There is something about apples and cinnamon that really smells (and tastes) like fall. This recipe is a perfect way to make use of all of the apples that are abundant in the northeast at this time of year. (Perhaps you were fortunate enough to pick some yourself at one of the Greater Boston orchards Michelle mentioned.)

apple cake for rita

I have started making this cake for fall celebrations (birthdays or get-togethers). It began as a tradition with my grandmother’s birthday at the end of September. One year she was visiting me in DC on her birthday weekend. We didn’t have time to bake, but we bought a great apple cake at a local market.

Somehow apple cake became linked in my mind with Gram’s birthday. Once I was living in Boston again, I started making this cake to celebrate her birthday. There isn’t anything super fancy about the cake, but is delicious and moist. People often come back for seconds. It’s that good.

This cake is easy enough that you can get your kids to help you bake. My friend Julie made this cake with Ella, her 3-year-old daughter, a few weekends ago. You don’t need to use the mixer, but you can if it is easier. Keep in mind that, while this cake is quick to put together, it takes a long time to bake. It can take 90 minutes to bake, but the last time I made it, it was done at just about 70 minutes. Start checking at about 70 minutes for doneness, then every 5 or 10 minutes.

apple-cake prebake

dry and wet apple cake

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Rita's Apple Cake Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This apple coffee cake began as a tradition with my grandmother’s birthday at the end of September. There is something about apples and cinnamon that really smells (and tastes) like fall.
For the apple filling:
  • 6 McIntosh apples (peeled, cored, and chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 5 tablespoons sugar
For the cake batter:
  • 2¾ cups flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a tube or bundt pan.
  3. Toss apple chunks with cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl (or into your stand mixer’s bowl).
  5. Whisk baking powder and salt into flour.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar, and vanilla.
  7. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition to incorporate all ingredients.
  9. Pour half of the batter into prepared pan.
  10. Spread half of the apples over it.
  11. Pour the remaining batter over the apples.
  12. Spoon the remaining apples on top pressing them in gently to even out the top.
  13. Bake for about 70-90 minutes. Start checking at 70 minutes and then check every ten minutes.
  14. Remove when a tester comes out clean.
  15. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
  16. Remove from cake from the pan.
  17. Continue to cool cake on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature.
Get to know Kathleen MacArthur (78 Posts)

Kat has enjoyed baking and cooking for as long as she can remember. Her grandmother, Rita, was a great baker—especially of pies. Inspired by Rita, Kat began to be the one to bring dessert to family events. (Her grandfather, Stu, used to say that “Kat is bringing dessert” were some of his favorite words.) Often her family will hide the Christmas cookies she gives them when they have guests in the house. Her husband is a great tester of Kat Treats. When Kat is not baking or blogging, she works in higher education (but secretly dreams that some day she might open a treat truck or bakery/bookstore).

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