As the old adage goes, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” so we’ve decided to bake an apple cake in the interest of good health (wink). What we love most about this cake is that it’s not overly sweet, so we really get to enjoy the natural sweetness of the apples. The apples are the star of the show here, as they sit suspended in a wonderfully moist cake that is flecked with nutty pecans.
What makes this cake so moist and delicious? Cream cheese is the answer. We’ve used cream cheese to help the cake to retain its moisture and to give it a nice density, without being too heavy. In contrast to the creamy cheese and sweet apples, we’ve got one of our favorite fall add-ins: pecans. And if you’re looking for a little extra nutty flavor, we recommend toasting the pecans before adding them to the batter.
The cake is baked in a springform pan. You could use a traditional cake pan but we want this cake to come out smooth around the edges since we’re not covering it with frosting. And for a hint of sweetness at the finish, we like to dust powdered sugar over the top to hide any imperfections but most importantly to give the rustic-looking cake a little elegance.
You’ll just love sharing this cake with family and friends and it’s likely you’ll need to be prepared to share the recipe. Apples and the fall season go hand-in-hand, and an apple cake is a nice way to bring the tastes of the season into our baking. Now all you’ll need is a cup of tea or coffee and a slice (or two) of fresh apple cake, consumed for good health, of course (wink).
Fresh Apple Cake
Serves 8-10; 2 hours
- 4 firm, crisp apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup powdered sugar, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the baking rack in the middle of the oven. Coat an 8-inch round springform pan with cooking spray.
- Toss chopped apples with lemon juice and set aside.
- Sift flour, salt, and baking soda into a bowl and set aside.
- Beat sugar, butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and almond extract until smooth. Add eggs and beat until creamy. Slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture and beat until well-mixed. Fold apple chunks into the batter.
- Pour 3/4 of batter into springform pan. Scatter pecans over top and then cover with remaining cake batter. Bake for 1 hour then cool in springform pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
- Remove springform and serve directly on tray or transfer to a cake platter. Dust with powdered sugar to serve.