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Dutch Apple Cake

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This very simple, very tasty dessert is a depression-era product. Times were difficult in the South during the Great Depression, but if you had butter and eggs you could make this cake. Generally speaking, many people had cows and chickens, so that was often the case. My mother described how her grandmother would make Dutch Apple Cake – straightforward and making the best of what you have. She worked to recreate the taste and memory and was happy with this result. In so many ways this cake is reflective of the depression times she talked about.

Baked Dutch Apple Cake in pan
Dutch Apple Cake

This cake features the ingredients. The apples, the butter, and the eggs or what you taste. For flavoring, only vanilla can be used. As an option, you can put some cinnamon on top. It really depends on how you want to use it.

Serve the Dutch Apple Cake as is, or top with whipped cream or ice cream. BTW, it is great warm or cold.

Notes on Technique

Arranging the Apple Slices

I am fortunate to live where I can get new crop apples every fall. This cake shows off the apples, peels and all. The peel can remain on the apples or can be removed if they seem tough. The apples are sliced and placed upright in the cake. I am told my great-grandmother lined the slices up in parallel lines, so I do too. A square or rectangle baking pan accentuates the appearance.

Dutch Apple Cake ready for baking
Ready for Baking

Room Temperature

A standard of baking is to use room temperature ingredients. Set out your butter, eggs, and milk before starting. This soft light-textured cake certainly requires it.

Notes on Ingredients

Vanilla or Vanilla Sugar

The recipe calls for vanilla and sugar. If you bake frequently, you may keep a container of vanilla sugar. I use the conversion formula of 1/4 cup of vanilla sugar to replace 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Therefore using a cup of vanilla sugar works well.

Alternatively, you may decide to use vanilla sugar to sprinkle on top before baking. This option releases a wonderful vanilla scent when baked.


Another alternative is sprinkling cinnamon on top. This changes the flavoring quite a bit, but both with and without are great.

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Baked Dutch Apple Cake

Dutch Apple Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Simple, but perfect for your apples


  • ½ cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar, plus a bit extra to sprinkle on top
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup milk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, any kind
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease a 7x11 inch baking pan.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder together into a bowl.
  4. In a mixer bowl using slow speed, cream the butter Add the sugar slowly, creaming in as you go.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time. Creaming after each addition.
  6. Add the flour and milk a bit at a time, mixing in as you go. (Add some flour and mix in, add some milk then mix in, and then repeat.)
  7. Stir in the vanilla and pour the batter into the greased pan, smoothing gently.
  8. Peel the apples and cut them into fourths. Core the apples then cut into slices about a ¼ an inch at the thickest.
  9. Place the slices upright in the pan in rows, with just a little space in between. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Add cinnamon if you like.
  10. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  11. Serve as is, or top with some whipped cream, creme fraiche, or ice cream.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 224Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 160mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 20gProtein: 3g

Calculated Nutrition is estimated.

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