Secret Ingredient Apple-Spice Cake

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Yield: 16 servings

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This cake is a symphony of fall flavors: sweet cake, fragrant spices, and brisk, tangy apples. The secret is cherry juice concentrate, which subtly brightens the cake's flavor without competing with the apples.

Secret Ingredient Apple-Spice Cake

star rating (16) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 16 servings
Published: 07/28/2010



  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened but not melted
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons King Arthur Cake Enhancer, optional
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice, or a combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 cup cherry juice concentrate (or substitute applesauce)*
  • 1/4 cup applesauce*
  • 3 cups peeled and cored apples, cut into 1/2" chunk (about 2 large apples)
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts
  • *Use 1/4 cup cherry juice concentrate + 1/4 cup applesauce; OR 1/2 cup applesauce.


  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rum or brandy; or water with a drop or two of rum or brandy flavor

Tips from our bakers

  • You can also make this recipe into two smaller Bundt cakes, using half-size Bundt pans. You'll either need two pans, or will need to bake the cake in two batches. If you have a scale, you'll use 32 3/4 ounces of batter for each pan. Bake these half-sized cakes for 45 to 50 minutes, tenting with foil for the last 10 to 15 minutes if the cake is getting too dark for your liking. You may also want to double the amount of glaze, to be sure you have enough for two cakes. Yield: 2 half-sized Bundt cakes.


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10", 10- to 15-cup capacity tube pan or bundt-style pan

2) Beat together the butter, oil, sugar, cake enhancer, spice, salt, and baking powder until light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until the batter looks fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

4) Beat in half the flour, then the cherry concentrate (or 1/4 cup applesauce). Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then beat in the remaining flour and the applesauce.

5) Fold in the apples and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

6) Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

7) Remove the cake from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan.

8) Make the glaze by stirring all the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Brush on the warm cake. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing.

Yield: 16 servings.


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  • star rating 10/26/2014
  • Cindiani from KAF Community
  • My family did not care for this one at all - and my guys rarely encounter a baked good that they don't like. For a great apple cake, I recommend the Old-fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting, instead of this one. We'd love to know what they look for in an apple cake! I'm glad that we have a recipe they enjoy. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF
  • star rating 10/04/2014
  • Carla from MA
  • I would like to make this cake for an event using a half-sheet pan. Do you think doubling the recipe would work for a cake that size? Perfect autumn cake. All the smells and tastes of the season.
    Yes, I think this would bake up nicely in a half sheet pan. You are wise to at least double the recipe. There may be some left over for a few mini quick breads or muffins! Elisabeth@KAF
  • star rating 09/18/2014
  • Patbrett from KAF Community
  • I love this recipe and have been asked to make it as a tiered wedding cake. The layers would be 12, 10 and 8 inches. Do you think it would bake well in 2 inch pans of this size? Do you have any tips for me?
    Do we have tips for you! Check out the blog titled "Wedding Cakes" from May 9, 2014. There are links to recipes, pans, baking times and lots of other practical advice. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF
  • star rating 11/17/2013
  • Linda from Burke, VA
  • I just made this cake...used pecans instead of walnuts (since that's what I had in the freezer) and applesauce instead of cherry. I used a 10in tube pan and greased it as instructed. I also weighed the flour. I baked it 60 mins since, at 55, it seemed a little underdone. Following the instructions, I cooled "for 10 mins, before TURNING OUT of the pan." all fell apart. I would suggest anyone using a tube pan LIFT the cake out and let it finish cooling still with the bottom attached. I'm wondering if weighing the flour gave me too little flour to help it hold together. Weighing did result in less than the 3 cups called for. BUT...the hunks I salvaged tasted GREAT!!
  • star rating 10/09/2013
  • Elizabeth from Durham, NC
  • I was thinking of making this for my book club, but wanted to do a dry run first. I used all applesauce and toasted the walnuts. My (slim!) husband ate 5 pieces after dinner the first day and 3 more for breakfast the second. It was all gone within 36 hours and, with our children out of the house, it's just the two of us! The book club cake is in the oven now. Definitely a keeper.
  • star rating 12/21/2012
  • Leslie from Cocoa, FL
  • This cake was truly delicious. I made two changes - I substituted 1 cup of cinnamon chips for the nuts, and added extra cinnamon, ground clove, allspice, ginger, and cardamom. It was moist, held up well in the fridge for a few days, and was a huge hit at the potluck. I will definitely be making this again.
  • 11/29/2012
  • Lisa from
  • If you don't have apple pie spice what are the measurements of cinnamon, all spice and nutmeg?
    I would use four parts cinnamon, two parts nutmeg and one part allspice!-Jon
  • star rating 11/20/2011
  • jarobo from KAF Community
  • In response to mizjmassie: I prepared this recipe using boiled cider in lieu of cherry concentrate in the cake and rum in the glaze, and was quite pleased with the result. Since we are a family of 2, I made a half recipe in a 5 cup bundt pan and it took almost the same amount of time to bake. I might try making it in a mini-bundt muffin tin next time to decrease the baking time so I can make them fresh in the AM for my co-workers.
  • 11/08/2011
  • mizjmassie from KAF Community
  • I have a question regarding using Boiled Cider instead of Cherry Juice Concentrate because that is what I have? I purposely bought the Boiled Cider believing that it would amp up the apple flavor in my apple desserts. I don't even have any apple sauce either to replace the Cherry concentrate with which is another bummer. Please advice because I really would like to make this and don't want to make a mistake. Thanks in advance. Oh and can the Buttery Dough Enhancer be used in this recipe or would that be an ovekill on flavors?
    You certainly may use your boiled cider in place of the cherry concentrate. If you do not have sauce but have apples, you may make your own. Peel, core, slice and put in a pot with a little water, little lemon juice and some cinnamon. When broken down either mash or press through a food mill. I think the buttery dough flavor would be nice in this cake, too. Please contact our bakers with any further questions, 1-800-827-6836 or Elisabeth
  • star rating 10/24/2011
  • Sri from Topeka ks
  • This is very nice moist and lovely sweet with an almost crisp glaze which I made w brandy. The sauce pictured is not the glaze but most people who reviewed did elect to use a caramel sauce. I did use the cherry concentrate which gives the cake just a hint of tart. This is not like a traditional spice-cake and definitely not overly sweet which was good for a family who prefers their cakes that way. I liked it but can't say I loved it--might try the other cake the the brown sugar frosting if I have occasion for an apple cake again. Or there's a gal at work who's apple cake has bigger chunks of apples, more of them--almost just a bit of cake to hold the apples together rather than cake w apple chunks in it. I think that one won out over this recipe but still, it's a nice recipe. I used 2 Granny Smith and part of 1 Gala for the 12 ounces.
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