Chock full of chunky chopped apples and buttery walnuts with just a hint of cinnamon and the right amount of sweetness, this Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake recipe is melt-in-your-mouth tender with a perfect, crackly crust on top.
Old Fashioned Apple Cake isn’t just any cake. It’s a wonderfully irresistible, moist and tender combination of pound cake meets quick bread meets coffee cake. Lightly sweet, with big pieces of apple and walnuts, you’ll want to serve it at brunch, with afternoon coffee, for dessert, even the holidays, much like you would Hummingbird Bread, Sweet Potato Pound Cake or Old Fashioned Blackberry Jam Cake.
RELATED RECIPE: Cinnamon Apple Quick Bread
It was my mamaw who made apple cakes in our family. And just like it is with everyone, food is my memory. Stretching back through time, it tastes like home and family. And the foods we value most… well, they tell the stories dearest to our hearts. So, it’s no wonder when the morning air gets crisp now, I find myself baking my Mamaw’s Fresh Apple Cakes.
RELATED RECIPE: Mamaw’s Famous German Chocolate Cake & Frosting
This is one of those old recipes she found on a Wesson Cooking Oil label and kept as a snipping stuck in the pages of one of her recipe books. That snipping would wave at us from in between those pages all year long. Making us talk about it, “Do you remember when we had that apple cake…?” Prompting us to ask about it, “When are you going to make another one of those apple cakes?”
We all knew when the apples got ripe on the trees, she would get to baking and not a minute sooner. But it didn’t keep us from watching for the day she would slip that snipping from between its pages and start chopping apples.
I received my very own Xerox copy (yes, xerox) of this recipe when I moved away from home. With its overly dark black print, grainy and smudged body, it too is a snipping, clipped from the rest of the blank page that it was copied on. It’s kept safe between the pages of those same cookbooks that used to sit on her counter, but now sit on mine. And it’s removal still heralds the glories of fall and all the memories that can be crammed into one well-greased Bundt pan.
Fresh Apple Cake Ingredients
- vegetable oil
- baking soda
- ground cinnamon
- apples (Honeycrisp, Gala or a combination)
- wax paper
- Bundt or tube pan
How To Make Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake
Apple Cake is easy to make and comes together a lot like banana bread does. Wet ingredient + Dry Ingredients, then bake!
Combine Wet Ingredients. Using a mixer combine the first 4 ingredients. But don’t worry, the apples will add plenty of moisture when they are folded in later.
Combine the dry ingredients. Sift together the soda, salt, cinnamon and flour. Slowly mix in the sifted ingredients to the wet ingredients. The batter comes together more like a dough- stiff and dry in this step- than a regular cake batter. Mix on low about 200 strokes.
Add fruit & nuts. I don’t peel my apples for this recipe, and the more chunky the chop, the better in my opinion. I also am “generous” when I measure my 3 cups of apples. The more the better!
Fold in coarsely chopped apples and nuts. The apples should almost immediately start adding moisture to the dough, relaxing it and making it more “wet.” However, the batter will still be thick and chunky.
Bake. Turn batter into a wax paper lined bundt or tube pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.
Other Cake & Bread Recipes You’ll Love
- Blueberry Lemon Pound Cake with Lemon Glaze
- Old Fashioned Buttermilk Blackberry Jam Cake
- Sweet Potato Pound Cake with Cinnamon Simple Syrup Soak
- Hummingbird Banana Bread with Toasted Coconut
- Lemon Supreme Monkey Bread
Want to share this cake with a friend? Instead of a bundt pan, bake this recipe at the same temp for the same amount of time in 2 well-greased loaf pans. One to keep and one to share!
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW!
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Fresh Apple Cake
- 3/4 cups Wesson oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 3 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup walnuts coarsely chopped
- 3 generous cups apples coarsely chopped, fresh/unpeeled and uncooked
- Bundt or tube pan & wax paper
- Preheat the oven to 350 ° Fahrenheit.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the first 4 ingredients. Stir by hand until smooth.
