Estonian Apple Cake

The Recipe: A moist, apple-y and cinnamon-y apple cake with a crispy topping, almost a coffee cake, rustic and delicious.

The Conversation: How sharing recipes makes the world a smaller place.

Estonian Apple Cake ♥ Simple autumn cake, moist and cinnamon-y with a crackly top. Rave reviews!

"... yum!" ~ LeAnne
"... my family inhaled it.....very good." ~ Maria via Facebook


If our apples are local, let our inspiration be global.

Three decades ago, my friend Pille grew up in Estonia behind the Iron Curtain, imagining lives on the other side through a cookbook called World Dishes. Her favorite recipe became Kanada õunakook, Canadian Apple Cake.

Last fall, I made Pille’s cake for a bake sale in my hometown on the Minnesota-Ontario border. Knowing locals would yawn at a "Canadian" apple cake, I called it "Estonian Apple Cake". Sure enough, it sold fast!

To fancy up a notch, serve this cake in a pool of crème anglaise (pronounced krem-ahn-GLEHZ), French for "English cream", the runny custard.

CRÈME ANGLAISE Bring 1 cup half & half just to a boil. Meanwhile, separately whisk 2 large egg yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar. Slowly whisk the hot liquid into the egg mixture, then return it all to the saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously, until it just thickens. Stir in a splash of vanilla. Serve warm or cold. Makes 18 tablespoons.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Two Tablespoons: 29 Calories; 2g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 28mg Cholesterol; 6mg Sodium; 2g Carb; 0g Fiber; 1g Sugar; 1g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 1 & PointsPlus 1
ALANNA's TIPS This simple apple cake is mixed by hand so is especially good for new cooks. Besides, not everyone has (or wants) even a simple hand mixer, so I collect dessert recipes, no mixer required. Melt butter in the microwave in a small bowl, using 10 - 15 second zaps so not to spatter. Cinnamon is cinnamon, right? Wrong. Cinnamon is harvested all over the world, some are spicier, some sweeter, some mellower. My favorite is Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cinnamon from Penzeys whose collection is a spice ‘n’ herb marvel.


A worldly, neighborly cake
Hands-on time: 25 minutes
Time to table: 90 minutes
Serves 9
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup (115g) milk (skim is fine)
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 60g) salted butter, melted (see TIPS)
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 1-1/4 cups flour, fluffed to aerate before measuring or 155g
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon (see TIPS)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound/450g), peeled, quartered, cored, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons (50g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour, fluffed to aerate or 15g
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) cold salted butter

Heat oven to 400F/200C. Spray a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan or an 8x8-inch square cake pan with baking spray.

CAKE In a large bowl, whisk egg, then whisk in milk, butter and sugar. Scoop flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon onto wet mixture without mixing in. With whisk’s tip, lightly combine without mixing in. Now whisk dry mixture into wet mixture until just combined. Stir in apples. Spread evenly in the baking dish.

TOPPING In a bowl, mix topping ingredients with fingers until mealy, spread evenly atop batter.

BAKE & SERVE Bake for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 15 – 30 minutes. Serve alone, with Crème Anglaise (see recipe on the left) or simple whipped cream. Keeps 2 - 3 days.

NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Slice: 235 Calories; 9g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 37g Carb; 1g Fiber; 278mg Sodium; 48mg Cholesterol; 4g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS Old Points 5 & PointsPlus 7

Estonian Apple Cake
PEAR & GINGER CAKE Just substitute ripe pears for the apples and ground ginger for the cinnamon. A delicious change from the apple original!
COOKING for DIABETICS While this remains a "dessert", it is possible to adapt this cake to use less sugar. In the cake itself, substitute 6 tablespoons of agave nectar and use whole grain flour (I had good luck with 3/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour.) Finally, use demerara sugar, an unrefined sugar made from sugar cane, for the topping instead of brown sugar.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite apple recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. "Like" Kitchen Parade on Facebook!


Alanna and Pille in Tallinn, Estonia

2008, RIGHT HERE IN ST. LOUIS When Pille visited the States, I got to meet my blogging friend in person! Our meeting reminded me why I once wrote about the friendships that form among bloggers, "And when we meet, we're already friends." Pille's blog Nami-Nami (which means Yummy, Yummy in Estonian) is a fascinating window into the life of a young professional couple who live and work near the capital city of Tallin. Be sure to check out what she calls Canadian Apple Cake, also another apple recipe she posted just recently, Oven-Baked Toffee Apples.

2014, RIGHT THERE IN TALLINN, ESTONIA And then we spent a few days with Pille and her family in their home outside Tallinn. What a joy, those days, especially meeting her lovely three towhead children! And a fascinating time to visit Estonia, too, geopolitically, see Estonian Deviled Eggs for the story.

More Sweet Apple Recipes

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Easy Baked Oatmeal with Apples & Walnuts Healthy Waldorf Salad Naturally Sweetened Apple Butter
Apple Pudding Cake with Cinnamon Butter Sauce American Apple Pie Extra-Crispy Apple Crisp

Apple Favorites from A Veggie Venture

If you like Kitchen Parade's recipes, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, visit A Veggie Venture, my food blog, home to the famous Alphabet of Vegetables where there's a vegetable in every recipe and vegetables in every course.

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)

Quick Links to This Page

(for easy bookmarking and searching)
~ Crème Anglaise ~

© Copyright Kitchen Parade 2008, 2010 & 2015

What a lovely cake. Had it not been for blogs, I would have never known that Estonia has such a rich cuisine.
I hope many of your readers will try that cake, Alanna, as it truly is lovely (Canadian or Estonian) :)
Oh, oh, OH, is this the one you made for us? I knew I'd forgotten to get a good one.
Tried the apple cake yesterday ... yum!

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna