Washington Apple Cake
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Gill Bland

Washington Apple Cake

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 10th June 2019

For Father’s Day this year I decided to dig into the history of the occasion a little to get some inspiration for what to make. A celebration of Fatherhood has been around since the middle ages, but the current incarnation of Father’s Day is probably a result of the work of Sonora Smart Dodd, whose father was a single parent of six and civil war veteran. In 1910, Dodd heard a sermon about Mother’s Day at her church in Spokane, Washington State and decided that Fathers should have a day too. Originally, she wanted the day to be on her Dad’s birthday (5th June) but the pastor did not have enough time to prepare a sermon and postponed it until the third Sunday in June, which is when we now celebrate it. After the first edition of the day Dodd’s life rather got in the way of promoting the event and it was not until the 1930 that it really started to take off as she returned to her hometown and got the help of trade groups who wanted to market presents as part of the event. A Father’s Day Council was formed in 1930 but it was not until 1972 that President Nixon signed the day into law. In honor of the modern-founder of the day, I thought I would look for traditional home-bake cakes from Washington State. I came across this Apple cake, which is made using an American muffin-like recipe but is British feeling in taste!

If you want to, you can top this with cream-cheese icing (recipe here) but the dad in our household would much rather cover his in a good helping of custard and I have to be honest, I totally agree with him.


Washington Apple Cake


  • 3 medium eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 200ml vegetable / sunflower oil
  • 310g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Large handful nuts of your choice (walnut or pecan works best), chopped
  • Large handful dried dates, chopped
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices


  1. Preheat oven to 180c / 160c fan
  2. Grease a baking tin, 20 x 20cm or equivalent (a brownie pan is ideal)
  3. Whisk the eggs until light in colour, fluffy and thick in texture.
  4. Mix the sugar, vanilla and oil in a jug, then beat into the eggs.
  5. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nuts and dates
  6. Fold the dry mixture into the wet until combined.
  7. Arrange the sliced apples along the base of the baking tin.
  8. Dollop the mixture evenly over the apples and smooth down with the back of a spoon.
  9. Place any extra slices of apple on top of the mixture pushing them part-way into the batter.
  10. Bake for 1hr or until a knife comes out cleanly.


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