Apple Cake Recipe by Samantha Davis

I cannot say that my family has ever gone apple picking, but I can never remember our home without a few apples rolling around in the crisper drawer. 

My father even has the uncanny ability to pick out edible red delicious apples, when as we all know 90% of them are horrible mealy and sad tasting. 

I came up with this recipe to combine me and my father’s favorite everyday dessert: coffee cake and his, cobbler.

Apple Cake

With chunks of sweet apples nestled in a tender and buttery streusel cake,  this apple cake is the essence of autumn. 

Kitchen tools: 

  • Spatula
  • Whisk
  • Small saucepan
  • 3 medium bowls
  • Knife 
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Cutting board
  • Parchment paper
  • 13×9 baking pan 


apple filling:

2.5 lbs of Apples

2 teaspoon cornstarch

¾ cup brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon 

½ teaspoon  cardamom

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

streusel topping:

½ cup and 2 teaspoon salted butter, cold

⅔ cup all-purpose flour

½ cup rolled oats

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon 

1 tsp cardamom

1 tsp nutmeg 

cake batter:

4 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup salted butter, softened

2 cup dark brown sugar

4 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon 

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Place the flour, oats, sugar, salt, and spices in a large  bowl.
  2. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry ingredients, using  your hand to toss the butter to coat, then use your fingers to squeeze the butter into the dry ingredients, until butter chunks are the size of peas and the mixture can hold together when squeezed in your hand (think wet sand). 
  3. Set aside.  If you are in a warmer climate, place the streusel in the fridge.
  4. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the sides of a 13×9 pan, and cut some parchment paper to fit the bottom and sides of the pan, with some overhang.
  5. Place softened butter in a bowl, and add the sugar. Whisk the two together until the mix lightens in color. 
  6. Add the eggs and vanilla to the mix, whisking vigorously until fully incorporated. While whisking, slowly stream in the buttermilk. It is okay if the mix looks curdled after this step (we are forcing too much liquid into a fatty mixture, but it turns out great, I promise)
  7. Set the whisk to the side and add the dry ingredients, use the spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients, the ending mix should resemble pancake batter in that small lumps are still visible in the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth the batter for a flatter surface.
  9. Place rows of the seasoned apples down the length of the pan, covering the entire surface. Save the juices released from the apples. Sprinkle apples with the streusel and place in the oven for approximately 1 hour, or until a toothpick stuck through the middle of the cake comes out clean.
  10. While the cake bakes, pour the juices from the apples into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Take off the heat when the liquid thickens, let cool. 
  11. As the cake cools out of the oven, drizzle the apple caramel sauce over the top of the cake 
  12. When the cake has cooled, use the parchment flaps to lift the cake out of the pan for slicing. I like a huge dollop of cool whip on mine, but my roommates have enjoyed vanilla ice cream on a warm slice of this cake.

Tip: Granny smith are preferred but the recipe works with most varietals. This recipe can easily be halved and baked in a loaf pan.

Texan turned San Diegan, Samantha Davis, is a former semi pastry chef now pursuing a degree in Bioarcheology with a focus on foodways of the past. 

When she’s not digging through people of the past’s trash, you can find her baking, hiking, or working on her podcast on food history.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: