The Last Apple Cake of the Season

Join me in a collective moan, please. My three-year-old MacBook died this morning as I went to turn it on to finish this post. I’ve got worse problems than photo editing, currently, such as retrieving an insane amount of data, but today we’re going to make do with just one photo in a post. The rest of the pretty pictures are on a hard drive that just keeled over and died. (Don’t worry, I have back-ups, so I’m not totally panicked, just temporarily adrift.)

But I wanted to get this post to you before you read it and think, “What? Apples? It’s May: strawberry season, asparagus time, month of rhubarb.”

For those of you already thinking that, here’s what happened to me last Saturday, while most of the city was still sleeping. I beat the crowds to the farmers’ market only to find, for the second visit in a row, the farmstands void of anything springy, apart from a few greenhouse greens and some nettles (which I bought and cooked, thanks to Hank Shaw’s smart instructions not to kill myself eating raw, then blended into a pesto).

Instead of anything springy, I spent my dollars on apples. Five Fuji apples for eating, a couple Empire apples for baking up something nice. I didn’t want to bake a cinnamon-and-brown-sugar-laced cake, though. I wanted to turn my apples into something as springy as the 65-and-sunny weather that was making us so impatient for spring produce.

Out went the spices and walnuts and in went lemon, yogurt, and almond flour for lightness.

You’re not going to trick anyone into thinking she’s eating strawberries and rhubarb, but while we wait for the harvest here in the northeast, this cake is a yummy early spring substitute.


Almond, Apple & Lemon Cake
Serves 10 to 12

This recipe is adapted from Grandma Esther’s Plum and Walnut Cake. Some of you didn’t love how there was a whole cup of oil, so I replaced half with yogurt in this lighter version.

1/2 cup oil (I used half olive oil and half safflower, would be okay with all olive oil if you like the taste of olive oil cakes.
1/2 cup whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup almond flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups chopped apples from 3 peeled and cored Empire apples

Oil a 9-inch square baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat the oil, yogurt, sugar, eggs and lemon zest.

In a smaller bowl, combine the white and almond flours, salt, and baking soda. Pour the dry ingredients over the wet and fold in. Fold in the apple and the walnuts.

Bake 1 hour to 1 hour 5 minutes, checking often as you get to the end to make sure the cake’s not burning, until the top is crisp and brown and a toothpick or skewer inserted in comes out clean.


  1. Noooooooo so sorry about your MacBook! That’s the worst!

    At least you have a pretty cake 🙂

  2. There’s nothing worse than computer troubles!

    We would love to try this in muffin form as a breakfast treat. Would greek yogurt work as well?

  3. NOOOOOO to your macbook dying :(:(:(
    what are you going to do 🙁

    the cake looks wonderful! xxx

  4. I love this easy recipe for traditional apple cake. You’ve done it justice by subbing in yogurt to lighten it up for spring. What about lemon yogurt to enhance the citrus flavor?

    And for kosher keepers who want to keep it non-dairy, can you confirm that the only change is to use one cup of oil and eliminate the yogurt? I’m assuming but want to be sure. HAPPY SPRING!

    • Yes, you nailed it! If you nix the yogurt and put in the full 1 cup of oil, you’re back to kosher (and the traditional apple cake). Hope you enjoy if you make!

      Also, are you related to Sarah Gelman, now Rueven? Went to camp with her and there seemed to be a facebook connection to you. Small world!

  5. I love cakes, but chocolates cakes are my favorites, I never try fruits cakes. Even I heard 1st time apple cakes. It looks yummy also. I will definitely get it on next occasion.

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