Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

December 6, 2016


I’ve got another great Autumn dessert for you today! Just take a look at this Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting! With a texture somewhat similar to carrot cake, this incredibly moist treat is just bursting with all of the flavors of Fall, like apple, pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg. And that Brown Sugar Frosting? It is just unbelievably dreamy – smooth and creamy with notes of maple and caramel flavors. It is very similar to fudge to be honest.


And I must say, I do love an old-fashioned sheet cake. You can’t get much easier than that and you just frost it right there in the pan. This Fall treat is delicious when eaten the same day it was made. But, I gotta say, I think it even tastes better the next day (if you can manage to keep from scarfing it all down at once that is…). Good for dessert, coffee breaks or even breakfast. Perfect for potlucks or church socials. Serve it up with a nice cold glass of milk. You can’t go wrong with this one!


Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

  • Servings: 24 slices
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: King Arthur Flour


For the Cake:

  • 2 1/3 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon 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

For the frosting:

  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ pan. 

To make the cake: Toast whatever nuts you are using by placing them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350° oven until they are golden brown; about 6 – 9 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Mix all of the ingredients except the apples and nuts in a large bowl. 

Beat until well combined; the mixture will be very stiff, and may even be crumbly. 

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. 

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing it with your wet fingers.

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. 

Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool completely; don’t remove the cake from the pan. 

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. 

Add the milk, bring to a boil, and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, stir in the sifted 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.


Old-Fashioned Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

February 25, 2012

I told you all about Pop-pop Roy in my Old Fashioned Apple Dumplings post not too long ago. Mom-mom Mary was his wife and a fantastic, much loved Grandma.

Mom-mom Mary & Pop-pop Roy (on left) shortly after they were first married

She wasn’t one of those old fashioned Nannas that would just sit in a chair knitting. She was really funny, loved to laugh and actually liked to play with us when we were kids. I mean really play, like running around outside, swinging on swings, digging in the dirt and building forts.

Me (at 9 months) & Mom-mom Mary

Mom-mom Mary & her pup Wrecker

One of my earliest memories of her is hanging out in the kitchen watching her make this Jewish Apple Cake, which she did quite often. There always seemed to be one available for snacking on in her kitchen. I was super impressed that she could peel an apple and manage to have one long continuous apple peel. I never peel an apple to this day that I don’t think of her and try to keep that peel in one piece. Before she passed away, she was kind enough to give me a enameled butterfly pin that her brother had given her years before. I carried this butterfly with me pinned to my bridal bouquet on my wedding day and thought it should make an appearance in the pictures of her Jewish Apple Cake.

Grandma's Butterfly on my Wedding Bouquet

I must admit, I’ve often wondered why it was a “Jewish” Apple Cake. My family is not Jewish, so I kind of always wondered where she got the recipe and why it was “Jewish”. I did a bit of poking around online recently and discovered that Jewish Apple Cakes are a regional favourite found in bakeries from Philadelphia, PA down to Baltimore, Md. My family is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland, so that did make sense. No one seems to know if the cake actually has any Jewish connections. The cake does not contain any dairy, using oil and orange juice instead. So it could be eaten with meals that include meat in accordance with Jewish dietary rules. However, I also read that it may have no Jewish connection at all and actually be a Pennsylvania Dutch cake that has been mistakenly named as Jewish because it seemed to have and “old-world” character about it.

One thing you won’t be mistaken over is how delicious this cake is. As I mentioned previously, Pop-pop Roy didn’t eat many sweets, but he would always have a bite or two of her Jewish Apple Cake. It’s no wonder, because this cake is irresistable. Dense, very moist, not too sweet and chock full of sugar cinnamon coated apples. A real winner for breakfast, dessert or for an afternoon snack with a nice cup of tea. The cake is very easy to make and will not disappoint. Make sure you peel your apples so that you are left with one long continuous peel for each apple. I think they might actually taste better if you do. 🙂

Mom-mom Mary’s Jewish Apple Cake

recipe from: My Grandma


  • 3 Cups All-purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 Cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 Tablespoons Orange Juice
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 – 5 Apples, sliced (I used MacIntosh)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a tube cake or Angel cake pan.

Mix sugar and oil in the bowl of stand mixer. Add Eggs, salt, 1 1/2 Cups of flour, orange juice, baking powder and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the remaining 1 1/2 Cup flour.

Peel and core apples. Slice them into 1″ cubes. In a medium sized bowl, toss sliced apples with the cinnamon and sugar.

In greased tube pan, alternate layers of the apple/cinnamon, sugar mixture and batter, starting with the batter.

Bake for 1 1/4 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

Place on rack to cool. You can remove sides of pan after about 15- 20 minutes.


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