Follow by Email

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grandma Lois's Old World Apple Cake

My grandma is a fantastic cook and baker. She can throw together a pot roast with multiple sides AND dessert without breaking a sweat. Her skills can probably be attributed to growing up on her family's ranch in Hysham, MT - lots of hungry mouths to feed! I have several Grandma Lois recipes to share with you but thought I would do a post about one of my absolute favorites - Old World Apple Cake! As the comforting aroma of cinnamon filled the kitchen, Nick yelled out, "hey is that Old School Apple Cake almost done?" Sorry about that, Grandma.

While I had romantic notions that this was an original recipe that came over on the boat from Switzerland, Grandma told me the other day that she got the recipe from a friend at their old church in the Philadelphia suburbs. Regardless, the recipe has been a family favorite for years and is a big hit every time we serve it at holiday dinners, bridal showers, etc. In addition to being a great dessert (make sure you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream), a small slice pairs well with your morning coffee or tea.

The only time consuming part of this recipe is peeling the apples and slicing them super-thin. I just use a knife, but I'm sure a mandolin would work really well here to make uniform slices. Hmmm - maybe that will be my next kitchen gadget purchase!

The batter is very simple - just flour, sugar, oil, baking powder, salt, eggs, orange juice (I use no pulp) and a tablespoon of good-quality vanilla extract

No need to pull out the KitchenAid stand mixer to tackle this batter. Just use your hand-held mixer - should take you less than a minute to get everything incorporated. I try not to over-mix the batter.

Grease and flour (I LOVE Pam's baking spray) a standard 12-cup bundt pan. Fill the pan with half the batter, then lay half the sliced apples on top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. As you can see, I am not shy with the cinnamon.

Pour in the rest of the batter, sprinkle with more cinnamon and sugar and bake. You end up with this beautiful, crusty-on-the-outside yet moist-on-the-inside apple cake. A sprinkling of powdered sugar would look nice, but I couldn't find any in the pantry (thanks Nick for finding it this weekend!).

Have some good friends over for tea and serve this cake. It'll help brighten up a cold and blustery winter day.

Old World Apple Cake
From Lois Oman

  • 2 cups thinly sliced apples (I used McIntosh)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (I used no pulp OJ)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Extra cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling between cake layers
  • Powdered sugar for serving (optional)

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan. Thinly slice the apples and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, oil, orange juice, eggs, baking powder, salt and vanilla extract. The batter should be smooth.

Pour approximately half of the batter into the bundt pan. Place the apple slices in an even layer on top of the batter. Sprinkle the apples with about 2 tablespoons of sugar and generously with cinnamon (just eye-ball it). Pour the additional batter into the pan and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar.

Bake for approximately 70 minutes. Cool for ten minutes and then remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely and, if desired, sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.


  1. I feel like I have single-handedly dominated this cake over the past week. Lord knows my fellow bootcampers enjoyed their cut! Almost time to make a new one babe!

  2. Do you think it would work with pears?

  3. I think so. I would probably dial back the sugar on the fruit layer use a firmer pear, so it doesn't get too soggy when it bakes.