Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

I was chatting with a friend, and somehow we got on the topic of her brother’s birthday cake. Their family had an old-fashioned apple cake recipe that had been passed down for generations.

It was their favorite cake recipe, and they all loved it.

As my friend was telling me this story, I knew I had to try it!

Luckily my friend’s Mom Katie was sweet enough to send me a copy of the original recipe card!!

image of a slice of old-fashioned apple cake

The Start of a New Series: Family Recipe Cards

I can’t tell you how big of a smile I had on my face when I was looking at that photo of the original recipe card.

You can tell it’s been around for years, and been put to good use. Something about that makes me feel so nostalgic.

image of original apple cake recipe from the eubank family

I didn’t grow up baking or cooking with my parents or grandparents, so I don’t have a box full of family recipes.

Something about trying a recipe that has a story behind it makes it feel so much more meaningful.

 It also helps you try new things you never would have.

If you told me to make a cake batter that’s half apples (see below!), I would have said you were crazy. Yet here we are 🙂

image of odld fashioned apple cake batter, which is half apples in volume!

Origin of this Apple Cake Recipe

When I said this recipe has been passed down through generations, I’m not kidding.

This recipe is from Grandma Eubanks, from way back in the 1920s!!

This recipe is from the great depression, which might explain why it’s so unique.

It’s also why I’m dubbing this cake an old-fashioned apple cake!

Katie’s Favorite Story About This Cake

Katie also shared her favorite memory of this cake recipe. Katie has 5 kids, and this cake never lasts long in their house.

One time she made the cake, and left a fork in it because everyone loves sneaking a bite of it.

That particular night, about half the family woke up and had it as their midnight snack.

When she woke up the next day, half of the cake was eaten!

A Recipe Without Instructions

One thing that made this recipe a bit of an experiment was that the recipe card didn’t have any instructions.

It was just that list of ingredients, and the bake time and temp.

I wasn’t quite sure what size to cut the apples, or if I should shred them.

These were the questions I should have thought of before I was in the middle of making the batter!!

I didn’t want to bother my friend or her Mom after they’d already gone out of their way to send the recipe.

I just made some educated guesses, and surprisingly things worked out quite well.

I also wasn’t sure what size of cake layer to make, or how many.

image of frosted old school apple layer cake, frosted with cream cheese frosting

Making an Educated Guess

Once the batter was made, I thought it was just enough to make 3, 6-inch cake layers.

The cake layers ended up rising more than I thought they would though!

Next time I try this recipe, I think I’ll try 3 7-inch cake layers.

I also think I might try it with my cream cheese frosting, so that I can have more fun with the decoration of the cake 🙂

What Makes This Recipe Unique

Like I mentioned above, this recipe is about half apples in volume.

Luckily I have a handy dandy little apple peeling machine that made the process a lot easier.

When I was making the batter, I was convinced I had done something wrong. The batter was so thick, I felt like the layers would never bake through.

But I knew the recipe worked. I pushed aside my doubt and baked the layers.

Once they were out of the oven, I couldn’t wait to taste them! I leveled the top of one layer and give it a try.

My First Bite

To be honest, I was scared to take that first bite. I also wasn’t even sure it was fully baked!!

But I was blown away. The cake was insanely good!!

The apples inside the cake added a ton of moisture, which contrasted wonderfully with the crunch walnuts.

image of old fashioned apple cake slice, bitten into to show how moist the layers are

The cake itself was packed with warm cinnamon, and caramelized on the edges.

I quickly leveled the remaining cake layers, solely to enjoy a few more bites before assembling the cake.

It reminded me of a cross between an apple crisp and a spice cake.

This cake almost felt like a breakfast cake, because of all the apples!

It looks pretty odd, but trust me and the Eubank family on this one. This recipe is a real keeper.

