I wanted to share a particular tradition that we have in our family.  My mother-In-law Maria, who was pure Napolitana, had to learn about American Thanksgiving and adopted this cake as her signature holiday dessert. When she passed away 6 years ago, I took on the duty of Apple Cake.  Both my husband and brother-in-law love this cake and I am expected to produce it for every major holiday.

The original recipe comes from a news clipping in the Washington Post from 1986, here you have it:

Apple Walnut Cake with Apple Cider Glaze


  • 1 1/2 Cups vegetable oil
  • 2 Cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Cup whole-wheat flour, sifted
  • 4 Cups shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/4 Cups coarse chunks of peeled and cored apples
  • 3 Tablespoons applejack
  • Apple Cider Glaze (recipe below)

Apple Cider Glaze:

  • 4 Tablespoons sweet butter
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons applejack or apple brandy
  • 4 Tablespoons sweet cider
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat vegetable oil and sugar until thick and opaque. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together flour, cloves, cinnamon, mace, baking soda and salt, then stir in whole-wheat flour. Add to oil and egg mixture and mix until well blended. Add walnuts, apple chunks and applejack all at once and stir batter until pieces are evenly distributed.
  3. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch round cake pan.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Apple Cider Glaze:

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and cook for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly.
  2. Pour while still warm over warm cake. When cooled, the sugar will crystallize forming a lovely, crunchy and sweet icing.
  3. Makes 1 1/2 cups glaze.

Serve with either fresh Panna or Vanilla ice cream.  

TIP: Make sure you have the correct pan, it really has to be 10 inches.  I have tried to make it with a regular cake pan and it doesn't come out the same at all.  The pan is the same pan that Maria used to make it, pictured above.  It is a magic Apple Cake pan!