© 2016 Green Kitchen Stories gks_apple_cake_001

Apple & Cinnamon Tray Cake

It’s not like I don’t appreciate a good apple cake. And I still think David is an okay guy. But paired together, they have simply been too much this past week. Sometimes I really wish David would just settle for good. He has literally baked and photographed this cake e-v-e-r-y damn day of the week. I know, apple cake every day sounds like an October dream. But when it is served along with constant whining that: “It’s under baked”, “The apples don’t look nice on this” or “It’s way too much cinnamon on top”, it kind of takes the pleasure out of eating it. And with 57+ other things on our to-do-before-the-baby-arrives list, I just couldn’t believe my eyes when he started baking one more cake last night.

But now he is finally pleased with it, and the photos. So here it is: A Simple Apple Cake (overly tested like it was an advanced science project). Seriously though, it is a really good cake. I can’t really tell the difference from the one he did in the beginning of the week but I’m just happy that we can finally move on to more pressing issues. I’ll leave it to David to talk about the flavours. /Luise




Okay … obviously Luise has no idea what she is talking about. The first cake had way too much cinnamon on it and I hadn’t separated the eggs in the batter so it didn’t rise properly. The photos looked terrible too. So that’s that. What she also forgot to mention is that – thanks to me – we have plenty of cakes in the freezer now, which actually is one of the things on that to-do list of hers. Ha!

Back to the cake. I have a long history of not liking apple cake. I have learned to love it now but I do still think that many cakes are too sweet, some are too dry and other have too much apple pieces mixed with the batter. This one is inspired by a slice of apple cake that we tried at the farmer’s market earlier this autumn. It was perfect. Moist, flavourful and with lots of cinnamon and large apple slices on top and a hint of grated apples in the batter. Ever since we tried it, I have been experimenting with my own versions of it. And as Luise so lovingly pointed out, it has taken a few attempts to get it right. We are using one of our favourite flour mixtures to get a good texture. Oat and almond flour adds nuttiness and richness and rice flour keeps it light. I like to bake it in a small tray to get the right height (roughly 2,5 cm / 1 inch), but it works well as a thick cake in a traditional round cake tin as well  (just increase the baking time 5-10 min). Instead of serving it with the traditional vanilla custard, we prefer a ginger-spiced greek yogurt which adds a nice tartness to balance the sweetness in the cake. /David



Apple, Cinnamon & Buttermilk Tray Cake
Serves 12

Dry Ingredients
100 g / 1 cup rolled oats

100 g / 1 cup almond flour
100 g / 3/4 cup rice flour (or buckwheat flour or spelt flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground vanilla or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Wet Ingredients
100 g / 3.5 oz butter or coconut oil, at room temperature

125 ml / ½ cup maple syrup 
or runny honey
1 apple, rinsed
180 ml / 3/4 cup cultured buttermilk (or yogurt)
3 free-range eggs, separated

2 apples, rinsed

2 tbsp melted butter
1-2 tsp cinnamon

Ginger-Spiced Yogurt
250 g / 1 cup unsweetened yogurt

1 knob (roughly 2,5 cm / 1 inch) fresh ginger
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F bake mode, grease a 30 x 22 cm / 12 x 9 inch tray or springform cake tin and line it with parchment paper.

Place the oats in a food processor and blend until the texture resembles coarse flour. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, add the rest of the dry ingredients and stir until combined. Make a well in the centre and set aside while preparing the wet ingredients.

Cut the butter into cubes and add it to the bowl of a stand mixer along with the maple syrup and mix until well combined and creamy. Add the buttermilk and egg yolks and mix until smooth. Grate the apple coarsely (with peel), add to the stand mixer and mix until just combined, set aside.

Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and beat until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, gently fold the wet ingredients, followed by the egg whites, into the dry ingredients until just combined, making sure not to over mix as the cake will be compact otherwise.

Pour the cake batter into the tray. Cut the two apples in thin slices and place them on top of the batter, pushing them down just slightly. Brush the slices with melted butter and the dust the cake with cinnamon. Bake for approx. 45-55 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly in the tin before transferring to a wire wrack to cool completely. Store the cake at room temperature in an airtight container and it will keep for a few days.

To make the yogurt, simply scoop it into a bowl, grate the fresh ginger into it, add maple syrup and lemon and stir until combined. Taste and adjust the flavours after preference.


PS! I sprinkled the cake with some powdered sugar because it looks pretty on the photos but it’s really not necessary for the flavor.


