A bundt pan with a fresh apple cake in the oven.

Mawmaw’s Fresh Apple Cake

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Mawmaw’s Fresh Apple Cake is my Cajun grandmother’s signature dessert. She often made it using fresh apples, pecans, and warm spices. The fresh fruit causes the cake’s moistness and flavors to intensify after a few days of baking. It’s easy to prepare and can be made in advance to save time. Perfect for weekend entertaining.

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Taking this cake to family gatherings quickly brings back memories of our sweet Mawmaw Trahan. She was not just a good cook but always a gracious hostess. We all remember enjoying a piece of her cake after Sunday dinners or an afternoon visit in her home with a cup of her strong, dripped Community Coffee made in classic Cajun style.

Weimaraner dog sitting watching a bowl of peeled apples.
The hardest part of making this fresh apple cake is pealing the apples in front of my dog, knowing the exact moment I get one in my hand, he never leaves my side until he has a bite.

My Mawmaw

Noelie LeMaire Trahan was born in 1909, the third of 4 children in Vermilion Parish just south of Kaplan, Louisiana. It was a time when families lived with a strong dependency on the land and each other. At the age of four, a contagious fever had taken the lives of both her parents within a few weeks of each other. She and her siblings then went to live with their grandparents.

For some reason, she only finished the third grade but never appeared to be a woman of little education.  She mainly spoke Cajun French. I can still hear her words in broken English, the new language she learned from her children after they began grade school.

“Cher, Bon Dieu”” was one French phrase she said aloud. It was used when she had heard surprising news, if one of us had fallen and hurt ourselves, or if she decided to make a wise call and not swear. It means,””Dear, good God!” She said it often.

At the age of sixty-one, she faced another loss from the death of her husband. Even though she grieved deeply from these tragedies and hardships, they didn’t seem to mark her life negatively. Rather, she left a mark on others from her upright character and nurturing love. A legacy I appreciate every day.

Her Fresh Apple Cake

Noelie was my momma’s momma, and visiting her home and yard was like walking into the pages of Southern Living or Better Homes and Gardens. Her meals were always delicious and appealing to the eye. We experienced them on many Sundays and at holiday meals year after year, where she enjoyed the gathering of her four children and their families. A tradition she has passed on to me. 

Mawmaw was always busy. I never knew her to stop her work unless it was to watch her favorite daytime soap opera or visit with some drop-by company. Then she’d make a strong drip pot of Community Coffee and serve it in small demitasse cups. Small because that’s all one needed of her potent brew.

MaMa's Fresh Apple Cake on a glass cake stand with a piece of cake on a white plat on the side.

She may have even served her signature cake with it. I still use the faded, handwritten cake recipe that she gave me. It’s framed in my kitchen for quick access when the need for that cake arises. I usually make it for bereaving families in our community. When my husband smells this fresh apple cake baking, he always asks, “Who died?”

How To Make A Fresh Apple Cake?

A bundt pan filled with raw cake batter.

It’s so easy! Like most cakes, first you cream the sugar, eggs, and oil. Then combine flour and the rest of the dry ingredients and add slowly into the egg mixture.

This makes a stiff batter but will soften some when the apples are added. The pecans add a nutty bite to the sweet and spicey apple flavor. It’s not too sweet making it perfect for breakfast food.

Mawmaw’s Fresh Apple Cake gets better with age and keeps well. After a few days, the apples release moisture, and the flavors intensify. It’s a good idea to bake it midweek before weekend guests arrive at your door. You can store it in the refrigerator or freeze it to keep it even longer, but I seldom get to do that.

I hope you try it soon and find yourself saying, “Cher Bon Dieu!” or “Dear good God!” (if your french isn’t that good) because this fresh apple cake is fantastic!

More Recipes From My Mawmaw At Louisiana Woman!
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A bundt pan with a fresh apple cake in the oven.

Fresh Apple Cake

A delicious cake made with fresh apples, pecans, and warm spices. The cake moistens, and the flavor intensifies as the apples release moisture blending well with sweet spices.

  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 slices 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg  
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 cups peeled, cored, and diced red delicious,, apples
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Instructions

  1. Prepare your favorite bundt pan with oil and flour. 
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl, whisk together, and set aside.
  4. Beat the sugar and eggs with a mixer in a large bowl until a lemon color, then add the vegetable oil to the mixture and beat some more to blend well. 
  5. Add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing in a small amount at a time; the batter will be stiff.
  6. Stir in the apples, and add nuts if desired, stirring all together. 
  7. Spoon batter into the prepared pan evenly, smoothing the top of the batter with the back of a spoon; do not pack down.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. 
  9. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then use a dinner knife, passing it between the cake and pan to release the cake from the pan. 
  10. Turn the cake onto a cooling rack to cool, or turn it onto a cake plate and serve warm.
  11. Store in an airtight container on the counter.

Notes

  • Cake keeps well for several days as it moistens and becomes more flavorful.
  • Serve with whipped cream or your favorite icing or glaze.
  • Author: Louisiana Woman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Sweets, desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Mawmaw’s fresh apple cake, fresh apple cake, apple cake, fresh apple cake recipe, apple cake recipe

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“Successful mothers are not the ones who have never struggled. They are the ones who never give up, despite the struggles.”

Sharon Jaynes


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6 Comments

  1. Kay, thanks for sharing these great recipes, keep them coming, enjoying your blog, great story.

  2. We loved reading your stories about your MaMa Trehan. I can’t wait to try the apple cake.

  3. This is incredible. Again, I used coconut oil & I find it adds to the richness of the cake. It’s hard to explain just how great this cake is. Yes, the apples are a little work, but soooo worth it. I also carefully roast my pecans before adding them to any recipe, even my salads. That also adds a richness to the flavor.

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