Fall Sunday: Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

Fall Sunday: Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

Every year, Andy, the girls, and I venture over to the Roaring Fork Valley for Avalanche Ranch’s Apple Fest. Avalanche Ranch, which is run by some good friends, is slice of perfection in an imperfect world: it’s nestled at the base of Mt. Sopris and though it operates commercial guest cabins and hot springs, it always manages to feel like a little bit of wildness in the middle of a fast, techno-loving world.

William Sonoma Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

William Sonoma Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

Every year, we walk away from Apple Fest with a few new friends, a few new Bluegrass songs in our head, and a few new apple recipes. This year, my favorite recipe by far, was an apple cake concocted by the ranch owners’ 12- year daughter, Phia.

When I tracked Phia down at the party, eager to learn the cardomom-cinnamon combination that I’d scraped the dish to get more of, she kicked off her cowgirl boots and led me back into the ranch house kitchen. I imagined her making the cake with her grandmother in the old ranch kitchen, the recipe card worn from so many generations of ranchers making this cake. I imagined that she was a little reluctant to pass it on. “Easy,” she said, pointing out the printed recipe on the kitchen’s island, “I googled it. It’s a William Sonoma.”

And now I pass it along to you. The internet recipe that tastes like it comes right out of your granmother’s kitchen.

Spiced Apple Coffee Cake (Adapted from William Sonoma)

One 9-inch cake


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teas baking powder
  • 1/4 teas salt
  • 3 tart cooking apples, such as Granny Smith or Braeburn – 1 lb total weight, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs strained fresh orange juice, lemon juice, or apple juice
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teas ground cardamom
  • 1 teas ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teas vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9-inch round springform pan or square baking dish (if using a glass baking dish, reduce the oven temperature to 325°).
  2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt
  3. In another bowl, toss the apples with the juice. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cardamom, and cinnamon. Add to the apples and toss to coat. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream together the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 2 or 3 increments and beat well until smooth. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the apples just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Do not overmix.Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  5. Bake until the top is golden brown, 60-70 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the sides of the springform pan, if using, and place the cake on a wire rack set over a piece of waxed paper to catch any drips. While the cake is warm, drizzle with the glaze. Let the cake cool to room temperature.


VANILLA GLAZE: in a small bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted; 2 Tbs condensed skim milk, warmed; and 1/2 teas vanilla extract until smooth and pourable. Adjust the consistency of the glaze by adding more milk.

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.