My Tips for Making the Best Old-Fashioned Apple Cake:

  • Note from the family: you can add an additional egg if you want! They sometimes do to make the texture a bit lighter
  • Be sure to peel and cut your apples into uniformly sized pieces, so they bake evenly in the oven. Aim for 1cm cubes.
  • Use tart apples like a granny smith or honeycrisps, that bakes well
  • Make this cake in advance! The recipe card says it’s best the 2nd day 🙂
  • I added a touch of salt to this recipe (based on my preference), but the original recipe doesn’t call for any
image of sliced into old school apple cake, frosted with cream frosting

Share Your Favorite Family Recipe

Do you have a tried and true family recipe?!

If you do and feel like sharing it with me, please email me at [email protected] with the following information (if possible):

  • Picture of the original recipe card & instructions
  • Story behind the recipe (who/where it’s from, when it was created)
  • Why you love this recipe
  • Any advice you have about the recipe

Let Me Know What You Think!

If you try this old-fashioned apple cake recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a comment below, and let me know how you liked it.

Yield: 16

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

image of eubank family apple cake slice

This old-fashioned apple cake is made with loads of fresh apples, crunchy walnuts, and frosted with a cream cheese frosting! It’s a tried and true family recipe that you’re sure to love!!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

Apple Cake Recipe

  • 2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (224 grams)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature (168 grams)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams)
  • 1 tsp baking soda (6 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (2 grams)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (8 grams)
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (125 grams)
  • 4-5 apples, peeled and cut into 1 cm cubes (585 grams)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature (84 grams)
  • 1/2 cup butter or 1 stick, at room temperature (113 grams)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (4 grams)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar (250 grams)

Instructions

Apple Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F, and line and grease 3 6-inch or 7-inch cake pans.
  2. Add the granulated sugar and vegetable into a large bowl, and whisk together until fully incorporated.
  3. Whisk in the eggs.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.
  5. Add half of this flour mixture and the walnuts into the wet ingredients, and mix together with a rubber spatula.
  6. Fold in the remaining half of the flour mixture, and stir until just combined.
  7. Fold in the cubed apples with a rubber spatula.
  8. Pour into the prepared cake pans, and bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  9. Place pans on a wire rack to cool.


Cream Cheese Frosting:

  1. Beat together the room temperature cream cheese and butter with a hand mixer or whisk attachment of a stand mixer.
  2. Add in the vanilla extract, and mix on a low speed.
  3. Add in the powdered sugar in two installments, and mixon a low speed until combined.


Assembling This Old Fashioned Apple Cake

  1. Once the cake layers are fully cooled, stack and assemble them using the cream cheese frosting.
  2. Cover the outside of the cake with the remaining cream cheese frosting.
  3. If desired, use a spoon to make some swooshes around the cake.

Notes

Note from the family: you can add an additional egg if you want! They sometimes do to make the texture a bit lighter

Be sure to peel and cut your apples into uniformly sized pieces, so they bake evenly in the oven. Aim for 1cm cubes.

Use tart apples like a granny smith or honeycrisps, that bakes well

Make this cake in advance! The recipe card says it’s best the 2nd day 🙂

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 491Total Fat 27gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 56mgSodium 229mgCarbohydrates 60gFiber 2gSugar 45gProtein 4g

32 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

    1. Hi Josipa,

      I haven’t tried either of those variations, but I think that the cake would still turn out just fine without the nuts <3

  1. I was so excited to see this recipe, I had some apples I needed to use up so it was perfect timing. Mine are in the oven right now ? as I was going through the recipe I noticed a couple things- the grams for a cup of oil is accidentally doubled and in the instructions you forgot to say when to add the apples. You were right, once you add them the batter is basically all apple! Thanks for all your great recipes ??

    1. That’s awesome! And you are so right! I’ve updated the recipe card to reflect that, thank you for sharing / letting me know <3

      I hope your layers turn out great!!

    1. Hi Christin,

      Oh my goodness!! I am so sorry about that, I just updated the recipe to reflect that you cut and peel the apples into 1 cm cubes, and then you fold them into the batter at the end. Thank you so much for flagging that to me 🙂

  2. I can’t see any measurement for the amount of nuts. Am I missing it somewhere? Also, should they be toasted before adding to batter?

