marilyn’s apple cake

Please note 1 Tbsp vanilla and this is not a misprint – Marilyn swears by the need for the extra vanilla! This cake is just delicious especially with your favourite caramel sauce.


2 tbsp butter, at room temperature

4 Tbsp of brown sugar, divided

10 firm, tart apples, peeled and cored (like Braeburn; about 900g.) Cut 5 of the apples in half – for the remaining 5 – cut each apple into six slices

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

2 ½ cups flour

2 cups sugar

6 large eggs

225g unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 tbsp vanilla

Crème fraîche (for serving)


  1. Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 175°C. Line bottom and sides of a 22cm spring form pan with grease-proof paper, set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp butter and 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the five apples that you cut in half, and cook, turning occasionally, until apples are golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Remove just the apples from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining tablespoon of sugar to the pan.  Add the remaining apples and cook, turning occasionally, until apples are golden brown, 10–12 minutes.
  4. Arrange the first set of apples – cut side up – in the bottom of prepared cake pan so most of the pan is covered (a few gaps are ok).
  5. Whisk baking powder, salt, lemon zest,  flour, and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in eggs and remaining melted butter until smooth. Fold in vanilla.
  6. Pour half of batter over apples in cake pan, top with remaining apples, then pour remaining batter over. Bake cake until top is golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45–60 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool slightly; turn out onto rack and let cool.
  7. Serve cake with your favourite caramel sauce and crème fraîche.



Cake can be baked 1 day ahead. Keep wrapped tightly at room temperature.