Baking with apples, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg...is there anything that says fall season more? I don't think so, and this apple tea cake isn't just delicious, it is incredibly simple to make too. A light and tender cake recipe that brings all the best of the fall season in one easy cake. And bonus, it goes perfect with a warm cup of tea.
There are certain things that make your house smell amazing when baking. Pumpkin pie, banana bread and this apple tea cake are all things that make your house smell like fall. The warm and comforting spices definitely have something to do with it.
Why are they called tea cakes?
Probably for the same reason for calling coffee cakes, coffee cakes - lol. Tea cakes were invented in Great Britain as a snack to have with afternoon. This apple tea cake recipe is light and tender, and super moist. The cinnamon and nutmeg lend themselves perfectly to a nice cup of tea.
What is the best apple to bake with?
For me, the best apple to bake with is a Granny Smith. But here is a general shortlist of great apples for baking:
- Granny Smith
- Pink Lady
A few things to factor when baking with apples for this apple tea cake...
- Whatever apple you choose, it needs to be crisp. It has to have a firm crisp texture to hold its shape when baking. This doesn't just go for this apple tea cake recipe either. Any baking, pies, crisps, cakes, use a crisp apple.
- Pick apples that are in their peak season. While apple season is fall, not every apple hits its peak at the same time. This article has an excellent guide on apple harvest season and which month is peak for which kind of apple.
- Don't pick underripe apples. Just because I said to use a firm apple, doesn't mean use a hard underripe apple. You will end up with a flavorless apple. When baking with apples, I always know what kind of apple I want to use first and then pick the ripest ones of that kind.
How do you know if an apple is ripe?
Simple, an apple is ripe when it smells like an apple. I know that sounds stupid simple, but it is the truth. You want to be baking with apples that smell like apples, cause they'll taste like apples too!
This light and tender apple tea cake recipe comes together super quick with a minimal ingredient list.
- Sugar. Just the plain old white stuff
- Spices. I mean, you're baking with apples, I feel like the spices you want to use should be obvious, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. You can actually use any of the warm fall spices you really like. Ginger and allspice would also be great in this cake recipe
- Baking powder
Tips for success
There are a few things that really make this apple tea cake stand out above others
- Oil instead of butter. I am a huge fan of oil-based cakes - I think they have a better texture. Don't get me wrong butter is the master of most things baking, but oil gives cakes a better texture, plus it is easier to use.
- Beating the sh-t out of the eggs and sugar. When you read the recipe you will think I am f'ing with you when I say beat the eggs and sugar first for 15 solid minutes on high in a stand mixer (or a hand mixer if you don't have a stand mixer). I am not f'ing with you, I promise. And if you don't do this you are an idiot and I cannot be responsible for your cake (or how ungood it is). This step adds a sh-t ton of volume into this cake. And with a mass amount of apples and oil as the fat, it needs volume. Do not skip this step.
- Slice the apples thin. Real f'ing thin. I have an apple peeler/corer/slicer which makes this part easy for me. And while peeling the apple isn't necessary (if you want to skip this part bc go for it, if I am slicing apples by hand I leave skin on), thinly slicing it is very necessary...it allows the apples to almost melt into the cake. Additionally it makes cutting this cleaner and neater.
What to serve with this cake
I like to keep it simple and dust the top with a little white sugar and cinnamon, but you could most certainly make a crumble topping or struesel topping. And even better...you could serve this warm with this apple cider caramel sauce (it is seriously amazing)...that would be spectacular.
And also, do I really need to say it? Apple tea cake should be served with a warm and comforting cup of tea! Chai tea, is my personal favorite!
- Stand mixer
- 7 apples peeled, cored and sliced
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- 4 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 4 teaspoon white sugar
- 3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. Whisk together flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and baking powder.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs and sugar for 15 minutes on high speed with an electric mixer or a hand mixed - MAKE SURE TO DO THE FULL 15 MINUTES. Add the oil and beat until fully incorporated.
- Add dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in apples. Pour batter into the pan.
- Mix the cinnamon and sugar teaspoons and sprinkle over the cake.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour. After 50 minutes check the cake - if a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean, the cake is finished.