Delicious Gravenstein Apple Cake Recipe

If you’re looking for a dessert that perfectly embodies the flavors of fall then this Gravenstein Apple Cake recipe is your answer. This cake is the perfect combination of sweet and tart thanks to the flavorsome gravenstein apples that are the star ingredient of this dish.

Gravenstein apples, an heirloom variety of cooking apple, have become synonymous with Sonoma County in California, where they grow in abundance. The glorious gravensteins are a much-loved local treasure and rightly so! They’re versatile enough to use in everything from apple pie to apple crisp and even in savory dishes. But the Gravenstein Apple Cake recipe takes these apples to a whole new level.

I first came across this recipe on my friend Jon Rowley’s blog and I can attest that this recipe is one of the best apple cake recipes you’ll find. As a baking enthusiast, I love trying out new recipes, and when I tasted this fall apart cake, it was love at first bite. It’s now become a regular feature on my dessert menu every time fall rolls around.

So, whether you’re someone who loves to bake or someone who simply wants to enjoy a delicious treat, give this recipe a try. You won’t be disappointed!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Gravenstein Apple Cake
Gravenstein Apple Cake

Are you looking for a cake recipe that bursts with flavor and will make your taste buds tingle? Look no further than this Gravenstein Apple Cake recipe.

Let me tell you, this cake is not your average run-of-the-mill apple cake. The use of heirloom Gravenstein apples, which are known for their incredible juiciness and tartness, gives this cake an unbeatable punch of flavor. Trust me, once you try it, you’ll understand why these apples are often referred to as the “Champagne of Apples.”

But it’s not just the apples that make this cake stand out. The addition of flaked coconut and walnuts add texture and depth to each bite. And don’t even get me started on the aroma that will fill your kitchen as this beauty bakes in the oven!

This cake is perfect for any occasion, from a cozy family gathering to a formal dinner party. I promise you, there won’t be a slice left over. And best of all, it’s easy to make and can be adapted for those who need a gluten-free option. So why not impress your friends and family with this irresistible dessert? Trust me, they’ll be begging for the recipe.

Ingredient List

 A perfect slice of fall on a plate
A perfect slice of fall on a plate

Let’s Gather The Ingredients

Before we start our baking adventure, let’s make sure you have all the necessary ingredients. This Gravenstein Apple Cake recipe calls for:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup of flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups of peeled and diced Gravenstein apples

Pro-tip: When selecting your Gravenstein apples for this recipe, look for those that are firm to the touch and do not have any bruises or soft spots. This will ensure your cake has a delicious texture and flavor.

If you cannot find Gravenstein apples, you can use another cooking apple like Granny Smith or any variety that will fall apart when cooking.

Don’t worry, if you require a gluten-free version of this recipe, I have got you covered with a few substitutions. Instead of all-purpose flour, use gluten-free flour in equal amounts & add one more teaspoon of baking powder. A gluten-free Gravenstein apple cake is just as delicious as its traditional counterpart!

Now that we have everything set up, it is time to bake our glorious Gravenstein Apple Cake!

The Recipe How-To

 Rustic goodness with every bite
Rustic goodness with every bite

Now that we have gone through the ingredient list, it’s time to get our hands dirty and begin baking this Gravenstein Apple Cake Recipe. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Prepare the Apples

Start by washing the Gravenstein apples and peeling them. Cut them into small pieces or slice them to your preferred size. Set them aside in a bowl.

Step 2: Preheat oven and prepare pan

Turn on the oven to 350°F (180°C). Take a 10-inch cake pan and grease it with butter or line it with parchment paper.

Step 3: Mix dry ingredients

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt until well-combined.

Step 4: Mix wet ingredients

In another bowl, beat together softened butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla flavoring.

Step 5: Combine dry and wet ingredients

Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix loosely. Next, add in the diced Gravenstein apples, flaked coconut, chopped walnuts, and buttermilk. Stir until everything has been mixed thoroughly.

Step 6: Bake!

Pour everything evenly into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top layer with a spatula or a spoon. Take the pan and place it into the preheated oven for around 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Step 7: Serve

Once done baking, bring out your aromatic Gravenstein Apple Cake from your oven with pride! Allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes before slicing it up into wedges. This classic recipe makes for an excellent snack or dessert, paired well with fresh apple sherbet or any hot beverage of your choice.

That’s it! Enjoy a perfect slice of this delicious cake which is incredibly moist and crumbly yet dense enough to hold up some layers of peanut butter on top for morning snacking pleasure.

