This hazelnut hidden rose apple cake is the perfect autumn treat with its moist crumb, warming notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, sweet tart apple, and pieces of crunchy hazelnut.
Every year I look forward to the arrival of hidden rose apples. I’ve loved baking with them since 2016 starting with this hidden rose apple tart. Besides tarts and galette, they also go into a few cakes. One of my favorites is this hazelnut hidden rose apple cake. It’s so moist and scrumptious with warming notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, sweet tart apple, and pieces of crunchy hazelnut.
Apple: I used Hidden Rose Apples for this cake. They have a tart and subtlety sweet flavor. If you can’t find Hidden Rose Apples, you can substitute with any of these, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Braeburn, and Honeycrisp. These apples hold up well during baking and their tartness offset the sweetness of the cake.
Olive oil: I love olive oil cakes--snacking cake, bundt cake, and layered cake. It adds so much flavor, depth, and moisture to your finished cake. When it comes to baking, choose a quality fruity olive oil. Arbequina olives are small and distinctly sweet, producing buttery, fruity, and smooth olive oil, most suited for sweet baking.
Yogurt: like other dairy products, adding Greek yogurt to cake batter makes the crumb moist and tender. Use only plain whole-milk, full-fat Greek yogurt for the best flavor. If you’re trying to cut calories, use 2% but avoid nonfat, as it contains fillers and stabilizers that change the taste and texture of what you’re baking. Sour cream, creme fraiche, mascarpone, and cream cheese are other alternatives that I use.
How to make this apple cake
This apple cake is simple to make and only requires a few steps. Slicing the apples was the most labor intensive in my opinion but with two apples, you can easily do this with a very sharp knife or mandoline. The batter is a simple mixture of olive oil, sugar, eggs, yogurt, AP flour, and the usual cake ingredients which came together in a matter of minutes with my trusty Kitchenaid stand mixer. The batter was transferred to a cake pan, topped with the apple slices, chopped hazelnuts, and turbinado sugar for extra crunch and texture before going into the oven.
Tips for a moist cake
Everything that goes into making a cake affects its flavor and texture. Besides measuring the right ingredients and following instructions to the t, there are a few essential steps for getting a moist cake. Preheat your oven to ensure the proper temperature. Opening the oven door during baking creates great fluctuations in heat and causes your cake to collapse. Over-mixing the batter will incorporate too much air resulting in the cake falling and becoming dense. Don’t overbake or the texture will be dry. Place the cake on the middle rack so the heat is distributed evenly between the top and bottom.
How to check for when your cake is done
Check for doneness 5-8 minutes before the required baking time because not all ovens act the same. Visually look for the sides of the cake to start pulling away from the pan. The outer edges will look dry and you’ll see a small gap forming between the edge of the cake and the side of the pan. The best method for testing a cake’s doneness is with a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake. When it comes out clean, the cake is done. If it's still wet, bake the cake for an additional 5 minutes.
What to serve with apple cake
I served this cake warm, right out of the oven, but it’s also great at room temperature. Be sure to generously dust your cake with confectioners sugar before serving. If you’re looking for a little more, try it with a dollop of creme fraiche, whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You won’t go wrong with any of these options.
This hazelnut hidden rose apple cake is a show stopper and the perfect autumn treat. With every bite you get moist and tender crumbs, fragrant with freshly ground spices, studded with sweet tart apples, and crunchy hazelnuts. If you’re looking for an easy, unfussy dessert for Thanksgiving, look no further than this apple cake. Any leftover cake doubles as breakfast the next day!
Hazelnut hidden rose apple cake
- 9-inch round cake pan
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking power
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup full fat yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 apples, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- powdered sugar for serving
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush bottom and sides of a 9-inch cake pan. Line bottom with parchment paper.
- Sift dry ingredients together.
- In a bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk olive oil, yogurt, sugar, eggs, and vanilla together until well combined.
- Whisk in dry ingredients until well combined.
- Pour batter into cake pan. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Give it a couple taps to remove any large air bubbles.
- Top the cake with apple slices, chopped hazelnuts, and turbinado sugar.
- Place the pan in the middle rack and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes and turn it out onto a serving platter.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.