Fannie Farmer Apple Cake


It’s nice when things that don’t take much time accidentally turn out awesome, isn’t it?

When apples are in season, they make me want to bake – pies are nice in theory, but I’m not always in the mood to make one. An apple cake is a lovely thing, especially when it’s more apple than cake, and when you have a buttery dough you can stir together in a few minutes and know by heart, so that in spring it can be berry or rhubarb cake, in summer it can be a peach or plum cake. This is the sort of cake I like best – I think most days I’d choose this over a fancy chocolate tower held together with ganache.

(I also like using more than one kind of apple – you can see the difference here.)


This particular cake began its life as “cottage pudding” in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book, which makes me love it even more, but really it’s a pretty standard ratio of butter-sugar-egg-flour. Slicing the apples and pressing them into the batter sharp edge down makes for a pretty stunning cake, don’t you think? Even though it’s about as humble as they get.


This is the kind of cake I take comfort in having on the countertop to slice into wedges with coffee in the morning, to slice slivers off to nibble in the late afternoon, and to support a double scoop of ice cream anytime.


Fannie Farmer Apple Cake


October 29, 2016


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

1 large egg

2 apples

sugar, for sprinkling


1Preheat the oven to 350F.

2In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl or measuring cup, stir the butter, milk and egg. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Spread the batter into a buttered cake pan or pie plate.

3Peel the apples, core them and cut into quarters. Cut each quarter into three thick slices and stick them pointy side into the batter, fitting them together tightly. Sprinkle with sugar and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the cake is springy and golden. Serves 8.


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22 comments on “Fannie Farmer Apple Cake

  1. Shauna
    October 29, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Wow, so incredibly simple! I think this cake will be a game changer for me!

  2. Louise
    October 30, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Can’t decide what I like most…..the delish looking pie or the super cute dish! 🙂

  3. Kelsey Fast
    October 30, 2016 at 1:54 am

    Looks so delicious! I’m currently working my way through all the pies in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book. It’s a lot of work but I am learning so much! She has lots of tips and tricks in there and lots of unique recipes!

    • Julie
      November 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

      What a great idea Kelsey! I want to do that too!

  4. Katie C.
    October 30, 2016 at 6:56 am

    What size pan do you use?

    • Julie
      November 1, 2016 at 10:11 am

      I used a pie plate! But a 9-inch cake pan would work well too.

  5. Laura
    October 30, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    I was in my kitchen cooking sunday roast / reading blogs / thinking what’s for pudding when I saw your post and as I have a apples from my garden I made this cake and I served it with custard from a tin. It was delicious , thank you for sharing at the right time !

  6. Amy
    October 31, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Saving this recipe! Perfect for when apples are at their peak and you do not want to do too much to them!

  7. Susan
    October 31, 2016 at 12:23 pm

    I sprinkled “Moroccan Spiced Sugar” on mine (mostly because it was sitting on the counter). OMG. Yummmy.
    We do good things, Julie. ?

    • Julie
      November 1, 2016 at 10:06 am

      Ooh, that sounds awesome!!

  8. Jen
    November 7, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I clearly need to make more than just the drop biscuits from my Grannie’s Fanny Farmer cookbook!

  9. Rita
    November 11, 2016 at 11:32 am

    Still have apples left from a fundraiser box..looks so yummy. Think it would work with gluten free flour? Still use the same amount of flour and baking powder?

    • Julie
      November 14, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Hmm.. if it’s a gluten free flour blend it’s worth a try! Yes, I’d generally use the same quantity of flour and baking powder.

  10. Kathy
    December 16, 2016 at 10:43 am

    I made this yesterday when we had some friends over for dinner. Oh my goodness it was amazing and I’m definitely making this one again! It was perfect with vanilla ice cream. Everyone loved it! Thanks for such a yummy recipe!!

  11. Sarah
    January 6, 2017 at 9:31 pm

    The recipe calls for two apples. There’s about 3 in the photo. Did you have to increase the rest of the recipe when you increased the amount of apples? I can’t wait to try this!

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2017 at 11:37 am

      I reread the recipe and realized tgere are 2 apples cut into 12 slices each. They must be very big. I’m going to look for Fugi and Honeycrisp. I’m trying this today. I can hardly wait!

  12. Melba
    March 4, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Hi Julie, I just found your site and was inspired to try this recipe. I wanted something quick and easy to make while I baked my meatloaf. I used one pink lady apple as my husband doesn’t eat fruit : ( . He picked out the apples but, we both loved it and I will make it again. I sprinkled organic sugar, pink Himalayan salt, and Vietnamese cinnamon. It came out moist and delicious! Totally delightful!!
    I can’t wait to try your other recipes. Thank you so much.

    • Julie
      March 6, 2017 at 3:43 pm

      Yum, that sounds amazing! Now I want to make it again! 🙂

      • Melba
        March 7, 2017 at 8:39 am

        Thanks for your note! This a wonderful recipe and I’ve found more that I’d love to try. I’m going to make the falafel next. I love your recipes because you don’t have to be a chef to make these dishes and I felt proud it came out so delicious. Thank you again! : ) : )

      • Julie
        March 8, 2017 at 9:01 am

        Aw, you made my day Melba!

      • Melba
        March 8, 2017 at 8:36 pm

        And you made mine!!! I can only imagine how busy you are; so nice you took the time to even answer my note. Blessings to you and family.<3

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