  3. I love your page and watching you frost cakes! I just saw this Apple Cake recipe and thought it might work out good for my daughters wedding in the fall. My maiden name is Eubank and I was wondering what Grandma Eubank’s first name was and where you are from? Probably a stretch that we are related but who knows?

    1. Hi Angie,

      This is actually my friend Mary’s family recipe! Her mom sent it to me to try. Sadly I don’t know what Grandma Eubank’s first name was. I”m so sorry!!

      It’s a very unique recipe, so I definitely suggest doing a test run before your daughter’s wedding 🙂 Happy baking!

  4. Do you think this is a smash cake friendly recipe? (Maybe without the nuts?) it looks delicious and i like that its mostly apples! Love your work and art and YOU! My daughter and I like to bake a lot together thanks to you! Sending love from AZ! ??

    1. Hi Iveth,

      I think this would make a great smash cake! It’s pretty small, and literally half apples!! 🙂 And yes, probably a good idea to omit the nuts for that type of cake!

      I’m so happy to hear that, and thank you!! <3

  5. I can not eat nuts so we shall see how it turns out I am doing lots of baking because of the Coronavirus Pandemic myself and my daughter live in and around Branson Mo.so l am alone most of the time.

    1. Hi CarolAnn,

      I think it should still taste great without nuts, but they do add a nice crunch! Hope you and your daughter are keeping safe, happy baking!

    1. Hi Kayla,

      I totally do! It ages super well (the flavors develop and it tastes even better overtime), so I think freezing it would work great! Just be sure to move it to the fridge a day before you plan to bring it to room temp to eat it. This will help minimize the temperature shock / condensation.

  6. I was excited to see the recipe and it said print. But when I clicked to print it all it did was go back to the top of the page. So I had to write it all down by hand.

    1. So sorry to hear that Terry! What browser were you using? My print recipe button usually works great for people, hopefully we’ll be able to figure out why it’s not working for you <3

  7. Hi Chelsea,

    I suspect that there’s a typo in the amounts for the frosting. It says 1/2 cup of butter (56 grams), but 56 grams of butter isn’t much. I googled around and I think that it should probably be twice that (112 gm.) Can you please check the amount? I use metric cups (useless for a recipe from the USA) and it’s great that your recipes provide standard metric equivalents, thank you so much.

    Regards,

    Peter.

    1. Hi Peter,

      You are totally right!! Thank you for letting me know, I just updated the recipe card! It should be 1/2 cup or 113 grams of butter. Sorry for the confusion!

  8. Hi! The cake looks delicious, but I was wondering if peeling the apples is absolutely necessary. Would un peeled apples affect how the cake bakes?

    1. Hi Daksha,

      I’ve never tried this recipe with unpeeled apples so sadly I’m not sure! I’d think the texture and taste would be a bit different, but I bet it would still be tasty! If you try this recipe that way, please let me know how it goes! <3

  9. Hi Chelsea,

    Could I make a 13×9 cake with this recipe? Do you think it would be good with just a bit of powdered sugar on top, or a dollop of whipped cream, instead of the frosting? I’d want to make the changes to try and replicate a cake my mom used to make, without her recipe. Thanks so much for sharing all of your wonderful creations.

    Kristine

    1. Hi Kristine,

      You sure can! For large cake layers, I suggest adding a couple heating cores to the center (these are the ones I use: https://amzn.to/2NQ0lVZ), to help the layers bake more evenly and quickly! It might take a few minutes longer to bake, but i think it would be amazing with a powdered sugar dusting or some whipped cream. Hope it turns out great / just like your Mom’s!!

  10. Hi Chelsea,

    I made the cake and it turned out delicious. I used dark brown sugar (1 for 1 replacement for the regular sugar) and cooked it in two ~7 inch tins. I didn’t get the amounts in the two tins exactly the same so one took a few minutes than the other to cook, but the result was magnificent.
    Thanks again.

  11. Thanks for your prompt reply! I did try it out with un peeled apples and it turned out really well! Thank you! 🙂

Let me know what you think!