Liesbeth’s gran’s apple cake without butter

Like I promised in my previous post, this recipe is also one that I made for my birthday party. This cake is an absolute staple every year, because everyone I know loves this cake. And the best thing? There’s no butter in there!


My mother got this recipe from her friend Liesbeth, who sent it to her as “grandmother’s apple cake”. Now I’m not sure if the recipe was really Liesbeth’s gran’s, but I like the story, so I’m sticking with it.


The recipe is fairly simple:


4 eggs

250 grams of granulated sugar

1 sachet of vanilla sugar

250 grams of self-raising flour

4 large apples (I used the Dutch favourite, goudreinet, but any cooking apple that goes soft but not pulpy will do)

100 grams of raisins and sultanas

cinnamon and granulated sugar for the top

Spring form with a 24 cm diameter (the standard size in the Netherlands)


Preheat the oven at 175 degrees C.

Beat the eggs, granulated sugar and vanilla sugar until it’s an airy creamy texture.

Sift in the flour and mix it through.

Peel the apples and cut them into small bits, add them to the mixture.

Add raisins or sultanas

Grease the spring form and dust with flour

Put the batter into the spring form and sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on the top.

Gently push the cinnamon and sugar into the batter with the back of a metal spoon.

Cook for approximately 1 hour.

Check if the cake is ready to be taken out of the over. Once it’s ready, take the cake out of the oven, cut around the edge.

Let cool for 5 mins and then remove the cake from the spring form.


When you’ve done all that, you end up with something that looks a bit like this:


Now, I’ll be the first to admit that over the years that I’ve been making this cake, I’ve made a few changes.


The first change is that I start by cutting the apples and once they’re all cut, I add the sultanas (I only ever use sultanas and I use as many as I like. I just gage it by eye). Then, I take a heaped tablespoon of cinnamon and add that to the apple mixture and give the bowl a good shake for a minute or so until all the apple and sultana bits are coated in it. When I add this to the cake mixture, the cinnamon gets spread out throughout the cake batter and that means that it’s going to be extra yummy.


Quite often, I will forget to dust the tin with flour. Please, if you learn anything form me, learn that this is NOT a good idea. The cake will stick to the sides something awful and it will end up looking like a battlefield instead of a cake. So please,  do better than I do.


Lastly, I don’t always put the cinnamon and sugar on the top. the reason for this is that quite often, it simply falls off again when I cut the cake. Another thing that sometimes happens is that the sugar burns and makes the top taste bitter. That is the reason I often don’t bother with it, and just put the cinnamon and sugar inside the batter and not on the top.


Having said that, the reason I;ve made this cake so often is because the end result is the moistest, softest apple cake you can imagine. It is so magnificent that no matter how often I make it, it is always gone by the end of the afternoon. So get going and make one yourself, and please, let me know the results!

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