Apple and Walnut Cake

26 October 2012

Post image for Apple and Walnut Cake

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Irish cook, Rachel Allen. So when her new cookbook, Cake, was recently released, I promptly ordered it online and eagerly awaited its arrival in my mailbox. I did secretly wonder how it would compare to her other baking handbook, simply called Bake, which I have used quite frequently in recent years. But as it is not unusual for one of her books to find its place on my kitchen counter on any given week, there was no need for me to hesitate when it came to this purchase.

Her new book is filled with beautiful photography and, more importantly, great-looking recipes. I thought I had more than enough baking books on my bookshelf (well, actually, I do!), but I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of inspirational recipes in Cake. Some recipes appear to be tweaks on those found in her earlier books, but many of the recipes will be a refreshing find for readers.

The Children’s chapter has lots of fun recipes to make for kids birthday parties, such as the cute Chocolate Hedgehog Cake or the Barbie-adorned Princess Cake. The more adventurous bakers can attempt the Anniversary Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake or even the Vanilla Wedding Cake. It is possible that the book could live up to its cover which claims to contain “every cake you’ll ever need”.

This Apple and Walnut Cake caught my eye, first, because it sounded very similar to a recipe which Nigella has in How to be a Domestic Goddess, and which I have previously attempted with some success. But upon closer inspection, Rachel Allen’s version contains wholemeal flour (which appealed to me, considering that I had some leftover from making the Tahini & Almond Cookies), and that it is covered in a brown-sugar glaze, giving this otherwise wholesome cake a sweet makeover.

It is a relatively easy cake to make and absolutely delicious to eat. In fact, I think it improves after a day or two as the glaze helps to keep the cake underneath lovely and moist. It is a wonderful cake to serve for afternoon tea or dessert, but the combination of apples and cinnamon means that it is a good contender for breakfast as well. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Apple and Walnut Cake
Recipe adapted from Cake by Rachel Allen
Serves 10-12

Cook’s Notes

I added 2 generous teaspoons of ground cinnamon, mainly because my husband thinks you can never have too much cinnamon.

If, after 55 minutes or so, the cake is still wet in the centre and is starting to brown a bit on top, loosely cover the cake with some foil and return the cake to the oven to continue baking until the centre of the cake is fully cooked, checking every 3-5 minutes with a clean skewer.

I did find the cake to be a bit on the sweet side, especially when eaten with the glaze. That said, I would still make this cake again and perhaps the reduce the sugar content in the cake batter a little next time (the glaze is a must!).

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom 26 October 2012 at 4:11 pm

Absolutely beautiful! Going to check out CAKE! thank you!


eat, little bird 26 October 2012 at 6:06 pm

It’s a great book and I hope you will like it, especially if you’re a baking fan!


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 26 October 2012 at 4:30 pm

This is so pretty! And I love the flavour. Great recipe!


Paula 26 October 2012 at 5:04 pm

I love baking with apples at this time of the year, and if you add walnut, it can’t be better!!
This one seems delicious, with the texture that wholemeal flour gives, and the glaze, that is really cute!!

I’d like to try this πŸ˜‰


eat, little bird 26 October 2012 at 6:07 pm

I see you’ve also been busy baking with apples lately :-) This is a really delicious cake and using the wholemeal flour somehow makes you feel like you are eating something healthy, except there is quite a bit of sugar in the recipe! I highly recommend trying this cake.


Luchair 26 October 2012 at 5:59 pm

Lovely post! I would like to make this cake as part of a spread for a fireworks party, but i have a jar of ginger curd to use up. Do you think i could use that on top of the cake instead of the glaze?


eat, little bird 26 October 2012 at 6:11 pm

Hi Luchair,

You certainly don’t need to use the glaze for this cake – it would taste just as great without. In fact, I rarely make iced cakes at home because hubby and I tend to prefer plain cakes.

