Sourdough Apple Cake

This Sourdough Apple Cake is fragrant, moist, and densely packed with apples, pecans, and raisins. It’s easy to make. And it is a great illustration of the Ugly Duckling Bakery motto that my recipes taste delicious but look homemade. Because it is very very ugly.

So read on to learn all the tips and tricks for this sourdough discard apple cake recipe and about using sourdough discard in baking. But don’t despair if you don’t have any sourdough discard! Just grab your cake pan, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make an apple cake!

round cake studded with apples, raisins and pecans on a cooling rack.
Jump to:

Ingredients

all ingredients for the sourdough apple cake on a countertop.

 

Best apples for this apple cake

For this sourdough apple cake, use any apple that remains firm when cooked and has a strong apple flavor. You could use a tart apple (e.g. Granny Smith, Pink Lady) or any sweet apple, as long as it stays chunky.

Or check out other sweet and savory apple recipes like this apple blackberry pie or strawberry apple pie, my simple unsweetened strawberry applesauce. Or go savory with chicken and apple meatballs or apple pie baked beans.

About sourdough discard

Sourdough discard is the extra starter you have after you’ve fed your sourdough starter. Instead of throwing it away, you can use discarded starter in other recipes. Discard makes recipes slightly tangy.

You can obviously use sourdough discard in breads using commercial yeast like this sourdough discard bread. The discard gives flavor but you need the commercial yeast to make the bread rise. You can also use sourdough discard in pancakes and waffles and muffins like these sourdough apple muffins.

Tip from the wise quacker: if you don’t have a starter, just add an additional 4 ounces (113 grams) of flour to the dry ingredients and an additional 4 ounces (one half cup) of buttermilk or other liquid.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Use 100% all purpose flour. Cake flour is just a lower protein flour and therefore forms less gluten.
  • If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use an equal amount of yogurt. Or make homemade buttermilk with the same amount of milk plus a teaspoon of lemon juice.
  • Sub in a different nut. The obvious choice would be walnuts, but almonds or hazelnuts would be lovely.
  • Sub in a different dried fruit. There’s nothing special about raisins. You could use golden raisins or cranberries or chopped prunes or figs. Whatever you like.
  • The cake is great on its own, but feel free to dust it with powdered sugar, or frost it with a cream cheese buttercream frosting.

Recipe tips and tricks

This sourdough apple cake recipe was inspired by a combination of the Apple Snacking Cake from the Flour Bakery Cookbook and my sourdough discard apple muffins.

Step by step

The cake is packed with apples, nuts, and raisins. The hardest part about this recipe is chopping those apples.

chopped apples, raisins, and pecans on a cutting board.

To make the cake, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and ginger together into a small bowl.

Then the recipe follows the typical “creaming method” often used in cakes. You cream the butter and sugar together until they are really light and fluffy.

butter creamed with white and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.

Then beat in the eggs, one by one, for a minute after each addition.

the sourdough apple cake batter after eggs have been beaten in.

Beat in the buttermilk and sourdough discard, then add the sifted dry ingredients. Try to avoid over-beating the batter once you add the dry ingredients, because you don’t need to develop the gluten.

sourdough discard apple cake batter in a bowl with orange spatula.

Stir the apples, pecans, and raisins in by hand. The batter will be very thick and stiff, but I promise it’s supposed to be that way!

sourdough apple cake batter in mixing bowl studded with apples, raisins, and pecans.

Spoon the apple cake batter into the prepared pan. You should have about a centimeter of space below the top of the pan. Don’t fill it to the top edge of your pan or your cake will overflow when it rises.

sourdough apple cake batter in a round cake pan.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean of batter. Cool completely and then remove the cake from the pan. Serve and store at room temperature for up to one week, if it lasts that long.

Recipe FAQs

Do I have to weigh out my ingredients?

No. But I always encourage you to use a kitchen scale because there is so much variation in how people measure, especially flour and sugar. Your cake is most likely to come out right if you weigh your ingredients.

I don’t have a sourdough starter for this sourdough discard cake. Is there something else I can use?

A 100% hydration starter is equal amounts of water and flour. If you don’t have a starter, just add an additional 4 ounces (113 grams) of flour to the dry ingredients and an additional 4 ounces (one half cup) of buttermilk or other liquid.

My sourdough starter has a different hydration level, can I still use it?

Yes, you’ll just need to calculate the amount of water and flour in your starter.

Can I freeze this sourdough discard apple cake?

Yes, you could freeze the cake or cake slices, but this sourdough apple cake keeps so well at room temperature and it’s soooo good, that it’s hard to imagine wanting to freeze any!

Check out the Ugly Duckling Bakery archives for cake, cake, and more cake recipes, like:

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Sourdough Apple Cake

5 from 1 vote
Category: Cakes
Cuisine: Unspecified
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 323kcal
The sourdough apple cake is fragrant, moist, and densely packed with apples and other goodies. And very very ugly.
Print Recipe

Equipment

  • Stand mixer or hand mixer

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (65 grams) bleached all purpose flour
  • ½ cup (65 grams) cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces or 170 grams) unsalted butter, softened plus additional for greasing the pan
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup (144 grams) dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) 100% hydration unfed sourdough discard
  • ½ cup pecans, broken or chopped into small pieces
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3 medium to large apples, cored, peeled, and chopped into about one half inch cubes

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Butter a 9 inch round cake pan, line it with parchment, and then butter the parchment.
  • In a small bowl, sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and ginger.
    ½ cup (65 grams) bleached all purpose flour, ½ cup (65 grams) cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon salt, ⅙ teaspoon ground ginger
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer (or in a medium to large bowl if using a hand mixer), beat the softened butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on a medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl down as necessary.
    12 tablespoons (6 ounces or 170 grams) unsalted butter, softened, ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar, ¾ cup (144 grams) dark brown sugar
  • Add the eggs one at a time, then the buttermilk, and then the sourdough discard, mixing at medium speed for about one minute after each addition.
    2 eggs, ¼ cup buttermilk, 8 ounces (227 grams) 100% hydration unfed sourdough discard
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and mix on low speed or by hand until combined.
  • Add the pecans, raisins, and apples, and mix.
    ½ cup pecans, broken or chopped into small pieces, ½ cup raisins, 3 medium to large apples, cored, peeled, and chopped into about one half inch cubes
  • Pour/spoon the batter into the prepared cake pan and even it out using a spoon or spatula. It will come up close to the top of a 9 inch round pan.
  • Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean of batter. You may need to check a few areas to be certain given how much apple and other goodies are inside.
  • Cool completely, and then remove from the pan. Serve plain, with a dusting of confectioner's sugar, or with a light buttercream frosting.

Notes

A 100% hydration starter is equal amounts of water and flour. If you don’t have a starter, just add an additional 4 ounces (113 grams) of flour to the dry ingredients and an additional 4 ounces (one half cup) of buttermilk or other liquid.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 167mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 425IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 1mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

Are you an adventurous home cook looking for inspiration in your weeknight meals and weekend baking?

I originally posted this sourdough apple cake after baking a Swedish apple cake from Dorie Greenspan for the 2021 Reddit 52 week baking challenge: week 22 – Scandinavian. The Swedish apple cake was beautiful, but it wasn’t the apple cake I wanted to eat.

a baked cake with swirl of apples and dusted with gold sugar on a cooling rack.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.