This cake recently popped up on my instagram feed and I was intrigued. Only 4 ingredients? And no fat? I had quite a few apples in the fridge, and although they all had good flavor, there were a few that were a little softer than I like to eat out of hand - perfect for baking with! (These were Zester apples, they really had fantastic apple flavor, like really good apple cider, they were just not as crisp as I would have hoped.)
So I grabbed my 4 ingredients and whipped together this simple cake. It was super easy, and I thought the end result was quite beautiful in a rustic way. They only small changes I made were to add a little bit of spice (cinnamon mainly, a touch of allspice and cardamom as well) and to grate the apple instead of cutting into chunks. I don’t typically like chunks of apple in my baked goods, I don’t like biting into a semi-soft apple piece, I prefer the apple to melt into the bread and impart flavor and moisture without altering the texture of the bread.
The grated apple seemed to work great. I had no issues at all, it baked up great, had great flavor and texture. Since there is no fat in this recipe it does have more of a springy texture, and ended up being just a little “sticky” on the outside, a little reminiscent of angle food cake which makes sense. The flavor is definitely sweet because there is not fat to balance it out, but not in a bad way. It is a little “eggy” as well for the same reason. I did not find the flavor to be extremely apple-y either even with 4 grated apples either.
I definitely recommend pairing the cake with some kind of fat; lightly whipped cream, plain yogurt, or vanilla ice cream. Whipped cream or yogurt are really nice because the contrast between the sweet cake and the not sweet topping is perfect. But sweet ice cream is certainly not a problem either!
Overall, a fun recipe to try for the fall, especially with extra apples hanging around. I would definitely make again for the right occasion.
Easy Apple Cake
Unsalted butter, at room temperature, or oil for greasing the pan
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (213 grams) light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Granny Smith apples (about 198 grams or 7 ounces each) - I used 4 zester apples, 600 grams total prior to grating which equalled 475 grams of grated apple
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (134 grams) white whole-wheat flour
Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter the bottom (but not the sides) of an 8-inch springform pan.
Combine the eggs, light brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on low, then raise the speed to medium-high, and beat for about 8 minutes, until the mixture is a pale tan in color and super fluffy.
While that’s going, peel the apples, then cut them into ½-inch pieces (they don’t have to be perfect cubes but they should all be a similar size). This should yield about 4 cups of apple pieces. Or grate the apples on a box grater. No need to peel.
When the egg-sugar mixture is done mixing, remove the bowl from the stand mixture and add the flour. Use a flexible spatula to gently fold in the flour until it’s almost incorporated. Add the apples and fold those in, too. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is browned and a cake tester comes out completely clean. I checked my cake after 1 hour and it was completely done. So watch your cake closely, and check early. Cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake, and unhinge the outside.
Serve the cake in big wedges, warm or at room temperature, with confectioners’ sugar dusted on top, and crème fraîche (or whipped cream or Greek yogurt) plopped alongside. This is best the day it’s made.