My Nana's Apple Cake

This past Saturday morning, hubby and I hosted a little get together for some of our friends from church, so, naturally, I baked. This is a recipe I remember making with my mother when I was quite small using a much-loved and much-stained index card listing the ingredients and the briefest of brief instructions. It had been handed down to my mom from her mom before her, who, quite possibly, had got it from her own mother. I'm not quite sure why, but it went by the very un-PC term, 'Jewish Apple Cake'. Go figure.

Anyway, it's a really delicious, exceptionally moist cake, perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon tea and coffee breaks (and pretty much any time in between!) So good is it, that when I was working for the fantastic Itsabagel cafes in Dublin as a starving postgraduate student, we sold chunks of the cake as 'Tina's Granny's Apple Cake'. It was a rip-roaring success, and, in fact, might still be today! 

In my childhood, this cake made regular feature appearances at the holidays, both as dessert and as a gift for neighbours and friends. If you can find a bundt cake pan (TK Maxx is a good place to look!), the cake looks amazing when turned out, though, I must admit, it can be a tiny bit tricky getting out. Just be sure to grease and flour the tin well, and don't be tempted to put the cake in the oven before it's preheated fully. The trick, I think, is to maintain an even heat throughout the baking time, then let the cake cool for half an hour or so before attempting to turn it out. Alternatively, you can use a large, round springform cake tin, which will make things a little less panic-inducing, or even just bung it all into a large square/rectangular tin and serve straight from that. 

Sadly, my photos of the cake don't do it justice, but I promise you won't be disappointed if you give this recipe a try!

Clockwise l to r: the cake right out of the oven; a cross section of the cake; all that was left after my friends visited.

Nana's Apple Cake

Edited 30/8/12: I've added in the weights in grams that we used to use when making this cake at Itsabagel. It's not really necessary to weigh the baking powder and salt, or precisely measure out the vanilla, in this recipe, so a teaspoon from your drawer will work just fine if you don't have a measuring teaspoon and don't feel like weighing/measuring things out. If you find the batter a bit too thick, don't be afraid to add in another drop or two of oil and/or orange juice.

For the cake batter:
3 cups/450 g plain flour, sifted
3 tsp/15 g baking powder
1 tsp/5 g salt
2 cups/450 g sugar
1/4 cup/60 ml oz orange juice
1 cup/250 ml oz vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 1/2 tsp/12 ml vanilla extract

For the apple filling:
3 large baking apples (or 4-5 smaller eating apples), peeled and sliced.
3 tsp/15 g cinnamon
5 tbls/45-50 g sugar
1 cup/122 g chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and flour your pan well. For the apple filling: mix together apples, cinnamon and sugar. In a separate bowl, mix all the ingredients for the cake batter well. Pour half of the cake batter into the bottom of the tin, followed by the apples and chopped walnuts, and then another layer of the cake batter. 

Step 1: half the batter. Step 2: add the apples and walnuts. Step 3: the 2nd half of the batter.

(I like to try to make sure none of the apple slices are touching the edges or middle of the tin and that the batter gets spread evenly over the bottom and top. It might be in my head, but this seems to help with turning the cake out after it's baked, as there's not as much sticky apple juice adhering to the tin.) Bake for approximately 1 1/4 hours, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and turn out (or not, as the case may be.) Enjoy!



  1. Apples and cinnamon get my vote every time. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Thank you so much for the recipe, please could you add the translation of how much a cup of something weighs :-)
    I love apples and cinnamon, we have no apples on our tree this year after a bumper crop last year.

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  4. Thanks for the recipe. Our apple trees are full of apples just about to fall. We eat apples to Christmas and I am always looking at ways to use them. This recipe will definitely be used in my household! Di x

  5. Sounds delicious Tina - must keep a note of this one.

  6. PS - you should add your recipe links to your recipes page so that numptys like me can find them 3 months later!

  7. I'm totally making this at the weekend!!


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