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The Apple Cake - Shivaya Naturals

The Apple Cake

October 6, 2010

The book The Apple Cake has been a favorite in our family for the past few years, and yesterday we had a special treat when Jacob read the book to Elwood and I (I do believe that this was the first time I have been read to since I myself was a child). It feels amazing to watch how reading opens a child’s world so fully, and their possibilities just seem to be truly endless.

I find it to be almost impossible to read that book and not immediately want a slice of warm apple cake. The descriptions are so yummy that you can almost smell the cinnamon and nutmeg pouring from the pages. I have stuck to the traditional recipe in the book ever since we began reading it, but this year I thought we needed a change.

The story behind the cake below begins rather randomly, with a discussion between Bernadette and I (through IM no less), on Blueberry Boy Bait. I had never heard of Blueberry Boy Bait until Bernadette mentioned that she had attempted to make a gluten, soy and egg free version the other day, and that it had come out beautiuflly except for the minor mishap of substituting baking soda for baking powder. I could see my sweet friend, hours after cleaning her kitchen from the chaotic mess that two children would leave behind in their baking endeavors, ready to sit down and quietly eat a slice of this perfect cake, only to discover that it has a rather problematic salty and metalic taste to it.

I wanted to give it a try, and after doing the Google search on the recipe, and then discovering a yummy sounding gluten free version, I decided that no matter how delicious it sounded blueberries were not at all what I was craving. It is, of course, Autumn, and Autumn calls for apples.

The recipe was too good to pass up, so I decided to adapt it to fit my tastebuds instead. The recipe did not need a huge amount of adaptation, but the addition of apples, fresh nutmeg and cinnamon did the trick and brought a true Fall feel to the plate.

I have to warn you that this cake went super quick. The lack of a strong sweetness made it even more appealing to almost everyone who came through our house yesterday, and by the time the evening was over we were left with about 1/3 of what we had started from.

We are only a few weeks into fall, but today calls for our first bit of cooler weather, and this cake comes at a perfect moment . It is time to break out the apple tea, light the apple candle, and indulge in everything fun that can be found in the Autumn season.

The Apple Cake – or Apple Boy Bait (not so sure that sounds right)

2/3 cup brown rice flour2/3 cup sweet white sorghum flour
2/3 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (I used freshly grated)
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey*
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
3 honey crisp, pink lady or other autumn apples, peeled, cored and diced.

ForThe Topping

1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspooon cinnamon

* the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of white sugar. I used a smaller amount of honey instead, and increased the baking time by 5 minutes. I liked it, but I can imagine that the regular sugar would help to ensure that the cake is not overly moist.

For the cake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk the flours, xanthan gum, salt, baking powder and spices. In a stand mixer, beat butter, brown sugar and honey on medium-high speed until fluffy and thick, about 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl, reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of the milk. Beat in another third of the flour, then remaining milk and finally the remaining flour. Gently fold in 1/2 of the apples. Spread batter into prepared pan.

For the topping:

Scatter apples over top of the batter. Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle over batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and place on serving platter.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah Jane October 6, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Looks delightful. Seriously wish I could nab a piece!


heirloomseasons October 6, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I love that book, it is so beautiful, but we do not have it, have only read it a few times at the Waldorf school. Now that we are not vegan anymore I could actually probably follow the original recipe..

Isn't it amazing to watch your child begin to read? And then the sweetness that follows, storytime to little sister/brother, that is a huge part of our lives now. We still have lots of family read aloud time, and still do bedtime story most nights, but that is then followed by even more reading, Chloe reads to Chessa until she falls asleep, and then reads to herself until who knows how late!

It is finally cooling down here too, it was not feeling at all like autumn. This morning it is pouring down rain!
Hope you have a beautiful cozy cuddly autumn day with your sweet little ones!


Keri October 6, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Thanks for sharing this recipe…looks delicious. Will be making this today with my son.
Just one question, you mention that you used fresh nutmeg but I don't see it in the recipe. How much did you use? And was it in the batter or the topping? Thanks so much.


Joy October 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

It looks delicious! We still need to make our apple cake for the year. We also love that book. 🙂


Linda October 6, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I am loving all the apple recipes that I am finding on my favourite blogs at the moment! Thank you so much Heather:) xo


kbernadette October 6, 2010 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for sharing this, my dear! From now on I'm going to mise en place to avoid any sad accidents! I'll let you know how it turns out without egg. 🙂


Lisa Q October 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm

I've not read that book….we'll have to make a run to the library to check it out. the cake looks delcious and I'm sure after i read the book, I'll have to make the cake. Thanks Heather!


Kelly October 6, 2010 at 6:41 pm

yum, sounds so good!


MamaBird October 6, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Hmmm… I want a piece right now with a chai tea latte! Looks & sounds devine.


Nina - Tabiboo October 6, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Blimey that does look good and I need all the help in finding different apple recipes at the moment.

Nina x


Unearthing This Life October 6, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Ooh, thanks for this one! My sister is going to love you both forever!!


imenesaid October 7, 2010 at 3:14 am

I love the baking/cooking mood your pregnancy is putting you in. I have to try this!!


Layne October 7, 2010 at 10:59 am

All these blogs with fresh apples are making me jealous; we don't get fresh apples this far down South…..but your cake will be almost as yummy with store bought apples!


clarice October 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

As I told you Heather we love that book. I will try your apple cake, on apple day. Thank you xoxo Clarice


kyndale October 7, 2010 at 2:35 pm

mmm, sounds good Heather!


jessica October 7, 2010 at 9:09 pm

We are going on our annual apple picking adventure next weekend and I will be bringing this cake to the apple harvest hoedown bonfire (oh, I do love fall…now off to a camping adventure…if I'm ever packed!)


bambinosteps October 8, 2010 at 4:18 am

This sounds so delicious! I made an apple crisp over the weekend but an apple cake is a must. And your photography is so, so beautiful and inspiring.


Polly October 8, 2010 at 4:39 am

Hi Heather!

I've been doing some research on xanthan gum, which is included in your recipe. On the ole wikipedia page it says that xanthan gum is used a lot in gluten free baking and then the next paragraph down it says it is made from either corn, wheat, or soy and should be avoided by those with gluten sensitivity.

Do you know anything about it?



Larissa October 8, 2010 at 8:17 pm

How cool that this awesome treat was inspired by a book! Your boys are so lucky to have such a wonderful mama/ teacher. We make a yogurt -oatmeal-apple cake all the time and it's our favorite dessert too.


kim October 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm

the cake looks soooooo delicious!


kerry October 10, 2010 at 4:10 am

How special to be read to by your boy! We haven't read that book. I'll have to keep my eyes open for it. We have a favorite apple cake recipe at my house too, passed on by my mom. I'm planning on making it for her this weekend.


Valarie October 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Oh my gosh, you just reminded me of this cake my mom use to make out of her homemade applesauce. I love your take on Bernadette's cake. It looks delicious and perfect for autumn. I will have to give this one a try.


Shawna October 14, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Thank you, thank you. We love the apple cake book, but I had yet to find a gluten-free recipe or the will to experiment. Now I can just go straight to making and enjoying.


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