- Sift together the soda, salt, and flour. Add the sifted mixture to the wet ingredients. The batter comes together more like a dough- stiff and dry in this step- than a regular cake batter. Beat by hand 200 strokes.
- Fold in the nuts and apples. The apples should almost immediately start adding moisture to the dough, relaxing it and making it more "wet." However, the batter will still be thick and chunky.
- Cut strips of wax paper and line the bottom of the tube pan.
- Turn the cake batter into the tube pan.
- Bake for one hour. Let cool on a wire rack. Use the wax paper to help lift the cake from the pan.
First Published September 2016; Updated October 2021
Sharing this with my married daughter!
I’ve got some apples I need to use in a recipe and this sounds perfect!! Mmmmm!!!!!!
And I love your storytelling – using old family recipes is one of my favorite things! ?
Just curious — why the wax paper ?
This cake is very dense and moist since the fruit goes into the batter uncooked. The wax paper helps to remove the cake from the pan cleanly and easily. You should be able to lift the cake right out with the edges of the paper!
Bring on apple season! Thank you so much for sharing your family’s treasured Apple Cake recipe with all of us at Weekend Potluck, Stacey. We hope to see you again tomorrow! Have a great weekend.
I am ready for apple season too! Just tickled that you visited, Mary! Thank you so much. It was my pleasure to share!
My late sister in law gave me this recipe probably 40-50 years ago, after I raved over her cake! I’ve made it many times! Thanks for bringing a precious memory to mind!
Hi, Frances! You are so welcome! Food is attached to some of our most wonderful family memories. They are my favorite!!
It’s in my oven as I send this message I put in 9×13 pan with parchment paper Can’t wait my family has been bugging me all week for apple coffee cake. I have a few favorite recipes but I seen this one and wanted to try a new recipe. Thanks for sharing. D
Hi, Delma! That is so awesome! I know your house smelled awesome today, and I know everyone just loved the cake. It’s apple time, for sure! Thank you for making this recipe.
Yum Yum Yum Delicious…..
Mine was thick but I wasn’t worried I read all of your story. Crunchy on top I will definitely make again. I only had two apples it worked great. Thank you for a wonderful story and recipe….
Hi, Jerri! Thank you for reading the whole post! Sometimes it’s our connections to food that make them the most important and worth sharing (not to mention the helpful tips one might find)! You certainly made my day and then some!
Sounds yummylicious! Think I will add a little cinnamon and see how it turns out! Thank you so much for sharing!
I am a huge cinnamon fan! I am sure it will be great!
Hi, Stacy. I’m going to try your cake today for a “healthy” birthday cake celebration and was wondering if I could use a combination of white AND brown sugar. Would that add to the flavor or do something crazy to the baking chemistry ??
Hi, Carol! If you would like to use a combo of brown and white sugars, you can. It doesn’t affect the flavor or the baking chemistry. The cake should bake up with a nice crust on the outside. The white sugar is good for creating that. I know it will be a hit at your party!
Do you know if it’s possible to make this in a pan other than a Bundt? Thanks!
I have never made it in another pan. I am sure it would affect baking time and temp, so trial and error would be the name of the game. But it’s worth a try!
I’m trying to make cupcakes…. Not sure it will work but it’s worth a try. We are having a gender reveal party and this is my kids favorite cake. So I’ll let you know if it works.
Just came across this recipe, it sounds delicious! What kind of apples do you use? Thanks!
I have used Red Delicious and Honey Crisp in the past.
I am going to make this beautiful this week!! I love cranberries and was wondering if I could add some to this recipe? And if so, how much? Thank you!!!!
Oooo! Cranberries sound delish! I think they would make a great addition. Maybe try a 1/2 a cup?
Just put this in the oven but my better was more like dough. I measured correctly? Anyone else have that problem?
Hi, Luisa! It’s not a problem! The post states that the batter is very heavy and thick. If yours is that way, you’re on the right track. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be!
Made this cake tonight – easy and delicious! I will definitely make again. I’ve already written it in my cookbook under tried and true recipes.
