At a Glance

Prep
20 mins. to 30 mins.
Bake
42 mins. to 47 mins.
Total
2 hrs 2 mins. to 2 hrs 17 mins.
Yield
about 24 servings
This cake is an old, old favorite of ours. It's a cake where the whole is definitely more than the sum of the parts. The moist, semi-chunky cake, spread with the frosting equivalent of brown sugar fudge, is perfect served with a cup of coffee or, better still, a glass of ice-cold milk.

Our thanks to the wonderful Bakery Lane Soup Bowl cookbook for the inspiration for this recipe.

Baking gluten-free? For great results, substitute King Arthur Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe; and increase the baking time to 55 minutes, no other changes needed.
Volume Ounces Grams

Cake

  • 2 1/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Apple Pie Spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples
  • 1 cup diced toasted walnuts or pecans

Frosting

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/4 teaspoon vanilla-butternut flavor

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. To make the cake: Mix all of the ingredients except the apples and nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Beat until well combined; the mixture will be very stiff, and may even be crumbly.
  4. Add the apples and nuts, and mix until the apples release some of their juice and the stiff mixture becomes a thick batter, somewhere between cookie dough and brownie batter in consistency.
  5. Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing it with your wet fingers.
  6. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely; don't remove the cake from the pan.
  8. To make the frosting: Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and salt and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts.
  9. Add the milk, bring to a boil, and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes.
  10. After 10 minutes, stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners' sugar. Spread on the cake while frosting is still warm.
  11. Yield: about 2 dozen servings.

Tips from our bakers

  • To toast nuts, place them in a single layer in a cake pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 6 to 9 minutes, until they're golden brown and smell "toasty."
  • To guarantee lump-free frosting, sift confectioners' sugar before adding to the butter mixture. Usually all the lumps disappear as you beat the frosting; but to guarantee no lumps at all, sift the sugar first.
  • Our Gluten-Free Measure for Measure Flour makes it easy to make many of your favorite traditional recipes (like this one) gluten-free. Simply substitute Measure for Measure flour 1:1 for the flour called for in your recipe; no additional ingredients needed.