Grandmother’s apple cake


My first memories of cooking aren’t about cooking at all. My memories are focused on the food that I enjoyed. More accurately, they’re all about my grandmother’s food.

I don’t exactly remember when I started to pay attention to how my grandmother managed to get that delicious food on the table, but I do remember following her around her tiny kitchen from a young age. First it was just to spend time with her and to help her, but that soon turned into asking questions and learning from her.

She inspired me to cook and to bake, and to collect recipes. My own recipe collection is filled with with recipes and handwritten notes that I took from her kitchen. Mostly these are about dishes she used to make for my mum and I .

One of the loose notes I took was a small page which had a list of ingredients on them, followed by short instructions on what to do with them.

The recipe below is my interpretation of my grandmother’s notes as they form the basis of what is now my favourite apple cake. I assure you that this recipe has been tested with love many times already, and I hope you enjoy the cake as much as I do!

Grandmother’s apple cake

Preparation time: 15 to 20 minutes.
Baking time: 1 hour.
Resting time: 30 minutes.

Special tools: Oven, baking tin, baking paper.


  • 200 grams boter
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 250 grams flour (you can also use 250 grams of self-raising flour, in which case you won’t need the baking soda).
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 sachet of vanilla sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 apples (If they are small, make it four)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: 2 stroopwafels (Dutch caramel waffles), in pieces


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line the baking tin with the baking paper.
  2. Measure the flour, butter and sugar as per the measurements in the ingredients list above.
  3. Peel the apples and remove the cores. Cut the apples in wedges of no more than half a centimetre.
  4. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Keep them separated.

Making the cake batter

  1. Melt the butter in a sauce pan. Take care not to brown the butter – it only needs to melt. Use a microwave if you find that easier.
  2. Mix the vanilla sugar and regular sugar with the melted butter.
  3. Stir the egg yolks, milk and salt through the butter mix.
  4. Mix the baking soda with the flour. Slowly fold the flour through the butter mix to create the cake batter.
  5. Add a few drips of water to the egg whites. Whisk until it forms a foam and slowly fold through the cake batter.

Layering and baking the cake

  1. Pour half of the cake batter into the lined baking tin. Add a row of apple wedges on top. Pour the remaining batter on top. Add a final row of apple wedges on the top of the batter and push them down into the batter (not too deep – about halfway).

Optional: My boyfriend loves making this into a stroopwafel-appelcake. If you fancy this, sprinkle pieces of stroopwafel on top of the cake before putting it in the oven.

  1. Place the baking tin in the preheated oven for at least one hour.

The cake is done if you can pierce through it with a skewer (or small knife) and the skewer comes out dry (note that the skewer can look moist because of the apple juices – this is normal but you shouldn’t get any unbaked pieces of batter on your skewer).

Leave the cake to rest in the tin for at least 10 minutes before you take it out of the baking tin (pull it from the sides of the baking paper to take it out of the tin when ready). I’d suggest you leave the cake resting for another 20 minutes before indulging, to ensure the cake becomes firm enough and the apple pieces don’t fall out.

Was it yummy?

Leave a comment below if you made this recipe, and let me know what you think. Tips and feedback to improve the recipe are always welcome too!

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