Grandmother Odom’s Apple Cake

I was lucky enough to have my Grandmother live with us when I was growing up.  She had a real sweet tooth and baked something almost every day.  In the fall, when it was apple season, she would bake this very simple apple cake and serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.  My mother and I loved this cake and never thought to write it down before my Grandmother died.  We searched her recipe cards  for years until we happily found it.  Interestingly enough, when I made this cake and about 10 others for my Cake Tour, everyone gravitated towards this cake.  It is very simple, quick to make but immensely satisfying. 

4 generous cups raw apples, peeled and cut coarse (about 5 large apples)

2 cups granulated sugar

½ cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Pan:  Bundt or Tube Pan

Preheat oven to 350F

Peel and chop apples and set aside in a large bowl.  Meanwhile, beat together sugar and oil in a stand mixer or by hand using a blending fork, and add eggs one at a time until creamy.  

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon and soda.  Add to batter in 3 stages.

Remove from stand mixer and fold in chopped apples.  The batter will be very stiff like cookie dough but will loosen up as the apples release their juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes, stir well and add walnuts. Mix well.

Pour batter into a prepared pan and place on a sheet pan to bake.

Bake 60-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan 10 minutes, then invert on a cake cooling rack.


 Sometimes my grandmother would make this cake with black walnuts that she gathered and cracked herself instead of traditional walnuts.  If you like black walnuts, you will love them in this cake.

Glaze: If you are serving the cake cool, a simple confectioner’s sugar glaze spiked with calvados and made with apple cider dresses this cake up.


DessertKirsten Teissier