The Famous Silver Palate Apple Cake Recipe

The Famous Silver Palate Apple Cake Recipe ~ Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso are the dynamic duo that wrote the definitive cookbook of the 1980s, The Silver Palate. The Silver Palate Apple Cake is one of the most beloved recipes from the book, and it just screams Fall.

apples in a basket

The famous Silver Palate Apple Cake recipe is a delicious throwback!

Picture this: it’s 1982, Michael Jackson has just released Thriller, the first cd player is sold, Olivia Newton-John tops the charts, Cheers airs for the first time, E.T. is a box office hit, a gallon of gas costs 90 cents, and conversations revolve around Cabbage Patch dolls, Princess Di, and that newfangled invention, the computer. It’s the same year that Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso publish The Silver Palate cookbook, named after their successful gourmet shop in New York City. It’s destined to become the Joy of Cooking for a new generation. If you didn’t already have this cookbook in the early 80s, someone was bound to give you a copy. 1982 was also the year I got married, and so I definitely had a copy on my kitchen shelf.

The Famous Silver Palate Apple Cake ~ 2

The Famous Silver Palate Apple Cake

Cakes topped with warm glazes were popular in the 80s. But be warned, it makes for a very moist, almost wet interior. In this case it has a kind of apple pie effect.

the silver palate cookbook apple cake

This is a a lovely cake. It smelled heavenly every step of the way. I would be proud to serve it to guests, and it’s big enough for a crowd. The thing I’m taking away from this recipe is the wonderful combo of apples and brandy—I’m filing it away for the next time I’m baking with apples!

 If you love apple desserts, be sure to try my Maple Frosted Apple Blondies, or my Irish Apple Cake.
3.81 from 66 votes

The Silver Palate Apple Cake

The Famous Silver Palate Apple Cake Recipe ~ Sheila Lukins and Julee Rosso are the dynamic duo that wrote the definitive cookbook of the 1980s, The Silver Palate.  The Silver Palate Apple Cake is one of the most beloved recipes from the book, and it just screams Fall.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield 20 servings
Author Sue Moran


  • 1 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground mace I used nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 c. walnuts chopped
  • 3 tbsp. Calvados I used brandy because they didn't have one of those cute tiny bottles of Calvados at the liquor store
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour sifted
  • 3 1/4 c. coarse chunks of peeled apple


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Calvados or brandy
  • 1/4 cup sweet cider
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream.


  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Grease a 10" round cake pan and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat the vegetable oil and sugar until thick and opaque. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Sift together all-purpose flour, cloves, cinnamon, mace, baking soda, and salt, then stir in whole wheat flour.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the oil mixture and blend. Stir in walnuts, apple chunks, and apple brandy. Stir to distribute pieces evenly.
  • Pour into a greased 10 inch round cake pan. Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake rest for 10 minutes, then unmold and pour glaze over warm cake or cut cake and pour glaze over slices. (note: I used a 9 inch spring-form pan and cooked it almost 10 minutes longer)
  • To make the glaze, mix the ingredients together in a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Pour while still warm over warm cake.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

 Don’t forget to pin this Silver Palate Apple Cake recipe!

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  • Reply
    Liza Evans
    January 23, 2022 at 2:08 pm

    5 stars
    Been making this cake for years as I believe oil healthier than butter and like having whole wheat flour. Are other mixing by hand, using a stand mixer or Cuisinart???

    • Reply
      April 20, 2022 at 2:13 pm

      5 stars
      I mix it with a wooden spoon. Delicious every time

  • Reply
    Christine Everhart
    September 1, 2021 at 7:34 pm

    5 stars
    I made this cake a few times, long ago. Then I threw out my beloved Silver Palate cookbook by mistake. I want to make it again, and searched all over. I didn’t remember it was from Silver Palate. I was confounded when I couldn’t find the recipe in Frugal Gourmet. So I searched the internet and found it right away! Wow, I never knew this was a “beloved recipe”! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Sue Moran
      September 2, 2021 at 5:14 am

      So glad I could help Christine 🙂

  • Reply
    Myra Hale
    June 21, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    5 stars
    Absolutely hands down the best cake I have ever made. I did it or my dad for Father’s Day and it was a HUGE HIT! Can’t wait to make it again

  • Reply
    September 29, 2019 at 9:35 am

    Do you think this could be baked in a tube pan?

    • Reply
      September 29, 2019 at 9:56 am

      I think it might be ideal in a tube pan, Jenny, because it’s such a moist dense cake.

  • Reply
    Carolyn Milzman
    June 5, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Great recipe…have made many times over the years.
    Had the Silver Palate Cookbook years ago, but now just googled the recipe.
    I would suggest the cake recipe be rewritten so that ingredients are listed in the order and grouping by which they are mixed. I had to keep double checking to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

  • Reply
    February 28, 2019 at 12:39 pm

    5 stars
    I made this recipe today. It’s smells great. Can’t eat it. LOL It’s for a meeting tonight. I had to bake it 30 minutes longer. Then you said to do. Then I made the glaze and poked holes and pour the glaze over the cake. It is beautiful cake and smells great.

    • Reply
      February 28, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      I can’t wait for you to taste it Karen 🙂

  • Reply
    Sandy Niglio
    December 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    5 stars
    This is my “go to” recipe for apple cake. I have probably made this 20 times throughout the past years. I don’t bother to peel the apples. It’s simple, delicious and just gets better with age when refrigerated. It’s rare when I’m not asked for the recipe. I have one baking in the oven right now.

    • Reply
      December 10, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Wish I could smell it!

  • Reply
    Sweet Tooth
    September 1, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    How does it turn out without the glaze? Thanks!

  • Reply
    LaVonne Ray
    October 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    5 stars
    I have made this cake twice! It is absolutely fabulous! I have begun using 2 tsp. of cinnamon, an extra cup of chopped apples, and more walnuts, & cut the sugar back a bit. It takes longer to bake to get the middle done. I like making small loaves to give as gifts.

    • Reply
      October 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      I’m so glad, and while I can’t take credit for the recipe, I’m thrilled that it worked out for you LaVonne 🙂

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    5 stars
    I have made this cake over and over and am taking orders for it for Holidays that I bake for friends. Thanks for the lovely depiction with photos and recipe! Kimson

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