  1. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 13:48 | #

    This sounds fabulous – I love it how you used different color apples with the peel left on for the topping! And the ginger yogurt is genius! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Mia
    Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 14:40 | #

    Thanks so much for this wonderful recipe! Do you think I could substitute the rice flour with something else? I’ve tried it before and I just don’t really like the taste of it…

    • Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 21:24 | #

      Hi Mia, yes you can use buckwheat flour, spelt flour or regular all-purpose flour.

  3. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 16:47 | #

    I’m saving this one to make later. :)

  4. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 17:30 | #

    Glad you guys tested it so much so that we can have the perfect cake! I think it looks great!

  5. Dana
    Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 18:40 | #

    Thank you for recipe. I will try to make it this w.end for Thanksgiving. By the way I love your blog😀

  6. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 18:44 | #

    Haha! Aw! I’ll eat your portion of it, what are readers for anyways? x

  7. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 19:08 | #

    This looks so good! I made something similar but with plums the other day! If you’re interested you can find it my blog. Great post!

    x Annabelle

  8. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 21:49 | #

    Love the way this post was written – so funny! The photos turned out so beautiful.. Although I’m sure the first attempt was just as delicious. Nothing wrong with being a perfectionist though … & it’s a good excuse to eat more cake!

  9. Posted 8 Oct ’16 at 23:55 | #

    Looks fab and I love yoghurt with cake it offsets the sweetness. The ginger maple syrup addition is a little bit of genius.

  10. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 00:14 | #

    This cake looks absolutely INCREDIBLE and exactly what I feel like makig today!! Any ideas for vegan egg substitutes at all?

    Charlie :)

  11. Eli
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 01:27 | #

    Sounds delicious what other fruit would you suggest that apples(fructose) please. thanks for sharing:)

    • Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 11:48 | #

      Hi Eli, I think plums could work great instead of the apples.
      You can use berries if you prefer something with less fructose, but then it would be a slightly different cake.

      • Oana
        Posted 18 Oct ’16 at 21:51 | #

        I just made the recipe with plums (tweaked a bit, by replacing half of the maple syrup with molasses and adding cardamom and nutmeg). It smells and tastes amazing!

  12. Poonam
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 03:48 | #

    Looks superr!! I am an aspiring vegan. Can I substitute eggs with an egg substitute like apple sauce or something else?

  13. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 06:35 | #

    Amazing recipe, thank you, have to try! :)♡

  14. Astrid
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 07:02 | #

    Very good…nothing like being in your last stretch of pregnancy….congrats to both on your brilliant blog. Love it!

  15. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 08:24 | #

    Thanks for that great job shortly before the birth! I appreciate!
    I would like to know if you see any chance not to usw Joghurt or buttermilk inside? Do You think I could usw a small cup of almond milk instead or something else?
    Thanks so mich for helping, best wishes for the future, Pascale 🙆

    • Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 11:50 | #

      Yes, I think that will work as well. Barbara left a comment further down, mentioning that she succeeded with almond milk and a tsp of apple cider vinegar.

  16. Marije
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 08:39 | #

    Thx for sharing the making of the recipe.
    I was wondering what the apples weigh You are using, if too large the batter will be too moist…. would love To bake it perfect in one go… all the best

  17. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 09:20 | #

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s a bit of a perfectionist and maybe has one too many failed baking attempts! This cake looks stunning, it is nice to know how tested your recipes are, and I can tell when it comes to the cakes, cookies, muffins etc… They tend to always work out beautifully!!

  18. Neerja
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 09:30 | #

    Hi- this looks really tempting…is there a way to make this eggless?

  19. Nina
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 10:24 | #

    Hi, Greetings from the UK. Love your blog. This recipe sounds great, do you think I could sub the butter/coconut oil for Rapeseed Oil? Or in fact any other kind of oil. I have been advised to avoid butter and coconut oil – thanks

  20. kathy mader
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 11:04 | #

    Poor David

  21. Nina
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 11:10 | #

    This looks great! Is there a difference between buying oat flour from the store and processing rolled oats into flour?
    It just seems easier to buy the flour. Thanks :)

  22. G'iana
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 13:51 | #

    Hi David,

    I’ve made the cake this morning…. Oh my God! Sooooo delicious! Thank you for the recipe, I’ll definitely make it again soon!
    I choosed to use rice flour and took only 100 ml Maple syrup since my Apples were so sweet, but everything else as written in the recipe. Came out beautiful and so tasty!
    Can’t wait to try it with the yoghurt later, after tasting the cake I can only imagine they’re a perfect match.
    Thanks again!

