Grandma Fran's Apple Bundt Cake ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grandma Fran's Apple Bundt Cake

Although my preference is always for chocolate desserts, lately I have been fantasizing about an apple bundt cake. I'd had this cake once when my husband and I were visiting his grandparents, Fran and Joe, in their spotless apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side many years ago. I liked it so much that I'd asked his Grandma Fran for the recipe which I then jotted down in a little spiral-bound notebook I keep for just such occasions.

Grandma Fran's Apple Bundt Cake

Fran's cooking reminded me a lot of my own Grandma Mary's repertoire -- simple, nourishing and delicious. Perhaps this holds true for all Jewish women who were raised in Brooklyn during the Depression era? Regardless, you could tell that both of these ladies had been cooking for a long time -- I never experienced a single culinary failure in either of their small, immaculate kitchens.

Basket of apples bound for the press by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2010

Below is the simple recipe. I left out both the walnuts (my husband dislikes them) and the raisins (we both dislike them in baked goods) but feel free to add them in or not as you see fit. This is a very easy dessert--the most time-consuming piece is preparing the apples and even that is not bad at all. It also happens to be a completely dairy-free dessert if you are lactose-challenged.

Grandma Fran's Apple Bundt Cake

Fran's Apple Bundt Cake


* 2 cups flour plus a little more for the cake release
* 2 tsps baking soda
* 2 tsps baking powder
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1/2 tsp allspice
* 1/2 tsp nutmeg
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 4 free range, organic eggs
* 1 cup vegetable oil
* 3 large organic apples, peeled and cut into small pieces (1/2 inch or so)
* 1 tsp lemon zest (try to use an organic lemon)
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
* handful of raisins or currants (optional)
* Little butter for greasing the bundt pan (you can use a cooking spray if you're trying to avoid lactose)


1. Preheat oven to 370. Sift dry ingredients together in a small bowl.

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat the eggs, and then add the oil, sugar, vanilla, apples, lemon zest, walnuts and raisins (if you're using raisins and nuts.) Mix well and then add the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.

3. Butter the bundt pan thoroughly and evenly then pour in a few teaspoons of flour and roll the pan around over the sink to coat the surface evenly with the flour. Once it's well-coated with flour, turn the pan upside-down over the sink and rap the pan with your knuckles to remove any excess flour--this is called a "cake release" and will help prevent the cake from sticking to the pan once it's cooked.

4. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45-60 minutes or until tested done. To test for doneness, stick either a clean sharp knife or a bamboo skewer, etc., in--if it comes out clean, the cake is done, if any batter clings to it, it needs more time.

5. Let cool then remove from pan by turning upside down on a plate or platter and rapping it with your knuckles, hopefully it should slide right out onto the plate. Then dust the cake with either confectioners sugar or cinnamon sugar and serve. Goes nicely with some ice cream or whipped cream.

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Anonymous said...

I made this cake today. It turned out spectacular!! I used Jonagold apples. I sprinkled some walnuts in the bottom of the pan before adding the batter. It was the first bundt cake that I ever made that slipped right out of the pan! Thank you. Great recipe!!!

Miri said...

I had high hopes for this cake, but it was disappointing. Perhaps the 370 temp is a misprint? By 30 minutes baking time, the top of the cake was overbrowned while the batter was still unbaked. I finally took it out when I was afraid of burning the whole thing, and the middle is still pretty gooey. The flavor is decent, but nothing to write home about.

Eve Fox said...

Hi Miri,
So sorry to hear that your cake did not turn out well. The 370 was not a typo - I just checked Fran's recipe and it says 360-370 for an hour or until tested done. I baked mine at 370 for about 50 minutes and it turned out perfectly. and it does not seem as if the other commenter had any issues with over and under-doneness.

Did you use a bundt pan? I was a little confused about what you said about the top being burned since the top in a bundt pan is the bottom.

In any case, I'm sorry to hear that it did not turn out well. If you wanted to try it again, I'd suggest cooking it at a lower temp for longer.

Sara said...

This cake looks great! I really love using apples in baked goods...makes them so moist and delicious! :)