Old Fashioned Apple Cake – in Muffin Tins!

Hi all, it’s Tuesday again and now that I’m totally recovered from my MAN-ic Monday fit, I’m ready to get happy with a big batch of my Old Fashioned Apple Cake – in Muffin tins!

Uh huh, I usually make this cake when I have at least a bushel of apples sitting in my nice cool garage, waiting to be turned into applesauce, apple butter, apple pies and this apple cake.  Sadly, apples fresh from the orchard are much harder to find out here in Idaho than they were in New England, so nowadays I settle for a few huge bags of them from our local farmers market.

I guess it’s a good thing, from the perspective of my ever widening waistline, so I chose to focus on just a few good apple desserts for the freezer and try hard not to think about all the orchards of apples sitting on the other side of the country.

The first and freshest apples go into my freezer as apple pies.  Then the next batch of apples turns into applesauce and apple butter. 

On the third wave of apple frenzy in my kitchen, I make these Old Fashioned Apple Cakes.  These freeze perfectly and are fantastic to serve for a quick coffee cake, late night snack or… if you’re anything like me… as lunch.  Yep, no need to bother with sandwiches, salads or soups, I just grab a piece of this cake and I’m good to go till dinner time. (and happy too!)

Old Fashioned Apple Cake - in Muffin Tins

After I’m done making several of these cakes, eating one and freezing the rest, I use the last of my apples to make Apple Crisp.  I’ll be sharing THAT recipe next week – so stay tuned if you love apple crisp!

Oopsie, I digressed again, didn’t I?!  Now, of course, there’s a story behind this apple cake… there’s nearly always a story when it comes to the recipes that I love best, and those are the ones that I share on this blog.  Got your coffee?  Sitting comfortably?  Good..here goes…

I was working for a large insurance company in Massachusetts back in 1989.  I loved the small group of dental techs I worked with!  We were smushed together in a tiny corner of the large corporate building and built close relationships.  Being so close, and being an all female group meant that we invented reasons to celebrate our work days with food.  We had parties just for the sake of having a party!  Everyone would bring a themed dish and at break time we’d gather in a huddle and ooh and aah about how delicious everything tasted… then we’d share the recipes and go home to make them for our families.

That year we had a “Fall Apple Party”.  All of us brought something that either included apples in the dish or that would pair with apples.

The recipe for this old fashioned apple cake came from a woman who lived on a farmstead.  She told us that she harvested bushels and bushels of apples with her Mom and her sister each year and that they made several dozen of these cakes for the freezer after they’d gotten tired of making pies and applesauce.  One bite of the cake and I was madly in love!  The top crust is thin and crunchy, the middle of the cake is moist and dense and the bottom of the cake has a wonderful thick, crunchy crust.  What’s not to love, right? 

I dashed home and whipped up one of these cakes from her recipe that night after work, and my kids fell in love with it…in fact, there wasn’t even a crumb left in the pan the next morning.  So that weekend we went out to the local orchard for our annual apple picking and brought home an extra bushel of apples (Green River apples, which, if you’ve never had them are to die for) just so that we could bake these cakes.

And now it’s 2014 and I have no reason to bake dozens of these cakes anymore <insert a small sob here>

But, in keeping with Tim’s request for all desserts to be in small, bite sized portions these days, I decided to try making one of these cakes in a muffin tin.  It worked – sorta!  They aren’t the prettiest muffins you’ll ever see, but the top crust is still thin and crispy and the middle is nice and dense and moist, so I’m calling them a moderate success. 

No matter what though, you simply MUST make this cake – you’re going to love it, but trust me, you’ll be much happier if you put the batter into a 9×13 baking pan! 

Here are the ingredients:

Old Fashioned Apple Cake Ingredients

I’m using Granny Smith apples because my faves, Green River Apples, only grow near the Green River, and I don’t live anywhere near the Green River anymore.  The rest of the ingredients are pretty basic and you don’t need a mixer for this cake, just a whisk and a wooden spoon.

First up, preheat the oven to 350F, then whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl.  Add the oil and whisk again.


Once the eggs and oil are smooth and happy, add the sugar:


And whisk one more time till it’s thick and creamy:


Now set that aside for a minute or five, and take the time to peel, core and chop your apples.  You want at least 2 cups of chopped apples!  They’ll turn a bit brown on the edges while they sit in the measuring cup, but that’s ok for this recipe.

These are some of my favorite kitchen helpers. They're Dang Good and I love 'em!

Chopped Granny Smith Apples

Back to the cake batter – add the flour to the bowl, but don’t stir it in yet.  Top the flour with the cinnamon…  no stirring…yet….


Then add the salt…hmmm, I have no idea why that salt looks so streaky and weird, but trust me, that really is salt!  So add that, but don’t stir yet…


…and add the baking soda…


Then whisk the dry ingredients a couple of times, being careful not to dig too deeply into the bowl, since you don’t want to whisk in any of the wet ingredients just yet.  When you’re done whisking the dry ingredients on top it should look like this:


And NOW you can whisk or stir it all together to make a thick, dark brown, batter:


Don’t over mix the batter, just whisk or stir till it’s thick and smooth.  It will look a lot like caramel at this point.  Once that’s done, add the apples and stir with a wooden spoon to mix them in. 


And that’s it, you’re ready to spoon it into a 9×13 baking pan, or, if you’re brave like me, scoop it into muffin tins.


Yep, I kinda overfilled two of the tins, and didn’t get enough actual batter into 3 more…too many apples, not enough batter is not a good thing.  Thank goodness you’ll be baking this in a 9×13 pan and won’t have to worry about the proportion of apples to batter, right?


Now bake at 350F for 45 minutes, then be sure to let the cake cook before you slice it.  It doesn’t have to be completely cool, but if you try to dig in while it’s hot, it’ll fall apart.  Ohhh, and this cake tastes even better the next day because the apples develop flavor through out the cake…

Old Fashioned Apple Cake - In Muffin Tins

Old Fashioned Apple Cake - in Muffin Tins!
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
I made this cake in muffin tins for the first time this year. I still prefer the larger cake, but the muffins also taste great!
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Apples
Serves: 12
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups Apples - I like Macintosh or Granny Smiths
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch cake pan.
  2. Peel, core and dice the apples. Set aside. You can sprinkle a little lemon juice on them if you don't want them to turn brown, but for this recipe, the brown discoloration isn't noticeable in the final cake.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and eggs until light and smooth. Add sugar and whisk again till smooth.
  4. Add flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda to the bowl. Stir well with a whisk or wooden spoon, not your mixer, because the batter is quite thick. Fold in the prepared apples, then spread the batter into the baking pan.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes or until the cake is browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake has moist crumbs on it when you remove it.
  6. This cake needs to cool before slicing since it's a VERY moist cake.



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