Rebecca’s Recipe of the Week: An unusual Apple Cake

October 28, 2021 by General Administrator

Here is a different sort of apple cake. Unlike the Apple Spice Cake of a fortnight ago, this one uses yeast. But don’t panic! It’s very easy and doesn’t require any kneading. The result is somewhere between a bread and a cake; it’s very moist, and is good toasted.

Using yeast to leaven a cake is an old practice. Before the invention of bicarbonate of soda and baking powder in the nineteenth century, eggs provided one way to create a light texture. Yeast was another. Many traditional English cakes were originally leavened with yeast. This loaf is heavier than a typical cake, but still crumbly—see what you think!

Apple Loaf – makes 1 large loaf

If you don’t have a set of cup measures, don’t worry. 1 cup = 8 fluid ounces, so you can use an ordinary measuring jug.


1 tablespoon dried yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water or apple juice
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup runny honey
2 eggs
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 cups wholewheat plain flour (use white flour, or a mixture, if you prefer)
2 cups apples, cut into small (¼-inch) pieces—fine to leave unpeeled
½ cup nuts, toasted in a dry pan and coarsely chopped (optional)
¼ cup raisins or chopped dates (optional)


Oil a loaf pan and set it aside. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water or juice. Leave to one side for 5 minutes, or until it starts to bubble a bit. (If it doesn’t bubble, your yeast is probably dead.)

Combine the oil, honey, eggs, salt, spices, vanilla and zest in a large bowl and mix well. If you have stand mixer use it to beat the mixture for 5 minutes, for added lightness.

Stir in the yeasty water/juice.

Add the flour and stir well to combine.

Stir in the apples and optional nuts and raisins (if used).

Turn into the oiled loaf pan and leave to rise for 1-2 hours, or until about double. When it’s nearly there preheat the oven to 180C.

When the oven is hot put in the loaf and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a cake tester emerges clean. Leave to cool and eat with butter for breakfast. It’s nice toasted.

Recipe adapted from Edward Espe Brown, The Tassajara Bread Book (1970).

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