Apple Dapple Cake


This Apple Dapple cake is one of hundreds of variations on what has been called a “poke cake.”  The name has been applied to cakes that come from a boxed mix, but the essence of the name comes simply from the fact that when the cake is pulled from the oven, immediately one pokes holes in it and covers it in some kind of sauce, to be absorbed into the cake.  In that respect, it is kind of like the renown, Tres Leches Cake (3 kinds of milk).  While Tres Leche is likely of Nicaraguan origin, the idea for making a cake soaked in some kind of liquid seems to be of Medieval European origin, such as British trifle, rum cake, and tiramisu from Italy.  No cake is out of bounds (pound cake, brownies, fruit cake and plain old yellow cake).  There are a lot of options here: use any kind of fruit and any kind of nut and add other things like coconut or chocolate or raisins.  And any kind of sauce for that matter.

Apple Dapple cake is often attributed to Southern USA sources, probably due to the pecans, but I think it is more likely German in origin, where walnuts would have been used instead.    My own grandmother’s heritage included a fair amount of Pennsylvania Dutch, and this sounds exactly the kind of thing she would have made.

This is a double recipe, easily cut in half, but you may want to make the whole thing because I guarantee you, nobody will want only one piece.  Plus, this thing is incredibly easy to put together.


  • 6 C finely chopped apples [alternatively, 4 C apples, 1 C raisins & 1 C shredded coconut]
  • 2 C chopped pecans
  • 6 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 t salt
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 C canola oil
  • 2 C sugar
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 6 eggs


  • 2 C brown sugar
  • 8 T butter (1 stick)
  • ½ C milk


  1. Finely chop the apples; place them in acidulated water (cold water with some lemon juice) as you go so as to avoiding browning.
  2. Finely chop the pecans
  3. Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt).
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  5. In a very large mixing bowl, combine, oil, sugar and vanilla and beat (mix) thoroughly.
  6. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly.
  7. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well (with a spatula) but do not beat.The batter will be very stiff, somewhat like fruit cake.
  8. Spread batter in  2 greased tube pans or 2 glass baking pans, each about 9 x 12 inches.   [Note; A tube pan will take longer to bake – upwards of an hour, while a  rectangular baking pan will take about 35 – 45 minutes.  If you  use a glass backing dish, you can serve the cake in it directly, whereas with a tube pan, you need to loosen it from both the tube and the outer side and then invert it twice to get it out and standing on a plate.]
  9. While the cake bakes, make sauce. Add all 3 ingredients and combine. Heat low until all the butter is melted and the brown sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
  10. Test with thin skewer; the skewer should come out clean. Remove from oven to cooling rack.
  11. Immediately, poke lots of little holes in the cake.
  12. Pour the hot sauce over the hot cake. Let cake continue to cool and absorb the sauce. DO NOT REFRIGERATE!
  13. Serve it warm with whipped cream or ice cream or just by itself. Got leftovers? It’s great for breakfast.

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