Last weekend I attempted a healthy pumpkin bread with a swirl of cottage cheese cheesecake (let me give you a tip: it was not good). It was wrong. So wrong. Pumpkin is over.
But apples: those ladies never seem to go out of style. And thanks to a large bag of chopped apples left over from volunteering, a new bundt pan and a non-new lust for cake, I made this cake this past weekend. (And thank the heavens I made the cake this past weekend instead of the weekend before that, when my baking mojo went seriously missing. We’re talking two failed batches of cake, two failed batches of pancakes and the above bread that shall not be mentioned again.)
THIS CAKE. Not only did it come out of the pan completely unscathed (grease AND flour that pan, lady!), it was the kind of cake you take a bite of and then squeal. Or at least I did. This cake is almost pure indulgence aside from the whole grains (and the fact that it’s butter-free, if you’re into that), mostly because I wanted to christen my new bundt pan with a success and well, this was a resounding one. Erik, unsolicited, declared it one of the best things I’d ever made. I brought him a slice while he was studying at school and he literally wolfed it down while talking to me through the window of my car, commenting on the “amazing texture” (I used the H-E-B brand of whole wheat flour which has visible specks of wheat, which I think makes everything taste deliciously grainy) and overall deliciousness.
Far from a soft, spongy cake, there’s a earnest heartiness from the whole wheat that verges on crumbly, especially where the layer of soft, cinnamon-spiced apples break up the layers of honey-apple cake. It’s sort of has the same bready crumb as those really indulgent, delicious whole wheat loaves–but I’m talking bready in the BEST way–light as a cloud, with explosive flavor the the way you hope all bready cakes could grow up to be. Because this flavor really does cause eyes to roll back into heads. And multiple slices to be eaten. And happy people.
Since I thought I had reduced the sugar from the recipe I was adapting, I worried the cake wouldn’t be sweet enough and doused it in two types of warmed glaze: a simple powdered sugar + milk glaze and a cinnamon-spiked glaze. Warming the glaze is a trick I learned from Sally’s Baking Addiction that causes the glaze to set so you get that crackly top when you bite/slice in.
Turns out, I didn’t reduce the sugar very much after all, and I think you could dial back the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar to 4-6 tablespoons (still adding the honey + brown sugar). You could also reduce the sugar by topping the cake with a modest sprinkle of powdered sugar. But then you would miss out on the crunchy sugary edges that crackle like sand when you cut yourself a slice, otherwise known as the most delicious part of the cake. Moderation, my friends.
Apple Pie Bundt Cake
- For the apple pie filling:
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups diced apples I used a mix of Granny Smith and gala
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- For the cake:
- 2.5 cups whole wheat flour
- ¾ cup oat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- scant ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ cup applesauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 eggs
- 6 tablespoons almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- For the glaze:
- ½-1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk
- pinch of cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Aggressively. (Nothing is sadder than a broken bundt cake.)
- In a medium frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once browned, add the apples, brown sugar and flour and cook over medium heat until apple are softened and starting to caramelize. Add a splash of water if the apples start to get dry. Once the apples are softened, remove from heat and let cool.
- Whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, sugars, applesauce, honey, eggs, almond milk and vanilla. Whisk very well to combine all the wet ingredients, then fold into the dry ingredients. Stir only until combined—do not overmix!
- Pour half of batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with apple pie filling, then pour the rest of the batter on top—the pan will only be filled about halfway. Alternatively, you can fold the apple pie filling into the batter so it disperses evenly before pouring the batter in. This may help the slices crumble less towards the bottom.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is firm and a tester comes out clean.
- Let cool while you make the glaze. In a microwave safe bowl or in a pot, combine the powdered sugar, milk and cinnamon if using. Add more or less milk/powdered sugar until you reach a consistency you like. Microwave the mixture for 15 seconds or heat it over low heat on the stove until warm--this will create a glaze that hardens on top of your cake. Drizzle over the cake and serve!
So, I gotta tell ya, my house is smelling healthy-yet-yummy right now. The wheat and apple aromas…just divine.
As I was making the cake, I noticed that the batter was super thick. To avoid over-mixing, I folded the wet batter into the dry ingredients, but it was still too thick to really spread in the pan. The plops of batter that I dropped on top seem like they won’t smooth out before it’s done. Is this expected? Thanks! (I realize that this is an older post for you, but a response would be greatly appreciated, if possible)
P.S. Sally’s Baking Addiction is my favorite food blog. I love seeing her get mentioned on other blogs. It makes me feel like we’re all baking sisters!
Hi JoAnn! I do remember this batter being pretty thick, but I think it should bake up okay. Let me know if it doesn’t–great excuse to make this again and re-test!! 🙂 And yes, Sally is so great! Baking sisters for life!
Selena @ thenutritiouskitchen.com
The fact that I happen to have ALL these ingredients it’s probably a sign that I have to/NEED to make this!!
Kaylie @ Skinny Muffin
Ironically, I just made “Power Pumpkin Waffle/Pancake” mix. Total fail. Egg whites + cinnamon + protein powder + pumping = disaster. Didn’t work as waffles OR pancakes. We make them at my work but I clearly had the proportions wrong. So, yes, out with the pumpkins and in with the apples. I got honeycrisps for $1.29/lb at an ethnic food store vs. $4.99 at Harris Teeter so I have definitely been enjoying apples! Love your enthusiasm and ability to make cakes after failures. I become instantly cranky and throw in the towel post-failure.
Oh no!!! Those sound like they would be so healthy + delicious–so sad they failed!! That is an AMAZING deal for honeycrisps, go you! And I totally get cranky after baking failures…it took me a week+ to get over the last batch of EXTREME FAILURES hahaha.
