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Nonnie’s Apple Cake

Nonnie’s Apple Cake Related:   breakfast & brunch, dairy, desserts & sweets, kid-friendly, pareve, Rosh Hashanah, Shabbat, vegetarian, Yom Kippur

Prep time: 10–15 minutes

Cook time: 40–60 minutes

Yield: 10–12 servings

One of my greatest triumphs in cooking through my grandmother Nonnie’s cookbook so far was her apple cake, a welcome addition to any dessert spread, whether it’s a high holiday or a normal weeknight. “Cake” is right there in the name, but it’s more like a marvelous mess of softly yielding apple chunks just barely held together by a tender crumb base—one that only gets more lusciously fruit-saturated as it sits.

Rich as that sounds, the cake is also surprisingly versatile; even though it contains plenty of butter, sugar and eggs, the final product turns out to be neither too rich nor too sweet. You can (and should) have a slice for dessert, of course, but you can also eat a big old hunk in the morning without feeling too guilty about having cake for breakfast.

Let’s put it this way: For 27 years, I thought I was firmly on Team Pie. Then I made this cake—and I wasn’t so sure where my loyalties lay anymore.


  • 4 apples, quartered, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1½ cup sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • Cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Toss apple chunks with lemon juice; set aside. Beat eggs until light. Add sugars, butter and vanilla, and beat until smooth. Sift dry ingredients together and blend into egg mixture. Add apples and nuts; it’ll seem like there are too many apple chunks for the amount of batter you’ve made, but don’t worry, that’s what makes this cake so wonderful.
  • Pour into well-greased 9-by-11-inch baking pan; sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned and a tester comes out clean of batter (but not apple goo).
  • Cool on wire rack. You’re welcome to enjoy immediately, but know that it’ll taste even better on the second day.

2 Responses

  1. Lisa says:

    Can’t wait to try it but have a question. How much cinnamon?

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