Cooking With My Mama: Teddie’s Apple Cake

Teddie's Apple Cake

Is it sick that shortly after dinner, often when I’m still full, I start looking forward to breakfast? It is a little, isn’t it? Well, what can I say, it’s the truth. But it isn’t any old breakfast I go to bed dreaming about. It’s a little something called Teddie’s Apple Cake, a treat my mother introduced me to, and I think it’s something you’ll all enjoy.

The recipe for Teddie’s Apple Cake first appeared in The New York Times in 1973, and Amanda Hesser republished the recipe in 2007. Who Teddie is remains a mystery, but that’s beside the point. Teddie made a damn good cake, and for that we should be thankful.

Made with oil not butter, this cake is super moist and seems to get better by the day (not unlike another favorite cake of mine). But what I love most about this cake is the crispy top crust, similar to that of a really good brownie. I prefer this apple cake for breakfast — it’s such a treat with my coffee — but the recipe suggests serving it with vanilla ice cream, so it certainly could be served for dessert. Just know that whenever you serve it, it will be a hit, and don’t hesitate to make it a few days in advance if you’re planning on serving it for company — it stays moist and delectable days after it is baked.

I should note that the title of this post is a little misleading. I took no part in the preparation of this cake, only the eating. My mom came to town to meet Graham, her newest grandson, and to keep me well fed in the process. I could get used to this sort of thing. No cooking, no cleaning, just eating. Hmmmmmm.

Finally, if you’re looking for a yummy apple dessert, this is my favorite.

my mama

Teddie's Apple Cake

Teddie's Apple Cake

Mom in town to meet Graham, my newest bun out of the oven.
mom and graham

Note: This cake gets better by the day. If you’re preparing it for a weekend brunch, don’t be afraid to make it a day or two in advance. It will be delectable and moist days after baking.

Teddie’s Apple Cake

Source: Amanda Hesser and The New York Times
Yield = 1 bundt pan, serves 8 to 10

Butter for greasing pan
3 cups flour, plus more for dusting pan
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups peeled, cored and thickly sliced tart apples, like Honeycrisp or Granny Smith*
1 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted — I prefer baked goods without nuts)
1 cup raisins (Also omitted — I prefer baked goods without raisins)
Vanilla ice cream (optional, definitely optional — I prefer this cake for breakfast)

*I used a mix of Fuji, York and Cameo — use whatever you have on hand or whatever variety you prefer to bake with

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. Beat the oil and sugar together in a mixer (fitted with a paddle attachment) while assembling the remaining ingredients. After about 5 minutes, add the eggs and beat until the mixture is creamy.

2. Sift together 3 cups of flour, the salt, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir into the batter. Add the vanilla, apples, walnuts (if using) and raisins (if using) and stir until combined.

3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve at room temperature with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Teddie's apple cake

Teddie's Apple Cake


  1. says

    I feel a bit reluctant to the idea of eating cake for breakfast, probably because my mother would have never let us eat sweets for breakfast. It’s not something we would have done, but I think I’d love it. The apple cake sounds delicious, and your pictures made me really want to have a slice, too.

  2. says

    It wasn’t this recipe, but I made an apple cake extremely similar — oil instead of butter, better with age — when my husband’s (then fiancee) parents first came to stay with us. Incredible. It reminded me of Amish Friendship Bread, with apples, in bundt cake form. Never thought to have it for breakfast, though I can imagine a slice toasted up to crystallize the cinnamon sugar even further. A treat with coffee or tea! And of course, what a joy to share it with family!



  3. says

    I completely trust you with any apple dessert. The Balzano cake is still my favorite of all time, thanks to your post. This looks delicious and I love the apron!

    • says

      Thank you, Rena! So nice to hear from you. I am making Balzano Apple Cake for a potluck Thanksgiving next Saturday. I’ve yet to make it this season. Soooooo looking forward to it!

  4. Libby says

    Can’t wait to try this! But I’m inclined to use Cortland apples, my fave baking apple. I’m surprised you’d recommend Honey Crisp apples for this cake, inasmuch as Honey Crisps are the world’s most perfect apple — crisp and sweet and ideal for eating, as-is.

    • says

      Hi Libby,

      You know, I think I actually used a mix of Fuji, York and Cameo apples. I’ll make a note of that. Honey Crisp was the variety of apples recommended by the NYTimes. I bet they would be delicious, but I think any sort of apple you have on hand will do. The very original recipe I think called for Red Delicious, which does not sound so delicious to me :)

    • says

      Hi Beth,

      A spring form pan will probably work. My only concern is that the middle will probably sink a lot as the cake cools. I don’t think this is really a problem — the orange and olive oil cake that I love so much is baked in a spring form and the middle completely sinks and it is so delicious and moist. So, I say go for it. I will feel really bad if the middle is underbaked, but if the only downside of using a spring form is cosmetic, then I say why not. Report back if you make any discoveries!

  5. says

    Can’t wait to try this recipe. This last week I made the “Artisan bread in 5 min. a day” starter and immediately made the Sticky Pecan Caramel Rolls. What a favorite for the family! Also made the “boule” to go with soup and finished off the dough with “Pizza Margharita”. Thank you, Thank you!

  6. says

    So I just pulled this cake out of the oven, let it cool for about .5 seconds, flipped it out of the plan, cut a slice and ate the entire thing in another .5 seconds. YUM. I added an extra streusel filling (chopped pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon) because I figured without that SUGARLICIOUS baby to hold that I would need a little extra sugar in my cake. thanks for sharing! Enjoy your family time!

