Butter. There is no word that better encapsulates baking during the holiday season and I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has contradicting feelings – wanting dessert ever so often, but not wanting to feel so full all the time. This cake does precisely that – captures all the holiday flavors and tastes of apples, cinnamon and nutmeg without the heaviness that comes with a butter-ful sinful dessert. Instead, this cake uses whole-milk yogurt. This gives it both a great texture, plus gets more moist the longer it is stored in the fridge. The only change that I would make is that the recipe called for freshly ground nutmeg and I didn’t have any, so I ended up using ground nutmeg instead. There’s something about freshly ground nutmeg that just can’t be found in its already ground version and I’ve decided that from now on I’m always going to have fresh nutmeg on hand that I can always grate it and use in my baking. Since this recipe is big enough for two 8-inch cakes, I ended up taking one of the cakes to a potluck and the other one for a birthday in our office 🙂
I used Granny Smith apples, since they are one of my favorite apples for baking. In case you’re ever confused about what kind of apples to use for different kinds of baking or cooking projects, check out this helpful chart!
Recipe adapted from Faith Durand’s The Kitchn. Makes enough for a 13 x 9 inch cake pan, or two 8 x 8 inch cakes.
- 1 1/2 cups whole-milk yogurt, well-stirred
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 lemon, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 small tart apples, such as Granny Smith, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pinch freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan or two 8 x 8 inch pans with baking spray or olive oil.
- Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Peel and core the apples, and chop into chunks about 1/2-inch across. You should end up with 3 1/2 to 4 cups of apples. Stir the chopped apple into the liquid ingredients.
- Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon right into the liquids and stir just until no lumps remain. In a small separate bowl, mix the remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon with the brown sugar and butter.
- Pour half of the batter into the cake pan. Sprinkle the batter with half of the cinnamon-brown sugar mixture, dropping it on the batter in small lumps. Spread the rest of the batter over top, and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon-brown sugar.
- Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, covering with foil at the end if the top is browning. When a tester comes out clean, transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature.
- This keeps very well for several days in the fridge (I just stored it in the freezer), and it gets even moister as it sits, due to the apples.
What are your favorite light holiday desserts?