One Bowl Apple Tea Cake

Rich, buttery cake that is loaded with tender sweet apples in every bite. Best thing? Its uses just ONE BOWL, making clean up a breeze.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
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Why This Recipe Is Amazing

  • Minimal Cleanup
    • Easily made with just one bowl, making the preparation and cleanup quick and easy.
  • Rich, Delicious Flavour
    • Combines a buttery, moist cake with the sweet-tart taste of Granny Smith apples.
  • Versatile and Adaptable
    • Can be easily customised with various fruits such as nectarines, peaches, or berries, making it perfect for any season.
  • Nostalgic Appeal
    • Reminiscent of old-school family recipes, my grandma’s Apple Tea Cake is probably similar to your own.
  • Perfect for Any Occasion
    • Suitable for breakfast, afternoon tea, or dessert, and can be enjoyed warm or cooled, on its own or with cream/ice cream.
Slice of apple cake with fork in foreground

Ingredients in this Apple Tea Cake

Salted butter: Provides richness, moisture, and a tender crumb. A good butter brand is best because the base of this cake is a rich yellow ‘butter’ cake. I use good quality lightly salted grass-fed butter, therefore, no salt is added to this recipe. Yes, you can use unsalted butter but add 1/4-1/2 tsp salt.

Sugar: Adds sweetness and helps create a light, tender texture. You’ll use sugar in two places for this cake: in the batter and sprinkled on top. I prefer to use a fine caster/baker’s sugar in the cake as it creams nicely with the butter and dissolves quicker. Then top with a coarse raw or turbinado sugar to give some nice crunch and bakery-style effect.

Vanilla extract: Enhances the overall flavour with a warm, sweet aroma. Without it, cookies and cakes don’t have the richness that we know and love. Extract or Vanilla bean paste is what I use and recommend. Extract is a natural product, but vanilla essence is synthetic and doesn’t have the rich flavour you need.

Large eggs: Binds the ingredients, adds structure, and provides moisture. Large eggs are always recommended when baking so that they give consistent results and you avoid having an ‘eggy’ taste. Use eggs in cartons labelled “large eggs” which are 55 – 60g / 2 oz each. This is an industry standard and most international bakers’ recipes use this size. In a pinch and have larger eggs? Crack an egg into a bowl, whisk then measure out 50 ml / 48-50 grams. Ta-dah!

Plain flour: Forms the base structure of the cake. Nothing fancy here, just your good ole all-purpose/plain flour. Be aware that different flour blends may create different results therefore you may need to tweak them.

Baking powder: Baking powder is the classic leavener you’ll need when it comes to most cakes, cupcakes and muffins. The ratio of flour to baking powder is lower to give you just enough aeration but leave with you a slightly denser cake.

Granny Smith apples: Adds moisture, flavour, and a pleasant tartness that complements the sweetness of the cake. Growing up these were the ONLY apples to use for baking by my grandma. The crisp, slightly sour flavour works great with baked goods as they tend to hold their shape really when they cook. In a pinch, nearly any apple will work though.

Apple cake on cooling racks with apples beside

Setting You Up For Success: Apple Tea Cake Tips & Tricks

Here is a roundup of all our tips for your perfect apple tea cake.

  • Use good quality butter: The better quality butter, the more delicious the results. This doesn’t mean buying the most expensive! Find Australian and European-style butter that has a higher fat content, meaning flakier, crisper results. Grass-fed cows also have a more yellow appearance as the happy cows have been eating fresh grass which contains beta-carotene. beta-carotene converts into vitamin A (AKA retinol). Vitamin A is linked to improved eye health and a strong immune system.
  • Cream the butter and sugar until pale: This helps to dissolve the sugar and disperse itself throughout the butter. Secondly, it traps air within the fat/sugar network, creating a leavening (or rising) effect as the cake bakes = a lighter, fluffier texture.
  • Don’t over-mix the batter: Over-mixing your batter can produce a dense, dry cake. To preserve that moist, tender crumb that you want, fold the batter together until just combined while ensuring that the apple chunks are evenly distributed.
  • Sprinkle with coarse sugar: This is easily the most important step. I love using coarse raw or turbinado sugar, but granulated white sugar also works fine. You just need some type of sugar to give a slightly crunchy texture on top.
Slice of fluffy cake with apple slice in foreground and cake i slices in background

Frequently Asked Questions

When I made this dish on our live cooking show, some community members asked:

Can I use a different type of apple?

Yes, you can use other firm apples like Honeycrisp or Fuji, but Granny Smith apples provide a nice tart contrast.

Can I make this cake gluten-free?

Substitute the plain flour with a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend. Ensure it contains xanthan gum for structure.

How To Store this Apple Tea Cake

The cake may go slightly soft the next day. Simply place it into a 160°C/320°F oven for 4-6 minutes to crisp up the outside and have it smelling and tasting fresh and delicious again. 

Can I freeze Apple Tea Cake?

Yes, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw at room temperature before serving.

Can I add spices to the batter?

Absolutely! Adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or nutmeg can complement the apple flavour nicely.