Substitutions and Variations

 The tangy-sweet aroma of baked apples
The tangy-sweet aroma of baked apples

Now, I know that every baker likes to make a recipe their own, so here are some substitutions and variations you can try out with this illustrious gravenstein apple cake!

First off, if you want to infuse a bit of cinnamon flavor into your cake without ground cinnamon, try using apple pie spice instead. It will elevate the flavors in this cake and make every bite taste like fall.

If you’re allergic to gluten or prefer to avoid it, you can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour instead of regular all-purpose flour. This will still provide structure to the cake but without any gluten proteins that can cause allergic reactions or irritations. Give it a try and see how it turns out!

Another substitution you can make is swapping out the walnuts for pecans or almonds. All three nuts have distinct flavors that will contribute different notes to the cake. You can also add raisins or dried cranberries for additional texture and sweetness.

For a twist on presentation, you can prepare this recipe as muffins instead of a cake. The muffins will cook faster than the full-sized cake and will be perfect for breakfast on-the-go or an afternoon snack.

Finally, if you want to vary up the type of apple used in this recipe, go ahead and do so! This recipe was specifically designed with gravenstein apples in mind, but feel free to experiment with other varieties of apples such as granny smith or honeycrisp. Each apple has its own unique flavor and texture which will lend itself differently to the final outcome of the cake.

Remember that baking is a creative process that allows for individual expression in every recipe we make. So go ahead and get experimental with your substitutions and variations! You may just end up creating something spectacular.

Serving and Pairing

 Let the deliciousness begin!
Let the deliciousness begin!

Listen, honey. When it comes to serving this glorious Gravenstein Apple Cake, you have options. You can serve it warm or at room temperature; plain or with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You could even top it with shredded coconut, chopped walnuts, or powdered sugar for an extra crunch and sweetness.

Now, let me tell you about pairings. You know how they say that opposite attract? Well, in this case, I can promise you that the cake and the beverage will get along just fine! Serve your apple cake with a cup of hot tea or coffee to balance out the sweet taste of the cake.

If you want to keep things 100% fruity, try pairing the cake with some chilled apple cider or crisp white wine. The tang of the apples in the drink will complement the fall-apart texture of the heirloom apple cake impeccably.

And if you’re feeling adventurous and want to add a little bit of zing to your dessert game, try serving this masterpiece with a scoop of lemon sherbet! Trust me on this one, honey – it’s my go-to combination when I’m feeling like I need to treat myself extra nice.

Don’t be shy to mix and match until you find your perfect pairing; after all, variety is the spice of life. So go on, experiment away! Just make sure to save a slice or two for yourself – this cake recipe is known for disappearing pretty quickly!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A heavenly dessert without all the fuss
A heavenly dessert without all the fuss

When it comes to storing your Gravenstein Apple Cake, there are a few options for you to consider. If you plan on enjoying the cake within the first couple of days, you can store it at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap. However, if you plan on keeping it longer than that, storing it in the refrigerator will greatly increase its lifespan.

To make-ahead, simply bake and let cool at room temperature for roughly 1-2 hours before covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating. If you want to freeze your cake, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. It should last up to three months when stored properly.

Reheating the cake is easy and requires little effort. Simply remove from the refrigerator or freezer and let the cake thaw out for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature. To reheat, place a slice on microwaveable plate and heat on high for 15-20 seconds depending on your microwave. The cake can also be reheated in the oven by preheating to 350°F (180°C) before placing a slice onto a baking sheet and heating for 5-7 minutes.

Remember that this cake freezes beautifully, so don’t hesitate to make an extra one for unexpected guests, special occasions or just because you deserve something sweet!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Simple ingredients, amazing taste
Simple ingredients, amazing taste

Baking a Gravenstein apple cake can be a satisfying experience for seasoned bakers and beginners alike. To get the perfect cake every time, here are some tips that I’ve found helpful.

First and foremost, make sure to use fresh Gravenstein apples. These heirloom apples have a tart and tangy flavor that is perfect for baking. If you don’t have access to Gravenstein apples, you could substitute them with a different baking apple like Granny Smith or Honey Crisp.

Next, take care not to overmix the batter. Mix the dry ingredients together in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Once you combine them, mix until everything is just blended together. Overmixing can lead to a tough cake rather than the moist and tender crumb you’re looking for.

When it comes to baking this cake, I recommend placing the cake pan on the middle rack of your oven. This will help ensure a more even bake. If your oven has hot spots, you might want to rotate the cake halfway through baking.

It’s also important to keep an eye on your cake while it’s baking. Check it after 45 minutes if it’s done by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake; if it comes out clean, then it’s all set. But if there’s any batter sticking to the toothpick, then allow it to bake for an additional 5 minutes before checking again.

