Appalachian Fresh Apple Cake 

by Sheri Castle in The New Southern Garden Cookbook

Makes 12 servings


The Cake

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, preferably unbleached
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, preferably grapeseed oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 5 cups peeled, cored, and diced baking apples (I mix varieties)
  • 1 1/2 cups walnut pieces

The Glaze

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. For the cake: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Mist the inside of a 9-by-13-inch light color and lightweight metal baking pan.
  2. Sift or thoroughly whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt in a medium-size bowl.
  3. Beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil in a large bowl with a mixer set to high speed until the sugar no longer looks grainy and the mixture is smooth, about 4 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Add the flour mixture in thirds, beating on low speed only until it disappears into the batter. Quickly beat in the vanilla. Scrape the bowl with a spatula to make sure all of the flour mixture is incorporated. The batter will be thick.
  6. Use the spatula to fold the apples and walnuts into the batter. Transfer into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake in the center of the oven until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool to room temperature in the pan on a wire rack.
  8. For the glaze: Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Stir until smooth and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, bring to a boil, and cook until the glaze thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  9. Use a chopstick or skewer to poke holes about 2 inches apart all over the cake.
  10. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, letting it seep down into the holes. Let sit until the glaze sets up a bit, at least 10 minutes, before cutting.
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