Now Reading
A Southern Table: Chunky Apple Cake

A Southern Table: Chunky Apple Cake

A chunky apple, coconut cake that is studded with nuts and topped off with a brown sugar glaze that will satisfy any dessert craving.
By Laura Davis

Apple season has begun. I love fresh, crisp apples. At my farmer’s market, the same orchard farmer who has the most delicious, juicy peaches every summer starts apple season with fabulous ginger gold apples in late summer. This year he had lots of second apples because of hurricane Irene. Did you know that the east coast had an earthquake (unheard of) and a hurricane in one week? The area was already saturated with water and flooding was guaranteed. There was more concern about trees falling over because of ground saturation than from high winds and I am sure both happened, but luckily not in my backyard. During both of these events I was in Houston where there was no rain, no wind, the ground was stable and the fires has not started yet. It was a good time to be out of town but I was a little sad I missed the earthquake because it was such and unusual event for my area. The hurricane I can do without. I like electricity and hot water and I have had enough rain.

I was too happy to take those not so beautiful, but completely delicious apples of his hands. They were Granny Smiths, Jonagolds, Crispins and Macintoshes which are all great cooking apples. I was only too happy to make this Apple Coconut Cake adapted from The Southern Living Cookbook 1987 with them. I only have one of these Southern Living cookbooks that was given to me many years ago and I really use quite a few “go to” recipes from it. When I first got it, I did not give it the respect and love it deserved. I do now! This recipe is a good example why.

See Also

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Chunky Apple Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

  • Author: Laura Davis
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
  • Yield: 12 1x


A chunky apple, coconut cake that is studded with nuts and topped off with a brown sugar glaze that will satisfy any dessert craving.



Apple Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups (149 g) all purpose flour, unbleached
  • 1 1/2 cups (149 g) white whole wheat flour or 100% whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup (236 ml) vegetable oil such as canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup (191 g) white sugar
  • 1 cup (201 g) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (241 g) pecans or (232 g) walnuts , toasted and rough chopped
  • 3 cups (375 g) apples, peeled and chopped (roughly 1/4 inch dice)
  • 3/4 cup (57 g) flaked coconut

Brown Sugar Glaze

  • 1/2 cup (101 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) butter, unsalted
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare a 10-inch tube or bundt pan by greasing and flouring well or use a baking spray.
  3. Combine flours, baking soda, salt and set aside.
  4. CAKE: Place oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix with a hand held mixer or stand mixer at medium speed. Add the flour mixture all at one and stir until just mixed together. Fold in nuts, apple and coconut. This is a very thick batter.
  5. Place the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread the batter evenly with a spatula. Bake for 1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes. Test the cake for doneness with a toothpick. This is a very moist cake so testing for doneness can be tricky. I usually baked my cake for the longer time (1.5+ hours) but every oven is different and the moisture from the apples can vary changing the cooking time.
  6. GLAZE: During the final minutes of baking time make the brown sugar glaze. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a full boil. Allow to boil, stirring constantly, for two minutes. The glaze will become syrup like or thicker. Turn off the
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Turn out on desired cake plate and glaze while still warm.


Tart apples, such as Granny Smith, work well with this recipe. Sweeter apples tend to make the cake too sweet in my taste.

When making the glaze, apple cider can be substituted for the heavy cream but needs to be cooked a bit longer for syrup consistency. It makes an excellent tasting glaze but does tend to be thinner. This cake can definitely stand alone without the icing. The glaze just takes it over the top!

I like using a standard 10-inch tube pan because the craggy top that is formed during baking is my favorite part. It has a nice crunchy texture that I love and stand the cake up accordingly. The cake would be much more attractive cooked in a bundt pan and placed upside down on the serving platter. Taste before beauty in my case.

The top picture is the recipe halved and baked in a 9-inch cake pan. It took about 50 minutes to bake and still seemed a bit moist in the center. The tube pan version is probably better for cooking the center of the cake but sometimes you don’t want to make a huge cake because you might be tempted to eat all of it! You could probably halve the cake and still put it in a regular size tube pan, the cake will be shorter which is fine. I used a very large egg or two small eggs for half of the 3 eggs for the halved recipe.

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
View Comments (3)
  • Thanks for sharing your method of halving the recipe! A smaller cake is a bit less of temptation. :) I’ll share a photo of mine when it’s done.

  • It’s in the oven right now. It wasn’t until I smelled it baking that I realized it doesn’t have cinnamon. I don’t think I have had apple cake without cinnamon, but I’m willing to give it a shot. I have been looking for a chunky apple cake for over three years after eating a piece at a local fundraiser in our small town. No one could,tell me who’d made that awesome cake, so I have been going thru recipes since, looking for it. I’m hoping this is it or at least close enough that I can stop looking!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

Scroll To Top