Apple Cake with Brown Butter Pecan Icing

via Globe & Mail, Stephanie Eddy

No mixer necessary for this fall-inspired recipe. (I absolutely used a mixer… C.x) Fresh apple chunks are baked into a lightly spiced cake, then draped with a brown-butter icing and topped with toasted pecans with minimal time and effort required. It’s the perfect, low-key way to celebrate the arrival of fall (and accept that summer is over).

  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Ready time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
  • Servings: One 8-inch cake


1 1/2 cups (200 g) flour

1/2 cup (100 g) white sugar

1/2 cup (85 g) light brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

2 eggs

1/2 cup (105 g) canola oil

2 cups chopped gala apples (approximately 2-3 medium apples)


3/4 cup pecan halves

1 1/2 tsp canola oil

1/2 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt


1/2 cup (113 g) unsalted butter

2 cups icing sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp whipping cream


Preheat the oven to 350 F, grease and flour a round or square 8-inch pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

In a separate bowl, whisk the two eggs until light yellow and foamy. Next, whisk in the oil until it’s combined completely.

Stir the oil mixture into the flour mixture, then fold in the chopped apple. The cake batter will be very thick, almost the consistency of cookie dough. Stir until there is no dry flour left and then press the batter evenly into the prepared cake pan.

Bake at 350 F for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the pecans.

Heat the 1 1/2 tsp of oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Place the pecans in a plastic bag and press on them a few times to break them into slightly smaller pieces. Add the pecans to the frying pan and sprinkle with the sugar and salt. Flip and stir the pecans until the sugar has dissolved and the pecans are toasted. Be careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and set aside.

When the cake is done baking, set it aside in its pan on a wire cooling rack while you make the icing.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir and swirl the butter continuously until it begins to turn a light golden brown and it smells toasted.

Remove the pan from heat and immediately stir in the icing sugar. Whisk in the whipping cream and vanilla until smooth. If the icing is not the right consistency to pour, whisk in additional whipping cream one teaspoon at a time.

The icing can be poured over the cake while still in the pan, or with the cake on a serving platter. Before adding the icing, use a toothpick to poke holes over the surface of the cake, then pour the warm icing over the warm cake. Allow the icing to set before serving.

The cake is good fresh, but even better the next day served at room temperature or briefly warmed in the microwave (10 to 15 seconds).

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