Apple Pecan Cake

I first made this cake for my son Christopher on his second birthday and, I must say, it’s a keeper. It’s from The New York Times Magazine, October 8th, 1989 and is redolent of the flavors and tastes of Fall.

It really isn’t a very hard recipe (as my sister Kelley notes: “So says Foodie in Miami”), but it’s true! The hardest part is peeling the apples and making sure the pecans don’t burn when you toast them. The measurements are all pretty standard as well- 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup flour- and the cake only takes 30 minutes to bake.

You can make this cake as easy or complicated as you wish.

It’s suggested to be served with Hot Caramel Sauce and Whipped Cream, but I sent it to my son in Tallahassee as-is and he thought it was the perfect amount of sweetness. It’s also a cake that ships well and stays moist (due to the apples) in the fridge for quite a while. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Sorry for the lack of photos. I was so focused on making the cake quickly, I neglected to take Step-by-Step pictures! And the first cake I made fell apart (due to leaving an egg out), so I’m showing both versions. It’s recommended to bake it in a 9-inch cake pan, but I used to make it in my trusty old Bundt pan for a prettier presentation.

Apple Pecan Cake

Recipe by The New York Time MagazineCourse: DessertCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted

  • 5 medium apples, like Granny Smith or Fuji, to yeild 2 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temp

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 cup flour

  • The hot caramel sauce:
  • 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk

  • The garnish:
  • Sweetened whipped cream and fresh unpeeled apples


  • To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the pecans in the workbowl of the food precessor and process until fine. Set aside. Peel, core and quarter the apples and place them in the workbowl of the processor and precess until they are in medium-coarse shards, about the size of almonds. Set aside.
  • Place the butter in a large mixer bowl, add the sugar and beat until blended. Add the soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix quickly. Add the flour and just blend, then the apples and nuts.
  • Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the top springs back when touched with a finger. Cool slightly. Center may sink somewhat.
  • For the caramel sauce, melt the butter, brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Remove from heat and add the vanilla and milk. Stir again with the whisk.
  • To serve the sauce with the apple cake, cut the cake into eight wedges. Ladle a large spoonful of the hot sauce onto each of eight dessert plates. Place a wedge of cake on top of the sauce. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and two apple slices.


  • The sauce can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave.
  • A refrigerated cake will keep for a week.
  • If you wish to cut some of the butter, substitute 1/4 cup of butter for applesauce.

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Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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