Recipe: Apple Harvest Cake

8 Nov

While growing up in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Fall always meant apples.  Ripe apples fresh off the trees.  My favorite was the Golden Delicious.  If you picked one just before it peaked, the skin of the apple was golden yellow with just the tiniest tinge of green, and the flesh crisp and sweet-tart.

Of course, the apple harvest also meant apple pies, muffins, crisps, cakes, jellies and sauces.  Markets and fruit stands were a kaleidoscope of baskets bursting with freshly-picked red, green and yellow varieties.  Making apple butter was a social event for many churches and youth groups whose members churned for hours over intense heat of the cauldron fire.  Fresh apple cider was a seasonal treat – served cold or warmed with mulling spices.

This recipe was adapted from my Grandmother’s applesauce cake recipe.  It’s a wonderful rich, moist cake big enough for a potluck crowd or an extended family gathering.  I like to make my own chunky applesauce using Granny Smith apples.

Apple Harvest Cake


  • 2 ½ cups applesauce
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 4 cups flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • In a large pot, heat applesauce, sugar and shortening until melted.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add soda and stir – mixture will foam up when soda is added.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, allspice, cinnamon and ground cloves.
  • Slowly stir flour mixture into heated mixture.
  • Add raisins and nuts, and stir well.
  • Bake in a greased loaf pan or flat 9×13 pan for 20 minutes at 325 F, then at 300F for 45-55 minutes or until done.
  • Remove from oven, cool and slice to serve.

Enjoy and be prepared – you will be asked for the recipe!

What’s your favorite apple dish?



One Response to “Recipe: Apple Harvest Cake”

  1. susanlilly November 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    I love this recipe because it calls for applesauce instead of sliced apples — less time consuming that way. Also, for those who don’t keep shortening in the pantry, I’ve found that using the same amount of butter is a perfect substitute.

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