  23. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 14:24 | #

    Sounds delicious! I do love apple cakes- especially if is a moist and “spicy” cake. I will put this recipe on my to-do-list for the weekend.
    By the way- I very much appreciate that you always state grams and cups and Fahrenheit and Celsius- that saves me all the “conversion work” :-)

  24. Stasa
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 14:25 | #

    Dear Luise and David,

    I have been following your blog since years but still didn’t manage to leave a comment to tell you what a big impact you have on our daily life.
    Since I have moved in with my partner and starting to spend more time in the kitchen several years ago, I would turn to your blog (and later to your books) on a daily basis, for ideas and tips. What struck me the most was that everything I made following your recipes was exactly my kind of food and it always worked out perfectly (even if we are having guests coming over for dinner, I dare to cook something from your books for the first time, as I know, it never fails).
    What started out as following your recipes evolved into bringing slight changes to them, experimenting with them and during the year they became “our” family cuisine. We are learning so much about food and tastes with your help and I am so happy I got to know your work before I became a mother, which means our daughter got to eat the most delicious and nutrient things from the moment she started eating solids (and today, at 15 months she loves absolutely all the food – especially veggies – and is passionate about it as a real gourmet, it is so much fun to share all our colourful meals with her).
    This is just a little thank you note. We are looking forward for new recipes!


    P.S.: we made stuffed tomatoes and this apple cake today (both super delicious); I substituted rice flour for chickpea flour, which probably made a cake a bit more dense, but nevertheless very tasty!

    • Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 11:51 | #

      Thank you so much for your sweet comment!
      It always makes us so happy to read that our work is appreciated.
      Hug your daughter from us!

  25. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 15:04 | #

    Loved reading your post! That reminded me of myself making a plum tart 3 times in 4 days.I have to try baking more with spelt and buckwheat flour because this tray cake looks fab!

  26. Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 16:00 | #

    Well. . .I think your many, and sometimes frustrating (for Luise) attempts at perfecting this cake were well worth it. It looks absolutely stunning and I can practically smell all that cinnamon-y goodness just looking at the photos. Lucky you to have a freezer full of it.

  27. Mindy
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 17:32 | #

    I don’t participate much in social media forums so I’m taking this opportunity to thank you for your Instagram posts on the refugees you worked with in Turkey. The stories and photos were heartwarming as well as heart wrenching, if that is possible. David, I am sure that work will always be with you and deepen the life you have at home. Luise, too, worked to hold your family together, even in late pregnancy, while you were gone. Well done, both of you. I hope we will see some of the recipes you prepared with the Syrian families on your blog. I could tell they were made with love. Thanks for your efforts to alleviate some of the suffering this huge humanitarian crisis has wrought.

    • Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 11:54 | #

      Thank you Mindy,
      I am very glad you found it meaningful.
      The trip had a profound impact on me and I will try to sum it all up in a blog post as well sometime soon.
      I am also really grateful that Luise encouraged me to go, even though it was a long trip and she was left with both kids so late in her pregnancy.

  28. Laetitia
    Posted 9 Oct ’16 at 19:17 | #

    Hi! Do you think this cake would work as a vegan option using chia or flax seeds?

  29. Posted 10 Oct ’16 at 07:35 | #

    Really enjoyed reading your story. It was such fun!

  30. Barbara
    Posted 10 Oct ’16 at 18:52 | #

    Delicious! I made the cake with the coconut oil and substituted almond milk and a tsp of apple cider vinegar for the buttermilk since my children are lacto intolerance. I topped it off with whipped coconut cream! Winner!

    • Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 11:56 | #

      Glad to hear that it worked out well!
      Isac is actually also lacto intolerant so I made it with oat yogurt a few times, which also worked well. Nice touch with the apple cider vinegar to replace the acidity in the buttermilk.

  31. Latifa
    Posted 10 Oct ’16 at 23:46 | #

    Hello….this looks amazing! Do you think chia would work for and egg replacer in this cake?

  32. Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 11:24 | #

    This looks incredible! Yum!

  33. Celia
    Posted 11 Oct ’16 at 15:00 | #


    This cake looks amazing!!! I would love to make it for my almost 3 year old daughter, who adores apples, but she is allergic to eggs… Can I substitute them for something else?
    Thank you so much!

  34. Posted 12 Oct ’16 at 20:12 | #

    David and luise,

    Real sincere hardwork behind each recipe!!!

  35. Filipa
    Posted 12 Oct ’16 at 21:55 | #

    I have made it today. Easy to make and absolutely delicious.
    I have used almond milk and worked just fine.
    Thanks for the recipes.
    Love your blog!

