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1940’s Apple Cake

Makes 2 10″ bundt pans or 1 deep 10″ pan


  • 1 pound whole local (organic, if possible) baking apples, peeled, cored, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces. (We use a mixture of Empire, Cortland, Mutsu, Jonagold, Golden Delicious, McIntosh).
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg

Sift the following ingredients well together:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached low-protein flour (cake or pastry), or plain all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup milk, room temp


Preheat oven to 350º F.

  1. Melt the 2 tablespoons unsalted butter in a pan. Add chopped pecans and mix well. Set aside to cool.
  2. Mix in small bowl with whisk the 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Butter and flour pans very well.
  4. Cream the remaining sugar, unsalted butter, kosher salt, mace and ground cinnamon well in a mixer with a paddle for 8 minutes.
  5. Add the egg to make homogenous.
  6. Add the flour mixture in 3 stages, alternating with the 1/2 cup milk.
  7. Fold in apples.
  8. Transfer cake mix to bundt pans or cake pan.
  9. Drizzle cake(s) with pecan/butter and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  10. Bake about 40 minutes at 350F in the middle of the oven, being careful not to jostle the pan (it is a little fragile). Test for doneness with a toothpick.

Essell Hoenshell-Watson, of The Alternative Baker, makes this popular, very apple-y cake with a nice crunchy topping—great warm from the oven of served with ice cream and a good cheddar. It makes a great addition to a Thanksgiving menu.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!