave the “e” off you get the English word apply as when one goes looking for a job and submits an application they are said to have applied for the job. I suggest you spell it appley or apple-y. Your intent is obvious from the content of the blog so it is not a serious error but easy to overlook when you are thinking about apples.
I just saw this on pinterest and came to take a closer look. What a sweet post!
Peter Gordon – Am I missing something? There was one typo in the recipe section, but the rest of them are already spelled “appley”.
I think you should petition Merriam-Webster to make “applest” a word.
I make this for my hate cake husband – it ends up like a soft apple paste (butter) with a hint of the many layers but only apples, sugar and water. I have added lemon zest at times and vanilla seeds, but it doesn’t need it with long cooking. You can’t scrimp on the height though as it shrinks in height.
If you don’t know this recipe, I thought it might interest you.
Forget the cake! although I will be trying it. I LOVE your cooling rack. It is so beautiful. And I agree- petitioning to make applest a word is a good goal.
That sounds fantastic cenk! I cant wait to get my hands dirty whipping this up! However wont get either of those 2 apples u mentioned ! Do you think a pink lady or a granny smith would be a good enough sub? =/ Also what if i wanted to bake this as a layer cake. Would an 8 inch round suffice? or 2 maybe?
redpink – I haven’t tried baking this as a layer cake, but I guess it should be fine. The Bundt pan I have holds 10 cups, so choose a pan accordingly. I’d divide the batter into two 8-inch round pans. I think Granny Smith would be a better choice.
hi cenk! i love your website!
Quick question….did you develop this recipe by weight or by volume? I would like to use my scale to do it by weight, but I see that you made 2 cups flour = 280 g. I always thought 1 cup flour = 120 g..?
megan – Thank you! I develop every recipe by weight. When I dip and sweep, 1 cup of flour weighs 140 grams. Hope you like the cake.
Great; I used the scale anyway, so I used 280 g. I made the cake for a birthday, and they all liked it! I overbaked it a bit, so it was not as moist as I would have liked. BUT, still good! Served w/ cream cheese meringue buttercream. Thanks! I look forward to your next recipes!
megan – Great to hear you liked it!
I love how you come up with such new ideas for cooking techniques! The cake sounds delicious. I’m adding it to my huge backlog of ‘must make this some day’ recipes! 😉
Cenk, I really like your homepage and I tried several of your recipes. They were all great. I appreciate your effort and your precise instructions a lot.
I made the apple cake the other day and it is the first recipe from your blog which I did not like that much. The cake was okay – not really good, but also not really bad. Overall, it was somewhat too time and energy consuming for the outcome. The cake was a little bit too sweet for my taste and the apple flavor was not as strong as I hoped it would be (I used apples from our own trees, no idea which kind they were). However, my 4-year old loved it although she normally is not a big cake eater. Thanks for the recipe.
Gerti – I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t turn out the way you like. I wish you had tasted the apples before making the puree. The sugar in the recipe is needed to introduce air into the batter. And to balance that, you need a tart apple. The fact that your cake didn’t have a strong apple flavor (despite 4.4 pounds of apples) also made me think that they weren’t ideal for baking. I hate to limit readers by calling for specific ingredients, but the success of this cake really depends on the variety of the apple. You don’t have to find the exact same apple variety, but (if you plan to make it again) I’d recommend using a tart and firm apple.
I am a long time reader of your blog. Love reading the level of detail you go to with your recipes and the spin in things that you have. This sounds like such an amazing way to distil a flavour, think I will be trying it out with lots of other flavours including apple. For my other half sadly, he is a traditionalist and loves his cake to have chunks of apple to it rather than having it a dense texture, but it sounds too amazing not to try!!
I made this cake with applesauce instead of using fresh apples. I ended up baking the sauce for two hours in the oven to get the puree to look like yours does in the photo. Anyway, the taste is fabulous thank you for sharing this with us!
Arthur in the Garden!
OH! This looks wonderful! There are plenty of apples down at the Farmer’s Market. I will have to try this!
Cenk, thanks for your reply. You might be right, the variety of the apple might be the key. The one I used where more on the sweet side. I just hate buying apples when there are still sitting some in my cellar. I will give it another try next fall – one of my ten apple trees should produce an apple tangy enough for the recipe. I BTW just like the puree itself, it goes great with “Kaiserschmarrn” (a Bavarian-Austrian dessert).
I just made this for a birthday cake with swiss meringue maple buttercream. it is to die for… can’t wait for the party tomorrow so we can eat it!
That looks so wonderful, I’m going to try and make it with my Mother.
A dream cake. It is very good because I replaced AP flour by whole spelt flour and white sugar by brown sugar. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. it smells like autumn like hell ! Damn, it is absolutely divine ! Also I topped the cake with some chopped apples. Delicious….Thank you !!
Making this cake right now and will add updates as I go along!
3:48pm: Already peeled, chopped and cored the apples (for my Canadian folks, I did not find the exact variety of apple in the recipe, so I opted for Granny Smith + a few Cortland apples). Also reduced the sugar in the recipe by 1/2 a cup because of my.choice in apples.
5:48pm: after pureeing and baking the apples, the puree is still in the oven haha! It’s taking much longer than the additional “50-60min” for it to turn the same colour in the pictures… More like 2 hours so far?
6:00pm ok, so the colour definitely isn’t as deep in the photos but I didn’t want to risk cooking it for any longer. It’s more like a light, golden brown colour as opposed to the beautiful, reddish-pumpkin colour in the pictures.
6:22pm After mixing all the ingredients, I found that the batter was somewhat dry considering that there are no added liquids here besides the eggs and puree. Was forced to add a tiny bit of water to the batter, however, was still very, very thick. Not sure if that’s how it’s meant to be? I couldn’t find any description in the recipe for the batter’s consistency.
7:41pm unfortunately, the cake was under-baked despite leaving it for a full hour 🙁 not sure why! On the bright side, I could still taste the “appley” flavour — just the texture was off. I hope the someone can help me with this!
Sorry that it didn’t turn out the way you wanted. The consistency of the batter is on the thick side, but not unusual enough to mention in the recipe. I believe you’ve reduced the puree too much. Two hours is a very long time. The color of the finished puree may differ from one apple variety to another. The texture of the finished puree (should still be soft enough to dissolve in the cake batter) is more important. Did you use a cake tester to check if the cake was done? That is the most accurate way of telling. Again, sorry that it didn’t turn out OK. Hope you have a better result next time.