    • says

      Talley, so glad to hear that you liked it! And you are genius — why did I not think to add streusel filling? And you need to educate me about kugelhopf pans. All I know is that I don’t own one and probably should.

  7. says

    do you think it would be rude if I cut the crusty top off and eat it all? like the top of the muffin? Zach will never know it’s missing….I made it in a kugelhopf pan so the top became the bottom….sneaky! so so so good!

  8. says

    You know, I dont get to do it often but I do sometimes on the weekends love to indulge myself on a piece of cake for breakfast. I love the look of this recipe and the fact that you can see the bits of apple. And may I say that your mama and Graham are too adorable!

  9. Bates says

    made this baby last night and it’s half gone… shepherd ate his entire lunch in less than 10 minutes after being promised a piece if he did so. oh, and when i came down this morning and asked dad what he and shep ate for breakfast, the response was, “cake.” soooo delish and love how crusty the outside bit is.

    • says

      Haha. This makes me so happy. So glad to hear you let Shep eat cake. Ella polished off about 1/4 of the orange and olive oil cake when my mom was in town. I couldn’t say no — it was the only time of the visit she wasn’t throwing herself on the floor in hysterics.

  10. says

    cake for breakfast sounds totally legit to me, but I’m a child of bill cosby’s “dad is great … give us the apple cake” parenting school. ::grin::

    congratulations on your adorable new family member!

  11. says

    Quite a few people have compared this cake to the Balzano cake, and it is similar. But dare I say that I like it EVEN BETTER?? The top is all crumbly and sugary and the slices of apples keep it nice and moist – yum! We put away a good chunk of it tonight so I have yet to see how it fares after a day or two. But for first impressions – wow. Thanks Ali!
    (PS – I made this with my mother, who is an even bigger fan of the Balzano than I am (and who says hi, too!)

    • says

      Lindsay this makes me so happy! I’m so glad you like it. It’s always nice to know that I’m not being unnecessarily enthusiastic. Tell your mom I say hi! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  12. says

    I have the NYT cookbook and I have been meaning to make this cake for the longest time. Your pictures finally got me going on it and it just came out of the oven about an hour ago. I couldn’t wait, tasted it and now kicking myself for not making such an easy recipe sooner. This cake is absolutely delicious! Thank you for the fabulous photos that got me into gear.

  13. Sandy says

    This looks great…I don’t have a paddle attachment for my mixer…will it still turn out all right? I want to make this tonight!

    • says

      Sandy — I think it will turn out just fine. As long as your whisk attachment (is that what you’ll be using?) can mix the oil and sugar together, using the whisk should hardly make a difference. Truthfully, I think the paddle is suggested so that it’s easier to incorporate the flour. You also could probably just stir in the dry ingredients with a spoon — you don’t want to overmix once the flour is in anyway. Hope that helps!

      • says

        Sandy — Also, I’m pretty sure my mother always uses a handheld mixer when she makes this cake — she doesn’t own a stand mixer, but I do, so when she made it while she was visiting, she used my mixer and the paddle attachment. The whisk will work just fine!

  14. Kamilla says

    Hi Alexandra, your blog has been a great inspiration to me! I have a random question for you: I noticed your cutting board in the picture, and have been looking for one like it myself. Any ideas where I could find one that’s wooden, and curls over like that? Cheers.

    • says

      Hi Kamilla!

      I love that cutting board, too, and I bought it from Williams Sonoma probably 5 years ago now. I tried to buy it for a friend about a year ago and noticed that WS no longer carries it. It’s so unfortunate!

      I just googled “over the counter wooden cutting boards” and a few things came up, but nothing quite like the one I have. My board unfortunately doesn’t have a brand name on it. This one comes up in a lot of places when I search:

      I don’t love it b/c I think that groove would bother me, but in some ways maybe it would be helpful, especially for carving meat? I wish I had some better guidance for you. If it makes you feel any better, the board I have warps every few weeks, so I have to flip it over every few weeks so that it doesn’t wobble when I chop.

      Let me know if you find something you like!

  15. Janet says

    Thanks so much for the recipe! Your pictures look AMAZING. I went out and got myself a bundt pan especially for this recipe! It is in the oven now…hopefully it turns out as good as it sounds! :)

  16. says

    Hi Ali- I ADORE the Photo of your Mom in your kitchen preparing you this cake!
    hoe nice for you to honour her in this way. She is a very attractive grandmother!
    baby adorable…although it’s a year later…I’m sure he enjoyed his 2 nd Christmas !
    i love your blog!

    • says

      Judith — thank you so much! I know, I am lucky to have such a nice mama, who makes me so many goodies. I think Graham is going to enjoy Christmas a little bit more this year though he still doesn’t really have any idea what’s going on :)

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  18. Amanda says

    This cake is delicious!

    I made it in a loaf pan and had a little leftover so put the leftovers in a ramekin. It took about 1h 30m to bake in a loaf pan in case anyone is interested! It’s also VERY dense! Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

  19. Amanda says

    This cake is delicious!

    I made it in a loaf pan and had a little leftover so I put the leftovers in a ramekin. It took about 1h 30m to bake in a loaf pan in case anyone is interested! It’s also VERY dense! Thanks for another fabulous recipe!

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