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The Famous Silver Palate Apple Cake Recipe

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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.
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3.49 from 52 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


  • 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.

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

The Silver Palate Apple Cake pin

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    Leave a Reply

  • 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

    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

    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

    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 8:54 pm

    PS, I use an angel food cake pan as the inner part of the cake is a bit too moist as stated. This sort of aids in that respect giving the inside a bit more of a heat injection so not as “wet”.

  • Reply
    October 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    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

  • Reply
    December 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Oh my goodness, that looks delicious!!

  • Reply
    September 20, 2011 at 2:01 am

    Love your honesty about cookbooks – use em or loose em! Also, thank you for the rememberance of the 80’s – I was actually only 2 at the time, but nevertheless, good times. That cake looks great, I love all things apple.

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    September 18, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Ah ,this looks heavenly! I adore apple cake. Will have to try this!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I have made the Silver Palate apple cake Sue. I just adore their cookbooks since they were the first in my collection.

  • Reply
    Taryn (Have Kitchen, Will Feed)
    September 17, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Gorgeous photos and delicious looking cake. Thanks, Sue!

  • Reply
    Linda A. Thompson
    September 17, 2011 at 3:51 am

    Oh my goodness, that looks lucious! A perfect treat for fall!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2011 at 2:50 am

    Oh, you post makes me so glad that it’s apple season in New York right now. This cake looks delicious and so fresh! Glad you could join us this week!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    Beautiful pictures, really amazing! Must get some apples ….x

  • Reply
    Reem | Simply Reem
    September 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    This cake looks so perfect!!!
    Moist and cozy, so delicious!!!!
    I love the pictures too.

  • Reply
    Sabrina-eat.drink.and be merry.
    September 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    your photos are beautiful! I love the giant chunks of apples and the whipped cream! Im going apple picking tomorrow so I’ll have plenty of apples to make this!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    oh, apple cake. i haven’t come across a version yet that i didn’t devour, and from the looks of this one, it’d rank among my favorites! lovely images of a tasty treat. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Great photos and recipe!

    I don’t recall when I last checked out a cooking book for a recipe. Most of the time I get on the internet and find something that will suit what I currently have in my kitchen.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Well, I suppose I probably had other things on my 7-year old wish list in 1982…but boy would I have loved somebody to have made me this cake! It’s seriously beautiful…so thick and moist. Bookmarked!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Your apple cake looks fabulous, Sue. What a perfect choice from Silver Palate….right in tune with fall. I’ve never made this and will now put it on my list. I adore moist cakes like this.

  • Reply
    Susan Lindquist
    September 16, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I, too, love your photos! That cake was a bane to me over the years, it was always too moist for me … but unlike you, I worshiped The Silver Palate Cookbook – no diet foods in there! Yes! Long ingredients list, but I so love so many of the recipes between those covers! I hear you, though. Some books speak to your cooking style and others are just ‘meh’! You’re wise to make room for more that excite you as a cook!

    Great post, Sue!

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    This looks so delicious. I’m a huge fan of apple cake and how moist it always is! I’ve never heard of the Silver Palate cookbook, but now you’ve intrigued me and I might just check it out (even if it didn’t work out for you) 🙂

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Sue, this cakes looks delicious and perfect with my cup of coffee right this very minute! I love all your photos and styling! I can practically see your eggs coming to room temperature. As I was reading through your post I kept thinking the same thing about the book. Recipes seemed long and lots of steps. I actually had to go over to my cookbooks to see if my copy of Silver Palate made the cut when we moved 2 years ago. And just like you….It did not.
    xo annie

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Now that cake looks super moist, perfect for the fall.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I won’t tell you that 82 also happens to be the year I was born 😉 this is a beautiful looking cake. I can’t wait to start whipping up apple creations soon 🙂