Apple cake can refer to any type of baked cake that is made with apples; typically, the apples found in an apple cake have been peeled and sliced, regardless of the recipe. The other ingredients in the cake depend on each person's preferences for taste, texture, and sweetness of the cake. Depending on the recipe, this type of cake can be a good choice either for dessert, breakfast, or an afternoon snack with a cup of tea or coffee. The most common iteration of this cake is a small, dense cake made in a square pan, a bundt pan, or even as a loaf similar to bread.
The basis for most apple cake recipes is the same, and involves common baking ingredients like flour, eggs, sugar, and baking soda. Apples are peeled and then sliced into thin strips, and typically do not need to be cooked before they are mixed into the cake. The exception to this rule is if the apples will be used as a topping; in some cases they are baked with brown sugar and cinnamon, and spread across the top of the cake as sweet topping that is a healthier alternative to frosting. For those who do want to frost this cake, a cream cheese frosting is often a good choice.
There are many different ingredients that can be added to an apple cake recipe to give it a more unique flavor or texture. Walnuts or pecans are popular choices that add flavor and texture; cranberries and dates are popular selections as well. To increase the apple flavor of a cake, apple cider or applesauce are two ingredients that accomplish this quite well. Some people even add apple pie filling, though this can make the cake extremely sweet. Coconut is yet another option for sweetness and a different texture.
Often, the basis for an apple cake is a spice cake recipe. Cinnamon and allspice are two common spices used for this, as well as nutmeg. The addition of sour cream can make the cake more moist and dense, and caramel can give it an interesting sweet flavor. There are so many ways to customize apple cake based on the available ingredients and the desired taste, and it can be fun to experiment with recipes to see what taste combinations work the best. There are many different recipes available simply by searching online or looking in cookbooks.