Healthy Recipe Thursday! Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake


When Pies Aren’t An Option

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, thoughts of dessert come to mind. My kids don’t like pies, so cakes are always a staple at our Thanksgiving.

This Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake, courtesy of Nicole at Pinch My Salt, recently caught my eye. Moist, tender, packed with tart apples and cinnamon, it’s easy to prepare and oh, so tasty. What more could you want for a special Thanksgiving dessert along with the traditional pies? Nicole suggests dressing it up with a salted caramel sauce and dollops of whipped cream but I’d be happy with the plainer version.

Check below for a link to a gluten-free alternative.  And check Nicole’s blog for more yummy recipes.  It’s full of them, including these great-looking Pumpkin Whole Wheat Pancakes.

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake

Adapted from Gourmet

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup peeled and chopped baking apple (I used granny smith)
Heaping tablespoon of raw sugar (demerara, turbinado or Sugar in the Raw)
Extra cinnamon for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan* (or spray with Baker’s Joy or equivalent).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about two minutes.  Add vanilla and egg and beat well.  With the mixer set to low speed, beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Add half the buttermilk and continue beating on low speed until incorporated.  Scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, beat in another 1/3 of flour mixture then remaining buttermilk.  Finally beat in the last 1/3 of the flour mixture until just combined.

3. Scrape batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Scatter apple pieces evenly over the top of the cake batter then sprinkle evenly with raw sugar.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

4. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool until warm.  Invert onto a plate.  Serve plain, or with whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.

*You may use a 9-inch cake pan, if you don’t have an 8-inch one.  The cake will be a bit thinner than it appears in my photos and will bake slightly faster.

For the gluten-free among us, try this wonderful-looking alternative Sour Cream Apple Cake from Karina’s Kitchen.

5 responses to “Healthy Recipe Thursday! Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake”

  1. Julie Trevor says:

    I’m confused as to the definition of “healthy” recipe…
    This cake has equal parts flour & sugar and if cut into 8 servings (which for an 8″ single layer cake is scant) has over 12 g of saturated fat per serving.
    Other than the 1/8 cup serving of chopped apple, I see no “healthy” part of this recipe.

  2. Marsha says:

    Hi, Julie,

    First, I only calculate about 4 grams sat fat per serving. But more importantly, we encourage a broad definition of healthy at Green Mountain. Enjoyment is a major part of being healthy, too. When we’re putting together special meals such as for Thanksgiving, or even on a usual day, it can be perfectly healthy to have some items richer than others both from a nutritional standpoint and definitely from an enjoyment standpoint.

    That said, you might be able to use a mix of white and wheat flour to add some nutrients, but without testing it, I don’t know how the cake would turn out. But, again, that’s not necessary to be part of a healthy meal. Finally, eight servings might be a scant serving or perhaps not, according to how much someone wants to eat.

  3. Marsha, I really like your response. It is OK to enjoy richer foods and that’s part of being healthy. I think many people have forgotten that, unfortunately! And it’s so nice to have an expert with your flexible view on food.

    And seriously – this cake looks amazing!
    .-= Margarita Tartakovsky’s last blog post..Yoga, Eating Disorders & Body Image =-.

  4. Chef Lisa says:

    If you want to play with this recipe to “nutritionalize” it up, you could try doing 1/3 cup whole wheat flour and 2/3 cup white flour instead of 1 cup of white flour-that ratio should result in a product that isn’t too stiff. Also, most cake and muffin recipes will work out okay if you swap canola oil for the butter. So that would be 1/4 cup of canola oil instead of the half a stick of butter.

    That being said, I’m totally with Marsha on the enjoyment tip. And I’m a fan of choosing something delightful, homemade, and fruity when I’m craving an indulgence…I’ll take real butter over chemical preservatives any day!

  5. […] a year for apples it has been! Are you looking for apple recipes for the abundance of apples in your yard or from an apple-picking […]

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About the Author

Marsha Hudnall, MS, RDN, CD

If you’re looking for an embodiment of dedication disguised as obsession, look no further. Marsha is a registered dietitian who has spent the last four decades working to help women give up dieting rules and understand how to truly take care of themselves. Her mission in life is to help women learn to enjoy eating and living well, without worries about their weight. She encourages women to embrace their love of food, which you might call being a foodie. If so, it’s appropriate because being a foodie means you pay attention when you eat. That’s a recipe made in heaven for eating well. Marsha is the President and Co-Owner of Green Mountain at Fox Run.

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