Do you like super moist apple squares with just the right amount of sweetness? If you do, this Almond Apple Square Cake is just for you! All you need are two bowls, a few apples and a cup of tea (or coffee).
This recipe was originally published on November 22, 2015 and republished on September 28, 2018 with improvements to the recipe, updated content and photos.
With the arrival of apple season, there is one apple recipe that I absolutely have to share with all of you. It’s my mom’s Apple Squares.
Over the years, I have made slight modifications to make this almond apple cake recipe a little healthier and it continues to be a family favorite.
As far as the actual recipe is concerned, it’s basically a two bowl recipe, just like the preparation of these apple pie muffins, another family favorite.
The most time-consuming part in this Apple Cake is dicing and slicing the apples. Depending on how much time I have, sometimes, I will top off the cake with diced apples, and sometimes I will use thinly sliced apples. Both make a lovely top crust.
Once again, I am getting ahead of myself so let me show you how easy this is…
How to Make this Almond Apple Square Cake:
The first thing we are going to do is prepare the nut topping. Simply combine the almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon and set it aside while we get started with the rest of the ingredients.
In another bowl, sift the dry ingredients together and set them aside.
Pro Tip: Sifting the dry ingredients together will allow for better distribution of all the individual ingredients throughout the dry mixture. The process also aerates the dry ingredients making the final product lighter in texture.
In another bowl, we are going to combine all of the liquid ingredients. Begin by whisking the two eggs together. Whisk the eggs until they are light in color and begin to thicken. Gradually whisk in the sugar, followed by the vegetable oil and finally the applesauce.
The applesauce you see here is the one I have made with this recipe. The ingredients to make this easy homemade applesauce consist of apples, cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg. Once you start making your own, you will never buy commercial again -at least that is what happened to me 🙂
Just in case you are wondering, you could use your stand mixture for this recipe. Personally, I find it easier to use a couple of bowls and a good old-fashioned whisk to beat the ingredients together.
It’s time to start dicing and slicing some apples. The three apples that get diced will go in the batter and the one apple that will get sliced will be placed on top of the batter.
Today, I decided to use McIntosh apples. Cortland apples are another great choice for this apple cake. In fact, feel free to experiment and use different varieties of apples.
Try to dice your apples uniformly so that they cook evenly. As far as the size is concerned, dice 1/2 inch or smaller.
Remember that nut mixture we prepared a few minutes ago, remove about three tablespoons. This will be the final touch to this apple cake as it will be sprinkled over the top. Combine the rest of the nut mixture with these diced apples.
Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and combine together. Do not over mix.
Add the diced apple/nut mixture to the batter and gently combine together.
Surprisingly, there isn’t a lot of batter for the amount of apples. But the magical ability of apples to release moisture really works in this recipe.
And what is even more magical about this apple cake – it becomes moister the second day around (if it lasts that long). And as a bonus, it freezes wonderfully. Perhaps I should have called this recipe a Moist Apple Cake!
Once the batter has been poured in a 9 x 9 greased square pan, top with that fourth apple that has been thinly sliced.
Finally, top with the reserved three tablespoons of nut mixture. In the oven it goes for about forty-five minutes.
These apple squares can be served warm or at room temperature and because they are not overly sweet they are great at any time of the day.
Apples have been used throughout the world in desserts by lots of different cultures; take, for example, apple streusel, polish apple cake, apple pie, apple bar recipes with fresh apples… to name but a few.
How could there possible be that many best apple recipes, right? Then I started to think about what defines a recipe as being the best.
It goes without saying that your final product has to taste good. But if the recipe is associated with a wonderful memory, well, that would make it the “best” recipe as far as I am concerned.
Origins of the recipe for Almond Apple Square Cake:
My mom would make this apple cake a few times a month, usually as the dessert following the traditional Italian Sunday lunch (you know the one that lasts three hours and gathers about 15 people around the table). In fact, she would often alternate between this recipe and her Ciambella recipe.
She would verbally refer to this cake as la torta ebrea, the Jewish Cake. When my mom immigrated to Canada, she worked a few years in the manufacturing industry, along with a few of her sisters.
If my memory serves me right, one of the ladies that worked with them was of Jewish origin. She shared her recipe with one of my aunt’s, who in turn shared it with my mom.
I’ve taken the liberty of making a few modifications to this easy apple squares recipe.
- I’ve reduced the amount of sugar by 1/3 of a cup;
- I’ve decreased the amount of flour (slightly);
- I replaced part of the vegetable oil with this homemade applesauce (always finding ways to reduce total fat intake 🙂 and
- I’ve added a little vanilla extract.
As far as the almonds are concerned, I combined them with a little cinnamon and brown sugar in order to create a little crunch.
This modified version of my mom’s Almond Apple Square Cake is one of our favorite apple desserts, especially in the autumn.
It’s one of those cakes that’s actually better the next day. Super moist with just the right amount of sweetness. You really need to try it!
THANKS SO MUCH for following and being part of the She Loves Biscotti community where you will find Simple & Tasty Family-Friendly Recipes with an Italian Twist.
Ciao for now,
★★★★★ If you have made this Almond Apple Square Cake recipe, I would love to hear about it in the comments below and be sure to rate the recipe!
Almond Apple Square Cake
This Almond Apple Cake has magical abilities... it tastes better the day after it is made!
- 1/2 cup almonds raw, whole, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or more to your liking
- 1 1/3 cup flour 200 grams, all purpose
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup sugar granulated
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup applesauce
- 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 medium apples peeled, cored and diced
- 1 medium apple peeled, cored and sliced
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ (175°C) .
Grease and flour (or use non-stick spray) a 9 x 9 square pan. Set aside.
Prepare the nut topping by combining almonds, brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Reserve about 3 tablespoons of this mixture to spread on top of cake. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs together until light and frothy.
Add the sugar and continue to whisk until thick. Whisk for about 2 minutes.
Add the vegetable oil, applesauce and vanilla extract and whisk together for about a minute or so. Set aside while we chop up the apples.
- Combine the diced apples to the nut mixture and set aside.
- Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon. Do not over mix.
Gently combine the apple mixture.
- Pour batter into greased 9 x 9 pan.
- Place thinly sliced apples firmly on the top.
Sprinkle reserved 3 tablespoons of nut topping.
Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes until golden and cake tester comes out clean.
- Transfer pan to a rack where it can cool down for about 15 minutes.
I like to use McIntosh apples for this recipe.
You can easily remove the almonds if there are nut allergies in your household.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.
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