  36. Posted 15 Oct ’16 at 07:14 | #

    This looks stellar. I love how the apples look so golden and are well-lined up on the surface!

  37. Posted 15 Oct ’16 at 11:52 | #

    Love the banter between you two!!

  38. Jana Teneva
    Posted 15 Oct ’16 at 18:04 | #

    looks awesome, my version is now in the oven…I added a tiny bit of vanilla though! and it is level 3 difficulty with the eggs;-) lots of autumn sunshine and good vibes all the way from Holland to you guys!

  39. Stephanie
    Posted 16 Oct ’16 at 16:59 | #

    ok… we wanted to try this recipe but seriously for the 3rd! time mixing the wet ingredients goes wrong… Butter and eggs yes, butter and honey yes, but adding the buttermilk.. no. i’ve never seen butter on the wet ingredient list unless it is melted before using… any tips?

    • Posted 16 Oct ’16 at 20:45 | #

      Hi Stephanie,
      Since the butter is room tempered and cubed, it should mix easily with the maple syrup. I usually start mixing those until creamy, and then add buttermilk and egg yolks. Actually, I try to take out the buttermilk and egg a bit before so they also are room tempered. If the temperature differences are too big, the wet ingredients might curdle a bit, but I haven’t actually noticed any big differences with the baked cake on those occasions.
      What do you feel was wrong with your cakes after they were baked?

  40. Laetitia
    Posted 17 Oct ’16 at 01:57 | #

    Hi David & Luisa,
    Do you think this recipe would work with chia or flax seeds instead of eggs??


  41. Posted 17 Oct ’16 at 05:18 | #

    Made this cake this morning – found it needed about 1/4 tsp more salt, given the amount of flour. Came together easily, and I took it to my meditation group and 12 people demolished the whole cake! This one will be in regular autumn rotation. Thank you, thank you!

  42. Marianne
    Posted 17 Oct ’16 at 13:18 | #

    Hi! What would you recommend to replace the almond flour with? Have allergies to nuts. looks so delicious!

    • Laura
      Posted 19 Oct ’16 at 19:18 | #

      Hi Marianne,
      I guess you can easily replace the almonds with finely ground sunflower seeds. Sunflower seeds don’t have a strong flavor (compared to pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds), so they wouldn’t overpower the apples.
      Best wishes, Laura

  43. Posted 1 Nov ’16 at 19:24 | #

    These look amazing. I wonder how they would turn out if I used some pears, I think the combination of pears and cinnamon will fit my taste better! Here is one of my favorite apple recipes! http://www.healthination.com/diabetes-diet-2/diabetes-bites/apple-chips/

  44. Posted 2 Nov ’16 at 02:41 | #

    Love this article, along with your entire page! :)
    Keep up the good work, and feel free to follow for similar content.

    XOXO, Tia

  45. Irène
    Posted 6 Nov ’16 at 14:56 | #

    This recipe is phenomenal. I’ve made it twice now, once with apples and once with pears and they were both delicious. Served warm with creme fraiche it was divine. I think my family will not allow me to bake anything else this winter!

  46. Emma
    Posted 6 Nov ’16 at 18:29 | #

    What an inspiring recipe and photos, can’t wait to try this next weekend! Just one question: approx what size is your “small tray”?
    Thanks! /emma

  47. Posted 8 Nov ’16 at 05:56 | #

    INLOVE!! seriously everything from the photos to the food.Thanks for the inspiration..

  48. Posted 29 Dec ’16 at 01:56 | #

    completely ignorant of apple cake until I saw the beautiful photo thinking it was of an ancient Roman fresco, guess I had Pompeii on the brain! Upon reading though, love the flavors here and that it calls for no added sugar! thank you for this!

  49. Posted 29 Dec ’16 at 14:12 | #

    Thanks for giving such a lip smacking recipe !!!

  50. Posted 23 Feb ’17 at 21:52 | #

    adorei o blog

  51. Mai Le
    Posted 3 Apr ’17 at 07:39 | #

    Just made this cake! I’m impressed by how well the flour ratio worked, I found it only mildly sweet, possibly because I used a tart baking apple in the wet mixture, but I’m definitely making this again with thicker cut apple slices. Great recipe guys! I also added lemon zest instead of juice to the spiced yogurt, tasted amazing.

  52. Erin
    Posted 6 Oct ’17 at 15:06 | #

    I don’t eat oats at all – do you think it would work to sub buckwheat or rice flour?

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