I’ve never tried ginger curd so I’m not sure I could answer your question, but it sounds like something that could go well with an apple cake. Perhaps you could make the cake without the glaze and serve the ginger curd on the side for people to dollop onto their individual servings?


Luchair 26 October 2012 at 6:41 pm

Thank you very much i’ll do that.


julia levy 26 October 2012 at 11:17 pm

I got this book for my birthday and fell in love with it as much as I love RA herself, so unpretentious and fun. Anyways, I made one cake yesterday that left the plate at work today in a matter of minutes amongst groans of pleasure and enjoyment. I’ve just taken the rather large chocolate fudge out of the oven which will be taken for a dessert for 8 tomorrow and I can’t imagine there will be much left there either.

There are so many recipes in there I want to make NOW!!


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:07 pm

Hi Julia! Lovely to see you here :-) And great to know of someone else who also has this book! I have baked a few more things from this book recently and hope to mention them on the blog soon. Your colleagues are very lucky to have you bake for them … I wish I lived closer also!


Jennifer (Delicieux) 27 October 2012 at 5:54 am

This is another book on my wish list, not that I need anymore books πŸ˜€ Thanks for your review Thanh. I love Rachel Allen’s recipes, they are always so reliable, and this cake recipe definitely looks like a keeper. My husband loves apple cakes, and I know he will love this one, so I will have to give it a try as I am on the hunt for the ultimate apple cake.

What did you think of using wholemeal flour in the cake? I really like the slight nuttiness it adds.


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:12 pm

This is definitely a book for your wish list, especially if you’re a keen baker :-) I love apple cakes too and am always on the hunt for a good recipe – this one is particularly good. I think the wholemeal flour made the cake somewhat denser in texture, but in a good way. I don’t seem to use wholemeal flour very often so I like to whenever I have the opportunity.


thelittleloaf 27 October 2012 at 10:58 am

This looks absolutely delicious! Thank you for introducing me to yet another incredible book, although I don’t really need it – my shelves are already groaning with cookbooks! :-)


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:22 pm

My philosophy is: there’s always room for a few more πŸ˜‰


Jo Blogs Jo Bakes 27 October 2012 at 6:11 pm

This looks just beautiful Thanh. My kinda cake! I’ve been watching the series and am impressed by a number of the cakes – the lemongrass coconut one I made was just wonderful. I’m so trying not to buy anymore cook books but its sooo hard not to πŸ˜‰


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:25 pm

Lucky you to be able to watch the show! I saw your lemongrass cake and thought it might be something great to serve after an Asian meal? I must try it soon!


Jo Blogs Jo Bakes 30 October 2012 at 7:27 pm

It would be perfect after that Thanh πŸ˜€
The programme is pretty good Thanh but her presentation lets some of the cake down I feel. I’m just going the shops and may pick up a copy as I can’t resist much longer πŸ˜‰


Melange 27 October 2012 at 8:04 pm

Well,another Rachel Allen fan here..And her ‘Bake” is one of my favorite too.Many recipes I have attempted so far from the precious book.Reading your post,I feel I have to grab this new release as well..
As you wrote here,it seems relatively easy and worth trying..The flavors look tempting too..Thanks Thanh.


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:26 pm

If you’re a Rachel Allen fan, you will love this book :-) I’ve made a few more things from this book and, so far, so good!


Lottie @ Lottie's World of Cakes 27 October 2012 at 10:59 pm

Sounds lovely! I love your photos.


Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen 28 October 2012 at 5:55 am

I think it was the icing that caught my eye.. I love the texture of it, I imagine it tastes quite lovely!


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:28 pm

I think it was also the icing the caught me! I don’t often make iced cakes at home as we tend to prefer plain cakes, but this one didn’t look to fancy. Plus, having tried a similar apple and walnut cake before, I thought the brown sugar glaze would work quite well, and it did!


anita menon 28 October 2012 at 9:36 am

Beautiful recipe and incredibly satisfying pictures. Am checking out this book by Rachel Allen right now


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:29 pm

Thanks, Anita! There are beautiful photos in this book and I think it is her most beautiful book so far. Enjoy!


