Well my friends, it’s officially October, which means two things. 1) My daily footwear has switched from a carefree summery sandal to my mud-crusted & weather-worn rubber boots, and 2) it’s time to eat as many apples as humanly possible. Here in our neck of the woods, they’re literally raining down from the giant old apple tree in our backyard. One fell off the tree and hit me in the nose the other day. I suppose I should be grateful it didn’t hit me in the eye, but still. It felt personal. Alas, last month I cut up many of those apples and baked them into this delicious apple sheet cake, so I can understand the tree’s desire for revenge.
And honestly, I’d take an apple to the eye in exchange for this sheet cake any day. I know that the world is enamored with fancy iced layer cakes (at least according to the internet), but I’m a simple girl at heart, and I much prefer a plain old sheet cake. I love sheet cakes because they come together so easily—there’s no fuss with layers and icing, or unmolding the cake from the pan while praying to a variety of gods that it all stays in one piece. There’s also so many variations on it that you can change up the flavor profile with minimal effort.
Since it’s apple season, I cored and quartered some apples and nestked them into a simple cake batter with a touch of lemon and cinnamon in it. Then while the cake was baking I made a quick honey cinnamon syrup, and then poured it over the cake once it came out of the oven. When the cake cooled down to room temp and absorbed the syrup, it turned into the most moist and autumnal little cake slice I could have dreamed up. The cake itself has a denser feel, almost like a coffee cake, and it honestly is reallllly good with a hot cup of coffee or tea. I hope you enjoy it and that it adds more coziness to your autumn, my friend!
Apple Sheet Cake with Honey Cinnamon Syrup
Apple Sheet Cake
- 3 cups flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temp
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 5 large eggs room temp
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice saving the juiced lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup whole milk room temp
- 3 apples peeled, cored, and cut into quarters
Honey Cinnamon Syrup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Apple Sheet Cake + Honey Cinnamon Syrup
- Take one of the apple quarters, and cut it into thin slices but do NOT cut all the way down, just about halfway down through the apple. You want it to be attached at the bottom, you’re basically just scoring the rounded exterior part of the apple quarter (look at the photos in the post for a visual). Repeat with all the apple quarters so they all have score lines cut into the rounded exterior part. Rub the scored part of the apple quarters with the leftover lemon from juicing to get a bit of juice on the exterior (this will help keep them from browning while you make the batter). Set them aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a roughly 9 and 1/2 by 13-inch rectangle casserole dish and line the bottom with parchment paper and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until combined. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugar at medium low speed until combined and slightly pale in color. Add the olive oil and mix until smooth, then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Add the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Then reduce the speed to low and alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk in three increments, mixing until the batter is *just* combined (do not overmix).
- Pour the batter into the prepared rectangle baking pan. Evenly space out the apple quarters on the cake, scored side facing up. Place the pan in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, you can make the syrup. Heat the honey, water, and cinnamon together in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When the cake is finished baking, remove it from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Evenly drizzle it with the syrup and allow it to cool to room temperature while it absorbs the syrup. Slice and serve and enjoy! The cake will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, it’s best enjoyed warm, so you can take a slice and microwave it for about 30 seconds to warm it up before diving into cake leftovers 🙂