In this fabulous, make-far-ahead recipe, apples are folded into a traditional loaf cake batter and swirled together with warming fall spices. The cake is baked and can be cooled, tightly wrapped and frozen as an easy option that will keep for weeks ahead of Thanksgiving or whenever you need it (hello, hostess gifts!). The frosting can also be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 14 days. What makes this cake extra special is that before serving, each slice gets warmed in the skillet with melted butter, then frosted and topped with flaky salt.
Bonus: Because it’s a loaf cake, there’s no need to haphazardly slice the cake in half and fill the center with frosting. While we’re all for a layer cake, this recipe is decidedly easy.
If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.
Swap Option: Ground ginger is warmer and more potent than fresh ginger, which tends to be sweet and juicy. If you’re all out of ground ginger — or if you just have some fresh ginger stashed in the fridge that you want to use up — use a full tablespoon of grated fresh ginger.
Technique Tip: Be careful not to overmix the batter in order to keep this loaf cake moist and fluffy.
Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup olive, grapeseed, canola or vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cups Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and shredded
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- flaky salt, for garnish
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, plus more as needed
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray or grease it with butter.2.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium bowl.3.
In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, oil, yogurt and vanilla extract.4.
Add the apples to the wet ingredients and fold to combine with a rubber spatula. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently fold everything together until just combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean (the loaf will spring back if you press a fingertip down on the top and the loaf pulls away slightly from the sides of the pan). Cool in the pan for 30 minutes to 1 hour before unmolding.5.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a medium bowl with a hand mixer, whisk together cream cheese and butter at a medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Whip in vanilla extract, cinnamon, confectioners' sugar, salt and milk in a medium bowl until combined. If the mixture is too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time until desired consistency is reached.6.
Remove the cooled cake from the pan. Slice into 1-inch thick pieces. In a medium skillet over medium heat, working in batches, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Once bubbling, add a slice of apple loaf and toast 1 to 2 minutes per side until golden. Sprinkle with flaky salt and spread with frosting. Repeat with remaining slices7.
Alternatively, wait for the cake to cool, wrap it tightly in plastic and then foil and freeze until ready to serve. The frosting can be made and stored in the fridge for up to 14 days. To thaw, remove the cake from the freezer and transfer it to the fridge for 8 hours. Remove frosting from the fridge, bring to room temperature, and re-whip to improve the texture. Toast the slices in butter, top with salt and spread with cream cheese frosting.