TheSpicySaffron 28 October 2012 at 6:19 pm

The sound of the cake itself is so warm and welcoming, Thanh! And …the looks is gorgeous too! Love the combination (apple +cinnamon).
The brown sugar glaze is giving a charmingly simple , somewhat rustic look to the cake. I love such cakes…can gobble up a giant slice with a cup of black coffee.


eat, little bird 29 October 2012 at 12:30 pm

I almost made this cake again over the weekend but only had 2 small apples … I could also do with a giant slice right now!


The Food Sage 1 November 2012 at 4:02 am

Walnuts & i are very good friends, so this cake is very tempting. The fudgy looking glaze looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.


Rushi 7 November 2012 at 4:50 pm

Yum this is one recipe that would brighten up a cold Autumn day. Apples, walnuts and cinnamon, well what’s not to like about it? I will make it over the weekend. I’ve added this book to my wishlist which is only expanding, really wish Santa existed, he he. Thanh you’re always such an inspiration :)


eat, little bird 16 November 2012 at 7:08 pm

Hi Rushi,

Did you get around to making this cake? I hope it worked out for you! I made it again the other week and it was quite delicious, although I was a bit impatient and my icing wasn’t as thick as in my first attempt. I will know better for next time :-)


Rushi 17 November 2012 at 10:29 am

Hi Thanh,

I did and it’s a perfect Autumn cake. I love it and so did my hubby. I didn’t add the extra cinnamon (would have loved to) simply because hubby doesn’t care too much for spices and I’m trying to make him change his mind. I tucked into a generous slice for breakfast, in my defence it did have apples and wholewheat :) I’ll be making this one again.


eat, little bird 17 November 2012 at 1:47 pm

Oh I’m glad that you liked! And yes, I would agree that it is a suitable cake for breakfast, rather healthy too if you ignore the icing πŸ˜‰


Hamilton 7 November 2012 at 8:09 pm

You must have the most beautiful recipes in the world, they are such a treat to read/look at.

The cake looks delicious too :)


eat, little bird 16 November 2012 at 7:09 pm

Thank you so much :-) I’m glad you enjoy them!


Heather 19 November 2012 at 7:42 pm

You have convinced me. I took a browse at Cake online, and there are so many delicious looking recipes. It’s going on my Christmas with list. Now, if only somebody would bake me this cake.


eat, little bird 19 November 2012 at 10:29 pm

Oh you won’t regret getting this book … hopefully Santa will have a nice surprise for you at Christmas πŸ˜‰


grace 11 December 2012 at 8:45 pm

i have to agree with your husband–too much cinnamon is a foreign concept to me. :)
lovely cake.


Melissa@Julia's Bookbag 27 March 2013 at 5:30 am

This is, HANDS DOWN, the most beautifully presented recipe I have ever seen on a blog. EVER. Fabulous. I’m a huge new fan!


eat, little bird 27 March 2013 at 7:21 pm

Oh thank you! I’m glad you like :-)


Cappuccino 6 September 2013 at 10:11 am

Hiya! I made this yesterday, and it looks and smells amazing! I took your note and used 150g dark muscovado in the batter instead of the 225g brown sugar. The batter at least tasted good, plus the glaze does add a lot of sweetness. Will give you a complete review after coffee. πŸ˜‰


Cappuccino 6 September 2013 at 5:21 pm

It was perfect! Just the right amount of sweetness for my taste. Very nice cake, will be making it again.


eat, little bird 7 September 2013 at 3:23 pm

That’s great to hear! I will reduce the sugar in the batter similarly next time too. I used light muscovado sugar in this recipe which, I suppose, is similar to light brown sugar (I can only find the former where I live). But I’m curious as to what subtle differences dark muscovado sugar would bring. I’m glad that you tried this recipe and enjoyed it :-)


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