Lan | morestomach
i don’t have a bundt pan, it’s something that i’ve always said i’d get, but never do. but i do adore me a slice of bundt cake with coffee in the AM.
kudos for you for getting back into the baking kick, despite some set backs.
Thanks for stopping by, Lan! Funnily enough, a bundt pan was never really on my list…but I couldn’t pass up a $5 one at Goodwill!
Sometimes I just *need* that weekend of losing my baking mojo to kick my butt back into full gear–my friends never believe me when I tell them about all the failed recipes I have to sift through and wax creative with (cake balls and bread pudding = a gal’s BFF), but that can be enough to spark some great accidental pieces-de-resistance. The heartiness of this cake looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ll have to keep this on my recipe file!
You know what–there might be some truth to that! Even though in the moment, I was like “dude. I should give up this blogging thing.” This past weekend, I was DETERMINED and then all of the sudden I was on fire! It felt great. You’re totally right–total silver lining right there. Thanks Ala <3
Ughhh don’t you HATE those weekends? There is nothing like the dejection that comes from a baking fail weekend (especially when you look back at all the hours of baking, and those cups of flour, and the detritus that is your entire kitchen, and realize you have nothing to show for it. … I’m getting dejected just thinking about it.) But inevitably the next weekend one of these miracles comes along!! 🙂 And this looks SO SO GOOD. I loveee that shot of the drizzle too. And how moist that cake looks… and how cleanly it came out of the pan! So much to love. Thanks for sharing this gem, Erika!
Yuppp. And then you’re like, do I throw this away? Do I try to salvage it? I DON’T KNOW!!
Oh you, appreciating all the little things here. You’re the best <3
Katie (The Muffin Myth)
Yum! I love apple cake (and bundt bans). I have an applesauce cake that is my grandmother’s recipe and I’ve been meaning to give it a makeover for ages. It’s from the 70’s so it’s all about shortening and white sugar, but I think I can health it up considerably without losing it’s flavour. Definitely something I should make soon! I’ve never considered making it in a bundt pan, or icing it, but there ya go! Thanks for the inspiration.
Oooh I love healthy makeovers of family recipes! Do it do it!!
Yum yum! I so want to try a piece of this because it looks fantastic and I love cake and apple pie and apple pie filling and because I want to see if my eyes will roll back into my head. I’m so glad you got back into your baking groove to make this beautiful thing happen because I really want to make this happen in my kitchen right meow (or soon enough anyways!)
LOL you’re the best <3 You should meet my friend Lilly...she has the BEST eye roll. And this is perfect running fuel, just saying (I had the best kickboxing workout of my life after eating...ahem. *several* pieces 😉
Kayle (The Cooking Actress)
Mmmmmmmmm–this would be a big hit over here!
As would your pb breakfast cookies!!
Aaah! I would totally take a bite of this cake and squeal! Love the wholesome grains, honey and fruit… plus who wouldn’t get excited about apple and cinnamon pie in a healthy package!! Yum. Just yum, Erika! Love the photos too, they’re gorgeous. I need to get me a bundt pan! xxx
P.S sorry to hear about the pumpkin cheesecake filled failure. It sounds nice, not sure what went wrong with it… but yeah, maybe the pumpkin died a natural death!
Aww you’re the best Laura–you get me! If we were neighbors I would toootally loan you my bundt pan all the time. There just aren’t enough occasions to make bundt cakes!
And thanks, I think the pumpkin did die a natural death. That and trying to make it too healthy…sigh. Just fail.
Yum!!! This looks amazing! Totally up my alley!
Thanks Michelle! 🙂
Shikha @ Shikha la mode
I love bundt cakes! Anything bundt-like looks and tastes a million times better. Also, who is taking these action shots of icing?!
Haha yes! Normally I’m all about the layer cakes but I couldn’t resist that gorgeous pan for $5. And that would be me and my tripod 😉
The Vegan 8
Oh me too, girl with lots of trials in the kitchen, haha! I hate days like that and feel like a failure, but my hubby quickly reminds me that without failure, you can’t know success! Speaking of success, this cake is GORGEOUS…seriously, you make the most beautiful cakes girl. I’m loving it and imagining the wonderful flavors…I absolutely love apples, they are my favorite fruit! Of course, cinnamon is like my favorite, I would increase this to a tablespoon because I just can’t get enough of the spice…no lie, I consume cinnamon daily 🙂
Wise words from the hubby 🙂 Thanks so much Brandi 🙂
Natasha @ The Cake Merchant
I’m drinking coffee right now and thinking how much better my afternoon would be if I had a slice of this. I know what you mean about the crunchy sugary topping- it makes the whole cake! And of course, gorgeous photos as always. I love the one with the drizzling glaze!
And now I’m sitting here thinking how much better my morning would be if I were eating this cake right now. !!! Thanks lady 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
I am glad your mojo is back and running my friend! Mine has been gone because of pure laziness – but I definitely want to try your delicious new recipe now 😀
Choc Chip Uru
Apples truly don’t ever go out of style! And this cake won’t either. Wow, it looks so good! Bundt pans make all cakes more fun! 😉
Nancy @ gottagetbaked
Oy, I hear ya on losing baking mojo. I’ve been feeling that way lately with a few epic fails in the kitchen. Thank goodness you got your mojo back because this cake looks amazing! Sooooo pretty. I love bundt cakes and I’m always so thrilled when they come out whole. The Husband would looooooove this cake with all those big, juicy chunks of apple. Beautiful photos, girl! I wish I lived closed enough to come over for a slice or four.
Thank goodness you got YOUR mojo back because those cupcakes? A-mazing. I’m making my brother a cake for his Eagle Scout ceremony and I think I’m going to use your frosting!!! It just looks so amazing.
I wish you + your man could come over for the rest of this cake!!
This cake sounds pretty amazing.