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Our version of a popular New England apple cake

Posted by Sheryl Julian  September 17, 2013 11:41 AM

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Many communities have cakes whose recipes are passed around and around. The confections in New England typically contain blueberies or apples. In the case of apples, some of the cake batter is spooned into the pan, a layer of apples goes on top, then another layer of cake. For the version pictured here, a crumb topping covers the round.

Boston Globe Food contributor Jean Kressy sent in this cake, which has just about everything a simple farmhouse confection should: tender crumb, moist apples, and a crunchy, buttery walnut topping.

This apple recipe and many more are in tomorrow's paper. Here it is, in case you have baking apples on hand and can't wait.

Apple crumb cake

Makes one 9-inch cake



1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup walnuts, chopped


1. In a bowl, combine the flour, granulated and brown sugars, and butter.

2. With your fingers or 2 blunt knives, cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Add the walnuts and toss well.



2 large baking apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon flour

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. In a bowl, combine the apples, granulated sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

2. Toss well.



Butter (for the pan)

Flour (for the pan)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup buttermilk

Confectionersí sugar (for sprinkling)


1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle the pan with flour and tap out the excess.

2. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to blend them.

3. In an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the butter and granulated sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla.

4. With the mixer set on its lowest speed, blend in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Spread about 2/3 of the batter in the pan. Arrange the apple mixture on top. Drop the remaining batter over the apples and spread with a spatula. Some fruit will not be covered; thatís OK. Sprinkle the crumbs on top.

5. Bake the cake for 55 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectionersí sugar and cut into wedges. Jean Kressy for The Boston Globe 

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

The Recipe Box Project:

If you want to contribute a recipe to The Recipe Box Project, please write it below. Also tell us where you got it (package box, cookbook, mom, friend -- include the name). We're looking for the kinds of dishes that people grew up on, that were served at family suppers, that tell a story, that are typically New England, or that you brought with you from a far away place to New England. We will print one of the recipes in the Food section once a month. To ask any questions, write to Debra Samuels, who is overseeing this project, at To discuss your recipes, click here.