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Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake

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Honeycrisp Apple Cake with fork

Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake ~ this delicious apple cake starts with a moist cardamom base paved with layer upon layer of thinly sliced Honeycrisp apples and topped with a buttery crumble. It’s the perfect fall crumb cake made with the perfect fall apple!

Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake on a plate with fork

Make my Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake and you’ll never need to visit the coffee shop bakery again.

I get most excited about cakes that give me permission to eat dessert for breakfast, and this is one of those cakes. It’s a hybrid apple/crumb cake bringing the best of both worlds to this simple treat. I used cardamom with a touch of cinnamon to spice the cake, which gives it a subtly different flavor from your run of the mill apple cake. There are finely chopped walnuts in the crumble for extra flavor and texture. It’s pretty much fall on a plate.

a slice of Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake

I chose Honeycrisp apples for this recipe because they’re my current apple obsession. Honeycrisps are a relatively new breed, developed in Minnesota about 30 years ago. They’re extremely crisp, as the name suggests, and juicy, with a nice balance of acidity and sweetness.  If you’re still buying Red Delicious, hold on to your hat because this is an entirely new animal.

These apples are great to eat raw ~ I’ve used them in my Broccoli Honeycrisp Slaw where they steal the show. But I’ve found that Honeycrisps bake up well, too, in fact they maintain their famous crunch in this cake even after almost an hour of baking!  No mushy apples here.

a slice of Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake on a plate

Did I mention this apple cake comes with an optional custard sauce?

That’s how they do it across the pond, in the British Isles, and it’s a pretty neat idea. Instead of whipped cream or other topping they spoon a luxe egg custard over their slice of cake. I’ve added a vanilla bean to make it even better.

ingredients for a custard sauce for an apple crumb cake

The custard sauce can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for a couple of days.  It’s got the perfect creamy consistency and doesn’t solidify as it cools.  The only downside is that it requires 6 egg yolks.  I know.  So here are some ideas for using your leftover whites:

What to do with leftover egg whites ~

Egg whites can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-4 days while you decide what to do with them, and they can be frozen for up to a year…just put them in sturdy zip lock freezer bags and label (don’t forget to note how many are in the bag.)

custard sauce for apple cake

topping a Honeycrisp Apple Cake with custard sauce

Reader Rave ~

“This is in the oven and I can’t wait!!! I can tell from the smell wafting around my kitchen that I’ll be making it again – maybe tomorrow! LOL!!! Thank you for your incredible recipes Sue; you inspire me! I’m cooking a lot because everything is soooo tempting. Next is one of your mac & cheese recipes. YUM!!!”  ~ Nanci

Honeycrisp Apple Cake with fork
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3.25 from 60 votes

Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake

Honeycrisp Apple Cardamom Cake ~ this delicious apple cake starts with a moist cardamom base paved with layer upon layer of thinly sliced Honeycrisp apples and topped with a buttery crumble. It's the perfect fall crumb cake made with the perfect fall apple!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Yield 10 servings


  • 9 inch spring form pan



  • 3/4 cup or 96 grams flour
  • 1/4 cup or 25 grams old fashioned rolled oats
  • 6 Tbsp or 85 grams unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces
  • 1/2 cup or 100 grams granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts (pulse in a food processor)


  • 3 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced, 495 grams or 1 lb 1 ounce (after slicing)
  • lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup or 113 grams unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup or 50 grams sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 Tbsp or 45 ml milk or cream
  • 1 1/4 cups or 178 grams all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting the finished cake

custard sauce

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp or 76 grams sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups or 375 ml whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla


  • Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9 inch round spring form pan.
  • Put the streusel ingredients in a small bowl and blend everything together with your fingertips until it has a nice even crumbly texture and there is no more raw flour. Make sure to break down any large clumps of butter. Refrigerate.
  • Toss the apple slices with a little lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the butter/sugar mixture, along with the milk or cream.
  • Spoon the batter in to the pan, and smooth out evenly. Top with the sliced apples, and then the crumble topping.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Lay a loose layer of foil over the top if the crumble is browning too quickly.
  • Let cool a bit in the pan before removing the sides. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.
  • To make the custard sauce bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile whisk the yolks and sugar until pale. Drizzle a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Add a little more, while whisking, then transfer that back into the pan and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Don't overcook or it can curdle. Stir in the vanilla. I like to run the sauce through a strainer to catch any bits of cooked egg or lumps.
  • Refrigerate the custard sauce until needed.


This cake is best made in a spring form pan so you can remove the sides and serve. If you make it in a regular round cake pan you'll have to serve it from the pan.


Honeycrisp apple cardamom cake pin


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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    April 13, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    just to make sure your conversion in the recipe is correct … 1/2 cup of sugar is 100 g (not 50 g) 🙂

    • Reply
      April 13, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      Yes, fixed!

  • Reply
    October 15, 2019 at 8:29 am

    I can’t wait to try this! Cardamom is my new obsession! Do you have any tips for cutting them into beautiful slices like shown in your photo?

