Ah, fall. The start of the holiday baking season! There’s something about crisp air and freshly picked apples that makes you want to pull your favorite flannel out of the closet and start a whole new Pinterest board. Is Pinterest still a thing? Are we still doing that?

I have a bag of Granny Smiths ready to go, and this loaf cake is the perfect vessel for ol’ Granny to shine bright. If you don’t have Granny Smith, Cortland or Gala will do. Don’t use Red Delicious, though. Like for anything, ever. You deserve better than that.

2 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled and diced
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ tsp apple pie spice
½ cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the brown sugar, apple pie spice and cinnamon in a small bowl, set aside. Once apples are diced, toss them with 2 teaspoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and 2/3 cup sugar until fully incorporated. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between. Scrape down the bowl.  Add flour and baking powder, mix to combine.  Slowly add the milk and vanilla. Scrape down the bowl to make sure everything is fully combined.

Into a loaf pan prepared with nonstick spray or parchment paper lining, pour half the batter and spread to cover the whole bottom of the pan. Add half the apple mixture on top of that and half the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Layer the rest of the batter on top and then the rest of the apples and then cinnamon mixture. You can leave it this way, or if you want you can take a knife and swirl it around to mix the layers up a little bit. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, checking after 40 minutes with a toothpick or cake tester.

You could totally leave it at that, and maybe dust the cake with powdered sugar once it’s cooled, but if you want to really take this cake to another level, I present this cooked caramel glaze:

3 Tbsp brown sugar
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
½ tsp cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine the brown and granulated sugars, butter and heavy cream. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir until boiling has stopped. Whisk in vanilla and then add in powdered sugar and cinnamon and whisk until smooth. Pour over cake.

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