festive holiday recipe #4: apple-ginger cake

apple-ginger cake

I had originally intended to come at you with a recipe for Chocolate Chai Crackle Cookies today, but since I forgot my photos at home, you’ll have to wait til next week for that. It’s worth the wait, though. I swear.

In the interim, I thought I’d share this with you. This is a doozy of a cake…fairly easy to throw together (despite the lengthy ingredient list), and very “fall” tasting. It’d be a great option if you’re responsible for bringing a dessert to a party or potluck, as it travels pretty well and is a nice change from a lot of those sickeningly sweet grocery store desserts that are out there (no hard feelings if you bring those to a party, though. Real talk: we all enjoy a good grocery store cookie/cake/cupcake/brownie from time to time. We don’t always have time to bake. I get you, I promise.) The original recipe calls it a torte, but since this isn’t what I know a torte to be, I’m calling it a cake. So there.

The molasses in this cake gives you that gingerbread-like taste, without becoming overwhelming (as molasses often does). The apples are obviously an added, brown buttery bonus. And the fresh ginger, along with the rest of the spices, help keep the cake pretty well-rounded in terms of flavor, with a little kick.  And we’re all about well-roundedness in life, right?

For the record: this cake also makes an excellent breakfast. Just sayin’.

apple ginger cake 3-crop

Apple-Ginger Cake
recipe adapted slightly from Food 52

3 large apples (I used Fuji and Jonagold, but use whatever you like that’s good for baking (NO RED DELICIOUS.))
4 TB turbinado/raw sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter + ~2 TB butter + more for pan
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 TB lemon zest
1 TB grated fresh ginger
1 TB molasses
2 TB dark rum or bourbon (I used bourbon. I regret nothing.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (use full-fat Greek yogurt if you can — it will lend a more velvety texture.)
10 walnut halves (I used more than this, but that’s your call)


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9” springform** pan. If you are concerned about your springform pan leaking, wrap the bottom with aluminum foil. **If you don’t have a springform, that’s ok. I could see this working out just fine in another pan…maybe a 8×8 pan, and you could serve the cake in squares later. It just might not be as easy to remove from the pan as it would be with a springform.
  2. Core and peel apples, and cut into thin slices. Melt 2 TB of butter in saucepan and cook until it is lightly browned. Stir in apple slices until all slices are covered with browned butter. Sprinkle 2 TB raw sugar over apples, and continue to saute, stirring occasionally, till apples are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger  and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Beat in two eggs. Beat in lemon zest, ginger, molasses, rum or bourbon, and vanilla extract. (The mixture will look curdled. It’s OK.)
  5. Stir in the flour mixture a little at a time, stirring after each addition so the batter is thick and smooth. Fold in the milk and yogurt till batter is smooth and thoroughly combined.
  6. Scrape half the batter into the prepared springform pan. Cover with apple slices, and spread the other half of the batter over the apples. Smooth top with spatula. Place walnut halves on the top of the cake, and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of raw sugar over the top of the cake.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top of the cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake may slightly pull away from the sides of the pan.
  8. Transfer to a cooling rack. Run a knife along the edges of the cake to loosen it completely from the sides of the pan. Open the ring and remove it. If you want to remove the cake from the base of the springform pan, wait until it has cooled completely, then slide a long thin spatula between the cake and the base. Use a large spatula to then move it to a serving plate.
  9. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a blob of barely sweetened softly whipped cream.

apple ginger cake slice vertical-


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