Side view of apple cake with apples in background


  1. The cake is too dense:
    • Ensure you’re not overmixing the batter after adding the flour. Overmixing can lead to a dense texture.
  2. The cake is undercooked in the centre:
    • Check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer. Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  3. Apples sink to the bottom:
    • Toss the apple pieces in a tsp of flour before folding them into the batter. This helps suspend them evenly throughout the cake.
  4. The cake is too dry:
    • Make sure you measure the flour correctly (spoon and level method). Overbaking can also dry out the cake, so keep an eye on it in the final minutes of baking.
  5. The top is too brown:
    • If the top is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with aluminium foil during the last 10-15 minutes of baking.
Birds eye view of sliced cake on tray and plate

Looking For More Yumminess?

Whether you’re after more simple snacks, easy dinner ideas or delightful desserts, we have you covered!

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Close up view of apple cake to show fluffy texture

One Bowl Apple Tea Cake

Servings 10 people
Start your day off right with Grandma's Apple Tea Cake Rich buttery cake that is loaded with tender sweet apples. Best thing? Its made with just ONE BOWL, making clean up a breeze.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


  • large bowl
  • hand mixer
  • 18cm/7inch round cake tin.


  • 120 gm (½ cups) salted butter
  • 113 gm (½ cups) caster /bakers sugar granulated is fine as a substitute but i use caster sugar as it dissolves quicker
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 183 gm ( cups) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 granny smith apples peeled & chopped
  • 2 tbsp raw or turbinado sugar sub with white sugar if necessary


  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Line a round 18cm/7inch round cake tin.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla with a hand mixer or whisk until pale and creamy. Add one egg at a time until well combined.
  • Mix in the flour mixture gently until just combined then fold in the chopped apples.
  • Add mixture into prepared cake tin, smooth out surface and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Bake for 40 mins until a toothpick inserted comes clean and top is golden. Serve warm or cooled on it's own or with cream/ice cream.


The cake may go slightly soft the next day. Simple place into a 160°C/320°F oven for 4-6 minutes to crisp up the outside and have it smelling and tasting fresh and delicious again. 
Delicious Variations, Substitute the apple for
  • Nectarines
  • Peach
  • Berries (fresh or frozen)
  • Whatever your heart desires!


Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 127mg | Potassium: 72mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 342IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

Recipe Published: May 15, 2023 Last Updated: May 22, 2024

Did you make this recipe?

Please let us know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and tag @missmollymakes on Instagram and hashtag it #missmollymakes.

Lauren and Troy George, Creators of MissMollyMakes smiling to camera.

Hiya, I’m Lauren but you can call me Molly!

Former OR Nurse and self-taught home cook passionate about Approachable, No-Nonsense recipes to help you level up in the kitchen. Together with my husband Troy, we create simplified dishes for busy people with easy-to-find ingredients!
To learn more about us, our cooking show and more, click here!

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Leave a Comment

  1. 5 stars
    I have made this cake a few times (using both apples and peaches) and I highly recommend it. The cake has a pretty high fruit to batter ratio, which makes it a great way to celebrate beautiful in-season fruits. It’s a perfect cake to throw together for last-minute guests, or if you don’t want to show up empty handed to visit a friend.

    1. Miss Molly Author says:

      Yeahh Chris! I made it last week with nectarines and it is so yummy. A a great way to use seasonal berries and fruit, I agree. Thanks for taking the time to share your review 🙂

  2. Annaliese ( Flossy ) says:

    5 stars
    I made this last week as I had an overflow of granny smiths needing to be used. I immediately thought of this recipe and it did not disappoint!! It was a delicious, moist, fluffy interior and a light and crispy top with plenty of apple throughout , YUM! Very easy 1 bowl cake recipe which will now be a staple in our home .
    Thanks Molly <3

    1. Miss Molly Author says:

      What a fabulous way to use up some extra apples. Thanks for sharing and I can’t wait to see more of your baked goods 🙂 x

  3. 5 stars
    Love this! Tried this with some leftover pink lady apples and also added some cinnamon and it was fab! I loved the fruit ratio, and it is sooo easy and quick – I literally made this while waiting for the washing machine to finish. Super moist and fluffy. Defs keen to try this again with some different fruit, thank you Molly! Great recipe that anyone can make 😊🙌

    1. Miss Molly Author says:

      Ahh so good to hear! I read this review to my grandma and she was so happy you loved it. Thankyou for taking the time out to review and leave a comment xx

  4. 5 stars
    I used a tin of pie apples because I didn’t want pie, I wanted cake (what can I say, I’m a rebel) and mixing the stewed apples through made it taste like the best kind of fluffy cake-pie I’ve ever eaten. Added cinnamon too. Delicious.

    1. Miss Molly Author says:

      Fantastic hack, I love it! Thanks for sharing Cass!

  5. Julieanne Golden says:

    Yes I added pecan nuts and blueberries very delicious served with Greek yogurt and honey.

  6. Very quick & easy with great results. Used a Bundt mould to ensure the inside was cooked & added some cinnamon for extra flavour. Thank you for such a no-fuss recipe.

    1. Lauren George / Miss Molly Author says:

      Thanks for your review Susan 🙂 So happy to hear your enjoyed this recipe as its one of my favourites. Have a great week. Molly xx

4.86 from 7 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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