(German) Apple Spice Cake

Phyl Campbell By Phyl Campbell, 19th Jun 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Recipes>Desserts

Whether topped with ice cream or standing alone, a warm piece of apple cake as a dessert or as a snack is a wonderful treat for yourself or someone you love.

A little personal history

When I was growing up, my mom called this “Apple Cake.” Most recipes for apple cake call for icing or powdered sugar dusting or walnuts. I don’t care for any of those things. When in college, I used my mother’s recipe in a cookbook we made for a fundraiser. A lot of other college students turned up their noses, because “carrots go in cake, or you can make a fruitcake, but when you have apples, you make pie.” I don’t make pie. Another fellow student recognized the recipe, but said his mother called it “apple spice cake.” I am not sure what makes it “German” – ingredient-wise -- I would say the nutmeg and the cloves, because one or both were left out of some of the non-German recipes I found, and I remembered them being in Mom's. Finally, a lot of the pictures I saw baked the cake in a bundt pan rather than a 9X13. I've seen people make brownies, cupcakes, round cakes, and other variations, but I like the 9X13 best because I prefer lots of middle to crispy edges. As always, to each his or her own.

More recent personal history

I was going to make this cake with the apples my mother sent home with me earlier this month. But of course, I’ve mislaid the cookbook and the paper where I had written everything down. Hopefully now that the cake is baked, I’ll find the recipe and see if this is the same. I went online and got four recipes, then combined them with what I remembered of my mother’s cake.

My son and I cut, peeled, cored, and stored the apples in (not full) quart-sized freezer bags. We put about 5 small apples (a kindergartener could just about close his or her hand around one) in each bag with fruit preservative and froze them. On baking day, I tossed one bag into some warm water for about an hour. I probably didn’t need to wait that long, as some edges out of the water (even in the plastic bag) got a little brown. Has yet to affect taste negatively...


Picture the ingredients in three groups. This will help with timing, mixing, and consistency, especially if you have a young helper who is more eager than helpful -- but of course, I am not talking about my helpful helper, who is a wonderful helper!!!

(Group 1)
1/2c butter
2c sugar
2 eggs

(Group 2)
2 (2-3)tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2tsp cloves
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

(Group 3)
2 c flour
1 qt apple slices (more or less, to taste) -- some people chop, some prefer a mix of apples and applesauce. I like large bites of apple -- it makes me pretend I'm eating healthy -- having my cake and eating it, too!! ;)


Combine ingredients from Group 1.
Hint: melt butter until soft – not melted, but manageable (but if it’s melted, it won’t hurt anything) before mixing with sugar. Add eggs one at a time and stir.

Add Group 2 and stir. You will have a batter.

Time for Group 3 -- keep stirring!!
The flour will give your mix a doughy consistency.
Add the apples. They will make your dough VERY moist and can be difficult to stir in without clumping -- like Krispy Rice Treats... One site said don't "overmix," but I don't think you can unless maybe they are using a mixer (I do all this mixing by hand or by helper -- not by electric or battery-operated machine).

Pour into a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper liner. If you don’t have parchment paper, you can use shortening and flour on the pan bottom only. In the past, I always used too much flour and turned the bottom of the cake black. It still tasted OK, but wasn’t as “pretty.” The paper makes it “pretty.”

Bake at 350° 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick or knife can spear it and come out clean.

Best served warm. My son says best served warm with ice cream.
Store in an airtight container for maximum freshness – or store in the oven on warm for the day. YUM!

Resource Credit Goes to:

I used the following links to cobble together the recipe above.


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Aple Cake, Apple Cake, Apple Spice Cake, Appple Cake, Fruit Cake, Paple Ckae, Spice Cake

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Jun 2013 (#)

Thanks, Mark!

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
19th Jun 2013 (#)

Oh that looks so delicious. I have several apple trees, some of which are great for eating, the rest we often feed to our sheep, but I am sure this fall we might think of saving some for this recipe!
Or I will have to come down there and get some from you.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Jun 2013 (#)

Yes, apples you'd prefer raw usually don't fare as well in pies and cakes. Luckily, I'm not as picky on that front. And absolutely -- if you wanted to bring your family down for some southern hospitality, you would find it (and cake!) here! Thanks again!

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author avatar Terry Trainor
19th Jun 2013 (#)

I'm on a diet Phyl and I love cake, all cakes but they have been banned from my house by evil people. Sounds beautiful thanks for sharing. Now I will think about cake all day!

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author avatar Delicia Powers
19th Jun 2013 (#)

...my grandmother-we called her Nana- made a spice apple cake...I never got the recipe...this sounds much like it and most wonderful, thanks Phyl!...

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Jun 2013 (#)

Terry -- SORRY -- is it still banned if it is fruit? Some people mentioned cutting the sugar or doing sugar-free substitutions. I live with 2 microwaves and my husband does most of the cooking. I make Krispy Rice Treats (but non-generic, if you understand) and this cake a few times a year. I'm so used to people turning their noses up at it, any comments that my baking looks good come as a surprise to me! Thanks!
Delicia -- I hope so! Mom's was in a yellow binder with a hard cover. The one my grandmother made was iced -- I wouldn't ever eat it. But however you like it, I'm glad it brought back some good memories and thanks for your comment!!

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author avatar Terry Trainor
20th Jun 2013 (#)

I'm allowed fruit Phyl but not in a pie or a tart or anything that is nice.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
19th Jun 2013 (#)

Oh no Phyl- my Nana never iced her spice cake...and the smell alone was sweet enough for me...LOL...your picture looks just like it...lovely-thanks again.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
19th Jun 2013 (#)


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