Finally, let your cake cool completely before attempting to remove it from the pan. This will help prevent it from falling apart or sticking to the pan. And by letting it sit overnight before serving, will lock-in all those wonderful flavors!

So when making this glorious Gravenstein apple cake at home, remember these tips for perfect results!


As any baker knows, there can be a lot of confusion and questions when it comes to baking. To help answer some of the most common questions about the Gravenstein Apple Cake Recipe, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). From substitutions to cooking times, this section provides helpful tips and answers to ensure your apple cake turns out perfectly every time. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the FAQ section.

Are Gravenstein apples good for baking?

The Gravenstein apple is popular among many due to its harmonious blend of tastes – simultaneously sweet and tart. Additionally, it is sought-after for its ability to perform exceptionally well in both baking and cooking endeavors.

What is the best use of Gravenstein apples?

Gravenstein apples are a fantastic choice for cooking due to their crisp texture and tangy flavor complemented by a hint of sweetness. They are especially well-suited for creating delicious apple sauces and ciders, and can even be dried for later use. In fact, during World War II, the Sebastopol Gravenstein variety was used to provide U.S. soldiers with apple sauce and dried apple snacks.

What kind of apples are best for apple cake?

For an apple cake that is bursting with flavor and texture, it’s important to use a range of apple varieties. This will give your cake a well-rounded taste with a mix of sweet, tart, crispy, and soft elements. To achieve the perfect balance, consider combining the Granny Smith and Honeycrisp varieties for a more sour taste, or opt for a sweeter experience with the Gala or Fuji varieties.

Why does my apple cake fall apart?

When it comes to baking an apple cake, there are a couple of common reasons why it may fall apart. Firstly, if you attempt to slice and serve the cake while it is still too warm, it may crumble or break apart. Additionally, if you use an excessive amount of the wrong type of apple, this could also result in a cake that doesn’t hold together well. As previously mentioned, it’s essential to choose the right type of apple for your recipe to prevent these issues.

Bottom Line

this article about the Gravenstein Apple Cake Recipe, I want to invite you to venture into the world of heirloom apple-based desserts with me. As a baker and a lover of all things sweet and satisfying, I can confidently say that this recipe is worth trying.

The depth of flavor that comes from using fresh, locally sourced Gravenstein apples is unmatched. Whether you use them in pies, crisps, tarts, or cakes, you’ll find that these apples have a sweet-tart taste that’s perfect for baking.

And when it comes to this cake recipe specifically, I can assure you that the end result will be nothing short of glorious. The crumb is moist and tender, with just the right balance of sweetness and spice. And the addition of flaked coconut and walnuts provides a delightful crunch and nuttiness to each bite.

But don’t just take my word for it – try it out for yourself! Whether you’re gluten-free or not, this recipe can be adapted to suit your preferences. And if you’re not familiar with Gravenstein apples or can’t find them in your area, feel free to substitute any other tart and firm cooking apple instead.

So go ahead – dust off your apron and head to the kitchen. With this recipe in hand, you’re sure to impress yourself and your loved ones with a fresh apple bundt cake that’s truly unforgettable.

Gravenstein Apple Cake

Gravenstein Apple Cake Recipe

After baking this cake, you spoon hot buttermilk sauce all over it... Prep time includes wait time.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: < 4 Hours, Apple, Canadian, Dessert, For Large Groups, Fruit, Halloween, Oven, Weeknight
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Calories: 522kcal


  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups safflower oil (or other light vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups grated unpared gravenstein apples
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup flaked coconut
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Generously spray a 10-inch tube pan with cooking spray.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon and set aside.
  • Combine 2 c sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and orange juice in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until well blended.
  • Stir in the flour mixture until blended.
  • Fold in grated apple, walnuts and coconut.
  • Put into tube pan and bake 1 1/2 hours, or until top springs back when lightly pressed.
  • Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.
  • Combine 1 c sugar, butter 1/2 tsp baking soda and buttermilk in saucepan.
  • Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture comes to boil.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  • Sauce should still be warm, but not boiling.
  • Remove cake onto serving plate with raised edge.
  • Puncture top of cake all over with skewer.
  • Spoon hot sauce over warm cake several times until cake absorbs most of it.
  • Let stand at least an hour before serving.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 119g | Calories: 522kcal | Carbohydrates: 59.8g | Protein: 5.2g | Fat: 30.3g | Saturated Fat: 6.8g | Cholesterol: 55.2mg | Sodium: 159.3mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 40.5g

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