Apple-Pie Cake

Apple Pie Cake

Densely packed with thinly sliced apples and topped with a buttery cinnamon-sugar crumble top. I’m calling this classic combination of sweet autumnal favorites an Apple-Pie Cake, or more precisely an Apple-Pie Crumb Cake because it’s a rather obvious marriage of two well-known and well-loved desserts. Apple Pie and Crumb Cake.

However, the real inspiration for this dessert comes from a lesser known sweet treat that got a lot of attention in the 1990s when Ann Willan featured it on a cooking segment of Martha Stewart Living.

Anne’s version was eventually pictured on the cover of her cookbook, Anne Willan: From My Chateau Kitchen. She called it an Apple Gateau, which is French for cake. However, her sweet, tart variation on a traditional layer cake was made without flour or eggs. In fact her Apple Cake was nothing more very thin slices of apple, layered with butter and sugar in a round pan. This stack of simple flavors was then “baked” at 175 degrees for 12 to 14 hours. You read that right– 12 to 14 hours!

I’ve made Anne’s version several times. If you have the time it’s surprisingly easy to accomplish– considering the elegant results. I’ll probably present her version here someday. Though I may have already promised that once or twice before and still not delivered. After all, 12 hours of cooking is quite a kitchen commitment, even for me.

The thing about Anne’s Apple Cake is it always seemed closer to an apple-pie cake to me because the apples were peeled, thinly sliced and stewed in their own sweet juices until they took on the luscious texture of pie. However, its crustless, stand alone shape suggests cake. It’s a fascinating combination.

Like I said, I don’t have 12 hours of baking in me right now, so I’ve cheated her recipe into the Apple-Pie Crumb Cake you see here. Like Anne’s gateau, my Apple-Pie Cake is neither pie nor crumb cake. But the flavors and texture will remind of both of these classic desserts and you won’t have to spend 12 hours in the kitchen. GREG

Apple-Pie CakeApple-Pie Cake Apple-Pie Cake

Apple-Pie Crumble Cake 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Source Adapted from Martha Stewart LivingPublished

This cake is best soon after it’s made, but it will store, covered at room temperature, about 36 hours.

apple-pie crumble cake


  • 2 ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoon cinnamon (divided)
  • 10 ounce cold unsalted butter (cut into ½‑inch cubes)
  • 3 pound crisp, tart apple (such as Granny Smith)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon corn starch
  • powdered sugar (as needed)


In a large bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment combine flour, brown sugar, and 2 teaspoon cinnamon. Pulse the mixture until well-combined. Add the cubed butter and pulse several more times until a course sandy texture with pea-sized pieces sprinkled throughout is achieved. You may alternatively use 2 knives or a pastry blade. Press ½ of the mixture onto bottom and halfway up the sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Place the remaining mixture into a medium bowl and put both the springform pan and the bowl into the refrigerator to chill at least 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the oven rack in the center position and preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Peel, halve lengthwise and core the apples, then thinly slice them (¼‑inch, or preferably less). The food processor fitted with the slicing blade works very well for this job.

Remove the remaining crumb mixture and the prepared springform pan from the refrigerator. Set the springform pan on an aluminum foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. 

Place the apple slices into a large bowl and toss them well with granulated sugar, corn starch, and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Once the cornstarch has moistened, pile the apple slices into the prepared springform pan, pressing down as you work to pack as many of them in as you can. You might not use all the apples, but do use enough that they mound about 1‑inch above the edge of the pan. Sprinkle as much of the remaining crumb mixture on top as you can. Pressing it down to fill spaces before adding more.

Put the pan on its baking sheet in the oven; bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven. run a knife around the edge of the pan, and let the cake completely cool in the pan to set. Remove springform ring before slicing. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; serve immediately.