    • Reply
      October 15, 2019 at 8:58 am

      It sliced really easily, just make sure to let it cool down.

      • Reply
        October 15, 2019 at 10:47 am

        Thank you! It’s in the oven now!

  • Reply
    Claire Vandendriessche
    October 11, 2019 at 2:33 pm

    Hi, Sue,
    Can you make this apple cardamom cake in a sheet cake? It sounds great! This is for end of harvest for all workers together after fish tacos. I’ll have about 15 or so. Hoping it will work. If not I’ll just keep it in springform pan. I like the custard idea. They do it well across the pond. Since I loved the Silver Palate, too, I think I should sign up for your blog. Tell me what I can do. We lost everything in the 8 Oct 2017 fire here in Napa, no cookbooks nor my mom’s recipes written in her hand, not my mother-in-law’s pre-wedding cookbook–France- 19 20’s and beyond.
    Thanks, Sue, take good care. Can you keep this in your private email?
    Best regards, Claire

    • Reply
      October 11, 2019 at 2:59 pm

      Oh gosh, what a terrible shame about the fires. Losing such precious personal parts of your life must be devastating. I would love to have you subscribe, and maybe, little by little, build back a collection of recipes you love.
      I think you should be able to do this cake in a 9×13 by doubling the recipe.

  • Reply
    Nanci Callahan Nivolo
    September 22, 2019 at 8:10 am

    This is in the oven and I can’t wait!!! I can tell from the smell wafting around my kitchen that I’ll be making it again – maybe tomorrow! LOL!!! Thank you for your incredible recipes Sue; you inspire me! I’m cooking a lot because everything is soooo tempting. Next is one of your mac & cheese recipes. YUM!!!

  • Reply
    Sara Townsend
    September 21, 2019 at 2:44 pm

    I waited all week to make this and I just had my first bite. Had to run to the computer to let you know it’s perfect! I couldn’t find honeycrisp apples so I used fuji and they worked out wonderful, thanks for a special recipe, I know I’ll be making it again and again !!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    Been baking for over sixty years. Prep time was way more than 20 minutes…unless you don’t consider peeling and slicing the apples and making the crumble part of the prep.
    Fifty minutes is way to long. Forty was better. And your crumble needs more butter; your photo shows more than seventeen ounces ( odd amount) of apples, and the cake needs a bit more than 45 mg of cream. Otherwise , it ‘s a good base to experiment with.

    • Reply
      September 23, 2019 at 10:45 pm

      Just maybe, since you’ve been baking over 60 years, you’re a little slower than younger folks.. just saying.. Prep time was about 20 min. for me.. You also could have said, “I would have preferred more butter in the crumble.” You are very critical without consensus in this particular group. As most of us felt that it was superb! Keep on trying, you’ll get it right with practice!

  • Reply
    September 21, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    In the oven right now – can’t wait to see how it turns out! One small note: you list cardamom in the ingredients (and your description), but the instructions say to add the “cinnamon” with no mention of cardamom. Easy enough to figure out, but still…

  • Reply
    Tricia B
    September 19, 2019 at 5:24 am

    So incredibly beautiful! You can never have too many apple cake recipes and this one is so unique and special with that luscious sauce. My kind of cake 🙂

  • Reply
    September 19, 2019 at 3:09 am

    Hi Sue, what would you use as a substitute for Oats on the crumble? I’m hoping to make this gluten & wheat free, I can work out the rest ok.. but just not sure what would be a good pay substitute ?

    • Reply
      September 21, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      The oats are gluten free Lulu, if that makes a difference. But if you still want to replace them, I’d suggest just omitting them.

  • Reply
    September 18, 2019 at 1:38 pm

    Love this with the spice, especially the Cardamom!! I’m on a Cardamom love affair at the moment so this cake will be just lovely. You also mention Walnuts in your write-up and I will use some in the Crumble when I make the cake – just sounds interesting. Now, I’m not a custard lover but this one looks really good and I will make it to go with the cake. Thanks Sue for this inspiring recipe. It has my taste buds dancing around!! :))

    • Reply
      Nanci Callahan Nivolo
      September 22, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Mary, I could have written this myself! I”m on a big cardamom kick too!

  • Reply
    2 sisters recipes
    September 18, 2019 at 10:40 am

    This cake looks and sounds amazing! Just added to my list of baking for the fall. We know our families will love this recipe – thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      September 18, 2019 at 10:54 am

      I’m pretty confident you’ll love this ladies!

  • Reply
    Angela M
    September 18, 2019 at 7:45 am

    This looks amazing! As did, your previous flourless cake. I must say I made your rhubarb tart with shortbread crust and it was AMAZING! I even got a compliment from my MIL!!! Can’t wait to try this 🙂

    • Reply
      September 18, 2019 at 7:48 am

      Oh that rhubarb tart is one of my personal faves Angela, glad you liked it!