Apple Date Walnut Cake

Written by Gwen Ashley Walters Category: Food Reviews Issue: October 2011
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“My recipe tweaking is a running joke between us,” Robertson says. “I always doctor up Mom’s recipes.”

Robertson says this spiced buttermilk cake is embarrassingly easy to make and follows a quick-bread method of mixing dry ingredients together, then wet ingredients, before a final quick mix of the two.

“The key is to not chop the apples and walnuts too finely,” she says. The result is a rustic, old-fashioned texture of tender cake studded with soft apple chunks and bits of chewy walnuts.

Robertson starts with Fuji or Gala apples (she doesn’t like Granny Smith apples – too tart) and toasted walnuts. A little orange zest and juice add flavor, and local dates add moisture.

The cake is plenty moist on its own, but Robertson’s apple caramel sauce is the “icing on the cake,” so to speak. She caramelizes sugar and adds a bottle of unfiltered apple juice, a splash of orange juice and a spoonful of honey, reducing it to a syrupy consistency. A touch of cream adds silkiness.

She pairs the cake with a scoop of ice cream, either vanilla bean or crème fraîche. Take a bite and you’ll feel wrapped up in a big, warm hug from Mom. Pure comfort.

Rancho Pinot
6300 N. Scottsdale Road, Paradise Valley

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