Apple Cake

Apple-picking season comes to the Midwest from September through October and there are so many local farms, growing so many varieties of apples, that it boggles the mind. The worst thing to do (and we have done it) is to pick too many bushels and pecks and wind up with a garage or back porch full of sad, shriveling fruit.

We have learned our lesson and we come home with one bushel, that’s all! A bushel weighs around 42 to 48 pounds, a lot of apples for eating and cooking. We pick them carefully because apples bruise (we learned that lesson one year when we just tossed the apples into the baskets), and we pick two different varieties: Granny Smith for cooking (and some of us even love to eat these tart apples) and Honey Crisp, a delicious red apple that is sweet to eat and wonderful for cooking too. We store them in the garage, and those that we do not make into applesauce, pies or cakes, we eat for several weeks. Two apple varieties that do not store well are Red and Yellow Delicious. Of course, do not store apples near potatoes. Potatoes release an ethylene gas that results in rapid ripening.

This year I was hungry for apple cake. The Berghoff Family Cookbook has one family favorite recipe and The Berghoff Cafe Cookbook another. However, as many gluten-free family cooks have learned, gluten-free baking is not as simple as just substituting gluten-free flour for wheat flour in a recipe.

After a couple tries (the third time was a charm) I baked up an apple cake that has so much to offer. It is moist and delicious without being soggy. The preparation is made easy by chopping the apples two at a time in the food processor rather than by hand. Lastly, I made enough batter for a 9 by 2 by 13-inch cake—enough for a party or enough to eat and now and freeze half individually wrapped for later.

I cored but did not peel the apples. Apple skins have pectin and that helps the stabilize and firm the batter. Trust me, if you have a family member who hates “bits” in their food they will never see or taste the finely cut apple skins. The skins also add extra flavor to the cake.


Apple Cake

Yield: 1 (9 by 2 by 13-inch cake), 24 pieces


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened, or solid non-dairy alternative
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups 1, 2, 3, Gluten-Free Flour or gluten-free flour of choice with xanthan in the mix, preferably Bob's Red Mill One for One Gluten-Free Flour
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice, or 1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups cored, peel on, Granny Smith and Honey Crisp apples (about 4 large)


  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one by one beating after each addition until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices. Beat on low to mix well, scraping down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
  4. Place the apples, two at a time, in a food processor and chop finely but do not puree. Repeat until you have 4 cups.
  5. Transfer to the mixer and beat on low to mix well. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  6. Place in a greased 9 by 2 by 13-inch baking pan lined on the bottom with parchment paper. Smooth and level the top.
  7. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven, place on a rack to cool completely.
  9. Cut cake 6 by 4 and dust the top with powdered sugar.
  10. If desired, wrap extra cake pieces individually with plastic wrap and freeze.




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