Sunday Recipe: Swedish Apple Cake

Putting apple harvest to good use.

When the first Gravenstein apples start to fall from our tree in late August, I pull out this recipe, Brita Nelsons Äppelkaka.

I got it in 1970 from a friend (the cake’s namesake) when I still lived in Sweden. It is written with a ballpoint pen in a 2-ring blue recipe binder that was a must to take along when I moved away from Sweden in 1974. Even if I know how to make it from memory, I still look it up to have that bittersweet jolt of thinking of her and wondering what she does now.

The recipe is great all year round, but it’s best with the seasonal harvest of autumn apples. It can be made with equal success using halved plums or sliced pears but the apples are still my favorite.

Brita Nelson’s Apple Cake


  • 7 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almonds or hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup flour, can be almond meal or rice flour for a gluten free version
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a few drops of almond flavoring (optional)
  • Peeled and sliced apples


Cream butter and sugar (in food processor or by hand). Mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Grease a round baking pan, and coat with either almond meal or unsweetened coconut.

Spread batter into pan. Note: the batter is a little sticky, use a spatula and it’s okay if it doesn’t come all the way out to the edges.

Starting in the middle, place the apple slices side by side in a circular formation, then press them into the dough. This will also make the dough spread. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top if you so desire.

Bake 40 minutes at 360F.

Whipped cream on top is always a common way of serving cakes in Sweden… But it is good plain too! And if you’re going to be truly traditional, eat it with a small fork, NOT a spoon!

Want more food inspiration? Check out the rest of our Sunday Recipe series.