Nothing says made from scratch like the warm spices and sweetly softened apples that make this towering Bundt cake that sorta resembles coffee cake a real comfort food charmer. Although your friends and family will first be impressed as heck by its lofty stature and stunning appearance that’s due in part to the maple glaze, which you could omit but truth be told is pretty much irresistible and modest in its sweetness. It’s unfussy and impressive at the same time, as is pretty much everything from the charming and warmhearted folks at Red Truck Bakery in rural Virginia. And it can serve a crowd yet still leave you enough for a slice at breakfast the next morning.–Jenny Howard
Red Truck Bakery Apple Cake
For the apple cake
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup mild vegetable oil
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1 cup sour cream (not low-fat)
- 2 medium apples, preferably a crisp variety such as Honeycrisp, Gala, or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped to make about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup water
For the maple glaze
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
Make the apple cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180 °C). Lightly coat a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick spray and dust it with flour, tapping out any excess.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil, butter, and 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and then gradually beat in the apple cider until incorporated.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour, beating just until combined after each addition. Using a spoon, gently fold in the chopped apples.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and use a spatula to smooth the surface. Bake the cake, rotating the pan after 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let the cake cool in the Bundt pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
- While the cake cools, in a small saucepan over low heat, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and water, stirring until the sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Invert the cake onto a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the warm sugar syrup. Let the cake cool completely.
Make the maple glaze
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, maple syrup, and water until smooth and just pourable. Adjust thickness, if necessary, by adding a little more sugar or water. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cooled cake, letting it run down the sides.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I made this apple cake for Thanksgiving to a good reception. The consensus was that it was moist, had great flavor (you could really taste the touch of cider) and was not too sweet. It was a delight to make, too. Not too fussy and complicated and the batter became beautifully fluffy.
At first I was apprehensive that there wouldn’t be enough apple to go around but it was nicely distributed.
The glaze is good, but definitely not necessary to enjoy this cake.
This cake was very moist with a lighter texture than a pound cake and had wonderful flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple. It wasn’t as sweet as you’d expect with the added simple syrup and maple glazes.
Our only disappointment was that there wasn’t enough apple chunks evenly distributed in the cake to get that great apple flavor in every bite. I wasn’t able to get apple cider for this recipe, so I used a 100% organic apple juice instead, and this may have accounted for the lack of apple taste throughout. The next time I make this cake, I will hunt down the apple cider and either grate or puree the apples, much like carrots in a carrot cake, so that the entire cake will be infused with apple flavor. This would also help the cake bake more evenly as areas around the apple chunks were a lot moister than other areas of the cake.
The added maple glaze was a perfect complement to this fall inspired dessert. We also enjoyed cake for breakfast the next morning with coffee!
I have made a lot of Bundt cakes but have never seen one rise this tall! When I depanned it, it was a delight to see something release so perfectly (with nary a crumb left) and stand so high. Really impressive appearance that is matched fully by the moist texture and spiced apple taste.
I worried that the maple frosting might be too sweet but it added a really nice flavor. We first tasted it on the baking day for dessert. My nephew asked for seconds following a pretty big meal! I did wonder if I should have done a more uniform job of chopping the apples but our guests liked a bit of variation.
We then served it the next day for my husband’s book club. It had stayed very moist. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.