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Kentucky Apple Cake Recipe

Kentucky Apple Cake Recipe: A Southern Delight


The Kentucky Apple Cake is a beloved Southern dessert that captures the essence of autumn with its rich flavors of apples, cinnamon, and walnuts. This moist and tender cake, complemented by a sweet glaze, is perfect for family gatherings, holiday celebrations, or simply enjoying with a cup of coffee. In this detailed guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to make this delightful cake, discuss variations, provide nutritional insights, and answer common questions.



For the Cake:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 sticks margarine (1 cup), softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups finely chopped apples
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup real vanilla extract

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Preparing the Cake

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9×13-inch baking pan or two 9-inch round cake pans.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream Butter and Sugar: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add Eggs and Vanilla: Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Combine Wet and Dry Ingredients: Gradually add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined.
  6. Fold in Apples and Walnuts: Gently fold in the finely chopped apples, light corn syrup, and chopped walnuts until evenly distributed.
  7. Pour into Pan: Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
  8. Bake: Bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.

2. Preparing the Glaze

  1. Melt Margarine: In a small saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat.
  2. Add Sugar and Baking Soda: Stir in the sugar and baking soda. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add Vanilla: Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

3. Glazing the Cake

  1. Glaze the Cake: While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over the top with a toothpick or skewer. Pour the warm glaze over the cake, allowing it to seep into the holes and cover the surface.
  2. Cool and Serve: Allow the cake to cool completely before serving. This cake can be served warm or at room temperature.

Variations of Kentucky Apple Cake

1. Healthier Version

  • Substitute Oil: Replace margarine with coconut oil or unsweetened applesauce to reduce saturated fat.
  • Reduce Sugar: Use a sugar substitute or reduce the amount of sugar by half.

2. Gluten-Free Version

  • Gluten-Free Flour: Use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend in place of regular flour.
  • Ensure Additives are Gluten-Free: Make sure all other ingredients (like baking powder) are certified gluten-free.

3. Nut-Free Version

  • Omit Walnuts: Simply leave out the walnuts if you have a nut allergy or preference.
  • Add Seeds: Substitute chopped walnuts with sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for added texture.

Nutritional Insights

Here’s an estimate of the nutritional content per serving (based on 16 servings):

  • Calories: 400
  • Fat: 20g
  • Carbohydrates: 55g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Sugar: 35g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sodium: 300mg

To make a lighter version, consider using sugar substitutes and reducing the amount of fat by replacing margarine with healthier alternatives.


FAQs About Kentucky Apple Cake

Q: Can I use different types of apples?

A: Yes, you can use any variety of apples you like. Tart apples like Granny Smith work well to balance the sweetness of the cake, but sweeter varieties like Honeycrisp or Gala can also be used.


Q: Can I make this cake in advance?

A: Absolutely! This cake can be made a day ahead and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. The flavors tend to meld and improve overnight.


Q: How do I store leftover cake?

A: Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze the cake (without glaze) for up to 3 months.

Q: Can I use butter instead of margarine?

A: Yes, you can substitute butter for margarine in equal amounts for a richer flavor.

Q: What can I use if I don’t have buttermilk?

A: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of milk. Let it sit for 5 minutes before using.

The Kentucky Apple Cake is a delightful dessert that brings a taste of Southern comfort to your table. Its combination of tender apples, crunchy walnuts, and a sweet glaze makes it a perfect treat for any occasion. By following this detailed recipe, you can create a moist and flavorful cake that will impress your family and friends. Experiment with variations to suit your taste preferences and dietary needs, and enjoy this delicious dessert!