Apple Spiral Chai Coffee Cake

I was super excited when my friend Shannon organized an apple picking field trip the other weekend to Smolak Farms! Not only would I get to check out a local orchard for the first time, I also would get to meet several of my favorite fellow Boston food bloggers, including Nicole, Kelly, Elina, and Lauren. We all had a great time chatting and discussing which apple varieties to use in our future apple concoctions (check out their sites from some great pictures!), and to top it all off I picked up a pack of spiced apple cider and donuts to enjoy after we got home!

So what exactly do you do with 10 pounds of apples? I’m actually not a huge fan of raw apples. I had one daily for years and then suddenly one day I couldn’t bring myself to even take one more bite, so I guess I just overdid it, but my hubby polished off quite a few and I helped by doing a bit of baking! Apolinaras requested a low fat and sugar apple crisp and I also made my favorite apple coffee cake, which is always on our table when we have weekend guests. Since it’s an upside down cake, there ends up being a lovely spiral of apples sitting atop a moist cake layer spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves. The walnuts add an extra crunch! SO good.

Apple Spiral Chai Coffee Cake
Printable Recipe


Apple Layer:
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tart baking apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

Cake Layer:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan.

Prepare the apple layer. In a small bowl, mix butter and brown sugar. Spread sugar mixture evenly in greased cake pan. Fan apple slices in two concentric circles on top of the sugar mixture.

Prepare the cake layer. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly with a fork and set aside. In another large bowl, mix the butter, sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Slowly mix in the flour mixture and then the walnuts. Pour batter on top of the apple layer evenly in the prepared pan.

Bake at 350˚F for 35-40 minutes or a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes or until the cake comes away from the edges of the pan, then run a knife around the outside of the pan, and immediately invert on a serving platter, and cut into wedges. Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition: 330 calories, 25.1g fat, 2.0g fiber, 4.7g protein per serving
Cost: $0.55 per serving

46 Responses to Apple Spiral Chai Coffee Cake

  1. I love apples! But, then unfortunately after fall I am appled out for quite awhile!!

    This cake is so unique–I love cardamom, it my favorite spice besides cinnamon.

  2. That cake looks so good! It’s definitely a great one to show off when you have weekend guests! I’m sure they’re always impressed. I love all the spices in there!

  3. Yea I can leave you comments! ;o)

    This cake sounds delicious! There is an apple orchard right down the street from me. I haven’t had the chance to go yet this year, but I love picking apples!

  4. What a great way to use up those apples. I’ve been too busy to bake with mine, but luckily I really enjoy raw apples :)
    Btw, I forget if I mentioned it but I really love that you provide nutritional info on the bottom of each post!! 😀
    Have a great weekend! We should get together soon again :)

  5. I LOVE that cake! And I love how pretty it looks – presentation is key, I tend to forget that. I am really enjoying seeing what the Smolak Farm ladies are making with their apples. I still have so many left, but they are slowly diminishing. Your coffee cake looks great for a weekend like we are going to have. How can you beat a yummy piece of cake with a hot beverage curled up under a blanket in front of the tv? Have a great weekend!

  6. I have a small obsession with apple cakes, but surprisingly I’ve never made and upside down one before! This looks so insanely delicious!! I am very jealous that you went apple picking- it is way too hot down here to grow apples but I’ve always thought it sounded like so much fun!

  7. The spiral is so beautiful! And I love the chai spices – my favorite tea! Apple picking is so fun – I just bought a whole ton of apples at the farm market.

  8. You got to meet NICOLE!!! OH MY GOODNESS! I am SO jealous! I would love to meet you lovely ladies! >.<

    Wow..chai? That is so cool! I imagine it would go SO well with autumn apple flavors!

  9. Every time, I see another apple recipes, I want to scream. I have made so many wonderful apple recipes and then I see this and I want to make another one. This is unique and the flavors sound great. Is it nice to tempt us like this? Yes,it is.

  10. if i’m gonna eat an apple a day, i want to achieve it with this! apples and chai spices go together almost as wonderfully as apples and cinnamon alone, and your cake is gorgeous. :)

  11. Gorgeous! And I know something else to do with all of those apples…share them with the whole “chef” family!! Seriously, there can never be too many apples around this house 😀

  12. Mmmmm that has all my favorite flavors in it. There’s a tea place here in Boston that makes “chai-der”, that’s a chai teabag steeped in apple cider- bet that’d make a ridiculous awesome pairing with your cake!

  13. that looks so good. chai is one of my favorite flavors for anything, and it’d be even better in this cake with apples! definitely need to make this sometime!

  14. This recipe looks AMAZING! I can’t wait to try it….I am not the biggest walnut fan and was wondering what another nut substitution would be that would compliment the coffee cake?

  15. Thanks to all :)

    Ingrid – I’m actually with you on preferring fruit desserts over chocolate!

    Marta – I think pecans would also be great!

  16. Wow, Kerstin, this looks like one that both my hubbie and I would devour in a day! I have a question though: Why is “Chai” in the title, did I miss some ingredient while reading? Hmmm, dunno. Anyhow, I think it is fabulous that you were able to meet up with some blogging friends. I hope to do that too someday! Hope all is well in your world! Roz

  17. Roz – I put chai in the title because the spices used (especially the cardamom!) are the same ones used to spice chai tea :)

  18. I am always looking for a new yummy treat for our numerous coffe hours at work, this will be PERFECT! I can’t wait to try it!!!

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