Alison Holst’s Apple and Cinnamon Cake

9:00 pm on 29 August 2005


Although this delicious cake contains no butter and only a very small amount of oil, it is moist and well flavoured, as well as easy to make. Serve warm for dessert or cold in packed lunches.


Cake base:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp oil, canola or other
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  • 2 medium sized apples (Braeburn and Granny Smith are good varieties)
  • ½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans or lightly roasted hazelnuts)
  • Optional Butterscotch Sauce/Topping:
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract or essence
  • 50g butter


Heat the oven to 180°C with the rack at or a little below the middle.

Line the bottom and sides of 20cm square cake tin with 2 strips of baking paper, each

20 cm by about 30cm.

Finely chop whatever nuts you are going to use. If using hazelnuts, lightly brown these in the prepared cake tin while the oven is heating. Check them every minute or so, removing them when they are lightly browned and smell toasted (usually after 3 or 4 minutes). Put the prepared nuts aside.

Measure the first four cake ingredients into a sieve over a medium to large mixing bowl. (Use the larger amount of cinnamon for a stronger flavour). Shake these through the sieve into the bowl, add the sugar and mix evenly together. Put aside.

In a smaller bowl, mix the eggs, oil and vanilla together with a fork or a whisk. Put aside.

Core, but don’t peel, the apples then chop them into very small cubes, no bigger than green peas. To stop the cubes browning, stir them into the egg mixture as soon as you have chopped them. (If you have one, it is faster to finely chop the roughly chopped unpeeled apples into similarly small pieces in two or three batches, in a food processor. Do not turn them into puree however, nor grate them). Stir the chopped nuts into the apple mixture.

Now add all the egg and apple mixture to the dry ingredients and fold the two mixtures together. At first the mixture will seem very dry but it becomes wetter as you mix it.

Turn the mixture into the prepared baking tin and spread it evenly.

Bake for about 30 minutes – until the centre springs back when pressed.

Turn the cake upside down on a cooling rack, lift off the tin and the lining paper and leave the cake to cool (this stops the bottom from being soggy). When cold it may be covered and refrigerated up to a week.

Serve warm or reheated, in 6 or 8 slices, for dessert. If you like, top each serving with a scoop of vanilla ice-icecream and a few spoonfuls of Butterscotch Sauce, and perhaps some extra chopped nuts.

Or serve cold, un-iced or with a lemon or chocolate butter icing, as a cake in packed lunches, etc. Or serve cold (but not in packed lunches) topped with an icing made from half the recipe for the butterscotch sauce, although this mixture may look rather liquid, it should keep its shape.

Optional butterscotch sauce - topping:

Make this while the cake bakes. In a small non-stick fry-pan, thoroughly mix together the dark brown sugar and the flour. Add the vanilla and water and mix until smooth. Add the butter and stir over moderate heat until the mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Cover and let cool. Serve warm (or reheated) as sauce, or make half the mixture and spread it over the cold cake as icing. (It will remain moist and shiny).

Note: This is not a tall cake, it should be only 3 - 4 cm high depending on the size of the apples.

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