Hidden Apple, Cinnamon and Honey Cake

If you are lucky enough to have apples in your garden this year, this is the perfect recipe to have up your sleeve. This year has been a bad year for our Bramley apple tree, but I managed to collect a few small apples and we’ve had the tree pruned so finger’s crossed for a better crop next year. Anyway, cooking apples are usually on offer at this time of year and make for a good cake, so there’s no excuse not to make this. It’s homely, perfect as an after-school treat or for visitors with a nice cup of tea…

The smell of apples stewing with cinnamon instantly brings memories of my mother making apple cake using the apples from our garden at home. It would usually be a tray bake and she would use a glass to measure out the ingredients instead of scales. The apple cake would always be large enough to feed the whole family and any visitors. I call it a hidden apple cake, as you can gently push the apples down into the batter and pour any remaining batter over the top.

I’ve made this cake to the same recipe, using a round tin instead of a tray. I’ve also added golden honey to the apples and a touch to the cake batter to give a little extra comfort.

Hidden Apple, Cinnamon and Honey Cake

Ren Behan
A simple but very tasty apple cake, with cinnamon and honey.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Cuisine Polish
Servings 8


For the apples

  • 4-5 medium-sized cooking apples
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon soft brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon runny honey

For the cake batter

  • A small knob of butter to grease the tin
  • 110 g/ 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 125 ml/ 1/2 cup runny honey
  • 4 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 240 ml/one cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 240 g/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Icing sugar to dust


  • Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius/gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm spring form tin.
  • Peel and core the apples and slice into thin slices. Put them in a pan with the cinnamon, brown sugar and honey and cook very gently for around five minutes. Leave them to one side to cool.
  • In a clean bowl bowl (or stand mixer) add the caster sugar, honey, eggs, vegetable oil, cinnamon and vanilla and beat for around three to four minutes until pale.
  • Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently fold or mix the flour in with a metal spoon.
  • Pour 2/3 of the cake batter into the lined tin. Take a slotted spoon and spoon over the apples (drain away and juice and drink it!) Push the apples down a bit, then pour the rest of the cake batter over the top to cover the apples.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Keep an eye on the cake, if it starts to look too golden, place a piece of foil over the top half way through cooking.
  • Leave to cool before serving and dust with icing sugar. The cake will keep for up to five days in a tin.

Do you have an apple tree laden with apples this year? What’s your favourite recipe to use them all up?

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  1. Hi Ren. Tried out this cake over the weekend and it was yummylicious! Thank you.

  2. I’ve got a few pounds of apples to use! I love to make apple butter but if there are any left your lovely cake is on my “to make” list!

  3. At our old house we had a bountiful apple tree. It fruited every year, with so much fruit we had to give a lot of it away because we just couldn’t use it all. I usually made apple and cinnamon cake, apple sauce (easiest ever – didn’t even need to add sugar – the apples weren’t Bramleys but were a russet type – Edgar Russet I think they’re called) and stewed most of the apples to freeze for numerous appley desserts. Luckily, my other half is a big fan of apple pie so we were set for most of winter! I do miss it.

  4. Gorgeous cake! I love anything with apple anyway but especially at this time of year, always comforting.

  5. It’s been a bad year for our apples too but I managed to get a few from the tree. I bet this smells wonderful as its cooking. GG

  6. My parents’ garden is sadly lacking in bramleys and eating apples this year, and plums, most sadly quinces, although one tree was dripping with fruit and Ed and I picked it bare last week, and bought a large bag back to London.

  7. Hmmm, I was wondering what hidden apples were! Your cake sounds very traditionally Polish – although I imagine that Polish cakes more often involve plums than apples?

  8. Hi Ren! 🙂
    I’m glad to know your blog!! 🙂 My name is Noemi and I’m an italian foodblogger. Your blog is very cool, yours recipes is very cute and yours photografies are fantastics! 🙂
    Sorry if I don’t use perfect English 🙁 But, I shall often find.
    Have a nice week!

  9. This cake looks beautiful. I love the combination of apples, honey and cinnamon in any form – perfect autumnal dessert.

    1. Thank you, yes it’s getting so chilly, time to start comfort baking :-0

  10. Oh yay, the apple season is here. Your cake is gorgeous Ren, I like the idea of a hidden layer of apples. I’ve made so many different apple cakes over the years and there are still so many to try.

    1. I know, I just a chocolate apple cake recipe in a magazine, looks like a Polish recipe too, it was a reader recipe. I will dig it out and email it or try it and post about it!

  11. I am a collector of apple cake recipes and this one, with its hidden apples, looks fabulously tasty and moist. I’ve never cooked them down first, and I usually include the skin (if it isnt too thick and tough) so this will be a first for me. Re apple cropping: the winds we had earlier in the year pretty much ripped most of the burgeoning blossom from our main tree, which is a hybrid cooker/eater (no idea what it actually is as we inherited it with the house!), so pickings are slim. But at least our espaliered Victoria plum has come up trumps. I am having to give them away! I bet this recipe could be adapted very easily to plums. Meanwhile, the chutney pot is working over time….

    1. Ooh it would Kellie. Next week in fact I will be posting a Victoria Plum muffin recipe, but in the case of this case, just stone and chop the plums in half and sink them in! Yum!

  12. Perfect Ren as I have access to tons of apple trees down at my allotment. They are in great abundance so I will be making a fair few apple cakes I think. Love the addition of honey too xx

    1. Ooh you are the lucky one then, yes honey or perhaps agave nectar would work too x

  13. A beautiful and simple cake. I’m so excited by the fact that it’s apple season. I adore apple cakes and this makes me very happy. It is such a shame we’re suffering from this dreadful apple blight. Our local farmer blames it on the early rain when the trees were in blossom which meant the bees couldn’t fly. Very sad so anything you can do to make a good apple cake is a joy!

    1. Thanks Dom, I feel so sorry for the orchard farmers who make a living from selling their produce. How are they coping? Yes I also heard it was to do with pollination and the bees…naughty rain. There is a large apple tree over looking a very busy road here which seems to have a few on it, there are all over the road! But generally I am hearing that there are not many apples around at all 🙁

  14. Oh that does look heavenly Ren. I do love a good apple cake. I usually have my chutneys made by now, but no apples have been forthcoming so far.

    1. I know, no chutney either! Such a shame, hopefully nexr year all will come good. x

  15. This cake looks delicious Ren. It would be a perfect every day cake, you’re right. I will be trying this very soon!

    1. Thanks Charlotte, quite a lot of baking has been happening this week with one thing and another!

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