Hi, Juliana! I am just tickled that you loved this recipe as much as we do. It’s hard to beat a classic! Thank you so much!
This apple cake was delicious! Mine took about 70 minutes to cook. After an hour, put toothpicks in and it was just too mooshy for my liking. I added turbinado sugar on top before placing in the oven and the sugar made it extra crispy!! So so good!!
Hi, Maureen! I am just tickled that you loved this cake. It is such a special one. And kudos for testing and making adjustments! I can tell you are a seasoned baker!
1. I added 1 tsp of cinnamon
2. I used Bakers Joy to prepare my pan and omitted the wax paper.
The cake is de-lish!
Hi, Valerie! I am so glad you loved this cake (and my mamaw would be too)! There is nothing better than cinnamon and apples, so I like adding a little too!
Can this be made in multiple loaf pans? I’ve been looking for something different to give as gifts snd this looks wonderful,
Hi, Emily! You sure can! This cake makes a great gift. See the little section under “Other Cake & Bread Recipes You’ll Love” for the instructions.
Can I substitute parchment paper for wax Paper?
Hi, Cathy! Parchment paper will burn being in the oven for such a long time. If you don’t have wax paper, or prefer not to use it, you can just generously grease the pan as you would for any other cake. This cake is heavy, so a tube pan or 2 loaf pans work best if not using the wax paper. Also, not using wax paper requires that you “turn out” the cake onto a cake plate instead of lifting the cake out of the cake pan, putting the crackly crust on the bottom.
Just finished writing down
the recipe. Can’t wait to try it!
I love all the ingredients, so I
know I’ll love it! It must be
such a thrill to know that so
many people are enjoying
your Mamaw’s cake! Thank you forbeing gracious enough
Hi, Linda! You are so very welcome! Mamaw would be incredibly humbled and honored that people are enjoying her cake AND that it brings back so many good memories for families everywhere.
This recipe is my family and friends favorite. recipe was passed down to me many years ago . and after searching for a long time i finally found it online . you are the only i found that has the exact same recipe. the recipe that i have calls for only wesson oil. i tried to use other oils and it does not work . will not rise. and taste totally different. it is by far the best apple cake. thank you for sharing the wax paper trick it works well
Hi, Marie! I am so glad you found this cake recipe too! It is such a special cake, and you’re right, there is no other quite like it. I am glad the wax paper trick worked for you too. I always use it! It would make my Mamaw’s heart glad to know you were able to find this recipe after looking for so long. It was a recipe she loved and she loved sharing!
Can we use less sugar–I have one in the family who can’t have much sugar
Hi, J Burton! I wouldn’t decrease the sugar to any less than 1 3/4 cups, maybe 1 1/2 cups. I haven’t made it that way, so I certainly can’t guarantee the outcome. My best recommendation would be to substitute with a Stevia or Splenda. They make pretty good sugar substitutes when baking.
I made this cake for my Bible study group, it was definitely a hit. Everything I needed for the recipe I already had in my kitchen. It’s a very simple apple cake recipe, very delicious, very moist, and just the right amount of sweetness!! Thank you for sharing 😊
Hi, Diane! I just adore that you made this for you Bible study and that you appreciated its simple pantry ingredients! It would make my Mamaw so happy too. Thank you for making and sharing this cake!
I’ve had this recipe for 65 years. It’s truly wonderful. I have a tip for those who prefer to use parchment instead of waxed paper. Tear off slightly more than you think you’ll need. Crumple it fairly tightly, wet under running water, squeeze well, press flat, coat with oil, then place in baking pan. It will conform to the pan nicely. Trim with scissors if necessary. Ive never had mine burn. If you have never tried this cake it is a must. Enjoy every bite you get because there may not be very many until you make another one.
I didn’t use wax or parchment paper. Greased and floured pan. Hopefully it will come out of the pan ok. Note on your actual recipe. You don’t mention to add the cinnamon with the flour, salt and baking soda. It is mentioned in your paragraph, but not the actual recipe when printed. Can’t wait to taste it.