Apple Walnut Cake with Simple Syrup

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A rectangular piece of Apple Pie Cake topped with an apple slice

Monday morning. Hubby is at work, munchkin is taking a nap, and I am in the kitchen… Where else would I be? But, today’s kitchen duty is special; I am following a recipe to the “T”! Why? Because it’s my mother-in-law’s recipe. And you know what that means: it better be the best apple cake that I have ever made! πŸ™‚

Fortunately Unfortunately, my in-laws live across the oceans, rivers, mountains, and seas, and they will not be able to taste my creation. But, don’t worry, their son is here and he will definitely know if this cake is like Mama’s, or not. We will find out soon. Munchkin and I are going to surprise him by taking a piece of this cake to him at work. He will be so excited!

A piece of apple pie cake and two apple slices

And through the magic of the internet, soon is here (lunch with daddy was fun!) and the verdict is in: He loves it! In his own words, “Not quite like my mom’s…it must be the different climates, environment, oven (bla bla bla)…but I love it! It might even be better than mom’s!”. Cha-ching!

The only thing I did different was the addition of apple slices on top of the cake. Maybe that is why he thought it was better? Shrug

The cake really is delicious. Moist, light, and sweet. Thanks for the recipe, Mama!

My Mother-in-Law’s Apple Walnut Cake

You will  need:

  • 3/4 cup instant wheat grits
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 4 apples, grated

For the Simple Syrup

You will need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 cups of sugar


  • 1 apple, quartered then thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Bowl of shredded apple


  • In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients, excluding the apples and walnuts.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients.
  • Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir in the apples and walnuts.
  • Mix it all together until well blended and let stand for about 20 minutes.

A bowl of Apple Pie Cake batter

  • Put the mixture in a 9×13 cake pan and bake at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Apple Pie Cake batter spread in a rectangular baking pan

In the meantime prepare the simple syrup.

  • In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water.
  • Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.
  • Allow to completely cool.

When cake is done, let it cool for a couple of minutes.

  • Cut the cake into bars while it is still in the pan, then pour over the cooled simple syrup (see the bottom of the recipe for tips on simple syrup).
  • Let cake stand on the counter for 30 minutes so to absorb the syrup.
  • Lastly, cut an apple into thin slices, toss them in a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice, then arrange them on top of the cake. Drizzle a bit of the syrup on top of them.

Rectangular piece of Apple Pie Cake with apple slice on top

About simple syrup:

If the cake is cool, you need hot syrup.

If the cake is hot, you need cold syrup.

35 Responses
  1. sheila @ Elements

    What an interesting recipe! It looks wonderful, and since it’s made with wheat grits, I’m really interesting in trying it! πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing the recipe! πŸ™‚

  2. The Mom Chef ~ Taking on Magazines One Recipe at a Time

    I love it when Hubbies think that our recipes beat out their mom’s. There’s just something very right about that. πŸ™‚

    This cake looks fantastic.

  3. Big Al

    f’n-a!!! that looks dominant! ughh…I hate you right now for posting that….my mouth just filled with water….literally…

  4. 5 Star Foodie

    A terrific recipe, neat that you use instant wheat grits here, and the cake looks so moist and wonderfully delicious!

  5. Kristen

    That looks so delicious! I imagine the syrup keeps that cake moist and yummy. The slices of apples on top look great.

  6. Medeja

    Today I had one walnut cake but it was to dry, yours looks so moist and nice.. Im sure I would love it πŸ™‚

  7. Hester aka The Chef Doc

    This cake is amazeballs! It looks so incredibly tasty and flavorful. My tastebuds go bonkers just looking at it πŸ™‚ I’m glad that it got the seal of approval from your husband!

  8. Mina @ Angellove's Cooking

    Kate, I always love to read your stories – as much as enjoying your recipes!! I am usually impatient to check my morning tasks at work πŸ™‚ and steal my time for your blog right after that… Your cake looks fabulous!!! I love it πŸ™‚

  9. Kankana

    ohh i can so understand ! you cannot mess with Mother in law’s recipe .. and even if you try to give your twist .. the son somehow gets to know!! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
    PS: My monday morning was fun .. hubby took the day off πŸ˜‰

  10. Evelyne@CheapEthnicEatz

    Oh the challenge of choosing between the love one and mama. He made the right choice! Looks great and so moist!

  11. cakewhiz

    Wowww! that slice looks sooooo moist! I like the addition of that syrup. I use a similar syrup in some of my cakes and it adds a subtle sweetness which i love!
    And as usual, beautiful pictures!

  12. Claudia

    Looks so welcoming. Grits? Fascinating – must give it a nice texture. Love the simple embellishments of the syrup and added apple slice.

  13. happywhennothungry

    This looks delicious! I’m glad your hubby loved this cake better than his Mama’s. Nice work! Will def have to try this one.

  14. Sandra

    MMMM..that sounds fantastic Kate..I know got to be like mother-in law:)) mine is here and it is always not like mama’s but I think it is better- I always use less sugar and fat than my mom in law and he like that:))

  15. Lisa {AuthenticSuburbanGourmet}

    WOW – this looks amazing and I bet it would be perfect even for breakfast. Nice job!

  16. Lauren

    Looks great! My hubby hates fruit so I am always looking for way to trick him into eating it. Ill have to give this a try. Thanks

  17. Leanna @

    mmmmm!!! This looks awesome. I’ve been on a walnut kick lately, maybe I’ll try this sometime.

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Katerina of Diethood
Hey There!
I'm Katerina, a cookie-maker & picture-taker! For me, eating is a moment to share, an enjoyment, a passion. I hope you enjoy my recipes!

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