An apple bread filled with 3 big apples! You’ll love the warm cinnamon flavor and moist texture that isn’t too sweet. This is an easy bread recipe. So, as the name suggests, it’s a bread without yeast. Perfect for enjoying breakfast with morning tea or coffee!
Cinnamon Apple Bread
I’m working on my apple pie project (read: My Perfect Apple Pie) and I’m sure it will be a success this year! Either way, making an apple pie is definitely a labor of love. Some favorites in my existing apple repertoire are apple muffins, apple bars, and apple crumbles.
Welcome to today’s Cinnamon Apple Bread, the latest addition to my collection of apple recipes!
This is a good bread for sharing that’s relatively fast to make. Leftovers make a great breakfast, lightly toasted and smothered in (just a bit!) of butter
What you need
Here’s what you’ll need to make this cinnamon applebread: Cinnamon is a must for this recipe! Dough, apples, on the surface!
1. THE APPLE
- Apples – You will need 3 big apples for this recipe! 650g / 1.4 pounds in total. I like to use Granny Smith because I love the tartness and also because they hold their shape better when cooked. However, any apple will work for this recipe, though you may need to watch how quickly the slices on the surface caramelise.You will need 2 of the apples chopped up to mix into the batter, and 1 apple cut into slices for decorating the surface. Though actually, the decorative topping is purely optional.
- Cinnamon and sugar (for apple in the batter) – I like to toss the chopped up apples in a little sugar and cinnamon to get a little sweetness and flavour into the apple pieces before folding into the batter.
- Demerara sugar and cinnamon (for topping) – Demerara sugar is a coarse sugar with a hint of molasses flavour that is ideal to use for sprinkling onto things to create a sparkly little crust. Turbinado makes a perfect substitute. However, if you don’t have either there is no need to get it especially. Just use brown sugar instead.
- Walnuts – Entirely optional! The add a lovely soft crunch to the loaf. To be honest, I’ve made this without walnuts more often than with.
2. THE BATTER
- Cinnamon, ginger and allspice powder – I’ve called this a Cinnamon Apple Bread because it’s the dominant spice here. But I like to add interest to the cinnamon flavour with a touch of ginger and allspice (mixed spice also works great). However, the ginger and allspice are entirely optional. You can skip them and just add more cinnamon powder.
- Yogurt or sour cream – A secret weapon to make cakes and breads that are beautifully moist. Yogurt adds wetness to batters without also making it thin (unlike milk), which means you don’t need as much flour. Less flour = more moist! This also (usually) means the batter doesn’t call for “cream butter and sugar with a beater” which means (a) no waiting for butter to soften; and (b) it’s hand mixed with just a wooden spoon.Yogurt is not suitable to use for all cakes (like my classic Vanilla Cake, Chocolate Cake) but I do use it quite regularly in baked goods – like Yogurt Lemon Cake, Easy Blueberry Cake, Strawberry Cake and Chocolate Muffins, to name a few. Even for my Cheesy Mediterranean Muffins (great non-sweet morning tea option!).
- Baking powder and baking soda (bicarbonate soda) – I like to use a combination of baking powder and baking soda because while they both make baked goods rise, they behave differently. For one thing, baking soda is about 3x stronger than baking powder and for loafs such as this, it makes the surface dome more. By using a combination of the two you can control the shape of baked goods. For this apple cake, I specifically wanted just the slightest dome to keep the apple slice decoration mostly in place (big dome = apple slices splayed out in a disorderly way!).However, the nice thing about this loaf is that the batter is very forgiving so you can use just baking soda or just baking powder. The shape of the surface will be slightly different (baking powder = level or slightly sunken, baking soda only = rounder dome), but the crumb is basically the same. I’ve popped directions in the recipe notes.
- Flour – Just plain / all-purpose flour. Self-raising flour (instead of flour + baking powder + baking soda) will work but it doesn’t rise quite as well. Gluten-free – I haven’t tried!
- Eggs – Preferably at room temperature so it incorporates more easily into the batter but for this batter, it’s actually not a problem if they are fridge-cold because as noted above, it’s a very forgiving recipe!
- Oil – Another secret to making cakes with a moist crumb. Butter has better flavour but it dries cakes out. Why then, don’t I only use oil in cakes? Because oil is flavourless. It really only works in cakes where there’s other big flavours to compensate – like cinnamon, in this case.
- Brown sugar – Not very much actually! Just 3/4 cup. I really like that this loaf is not too sweet.
- Vanilla extract – For a complementary rather than dominant flavour. I really feel it’s missing something without vanilla .
- Salt – Just a pinch brings out other flavours in sweet baked goods. It definitely does not make it taste salty at all. This is generally good practice for baking, a tip I’ve picked up over the years. You’ll notice my older cake recipes do not have salt in them.
How to make Cinnamon Apple Loaf
It’s very, very straight forward. It takes longer to chop the apples than to make the batter!
1. THE BATTER
- Toss the apple pieces with cinnamon and sugar, and set aside while you make the batter. This will make the apple sweat slightly – we mix the juices into the batter – and infuse the apple with a bit of sweetness and cinnamon flavour.
- Dry – Whisk the Dry ingredients in a bowl.
- Wet – Whisk the Wet ingredients in a separate bowl. (PS. I know sugar isn’t “wet” but in the baking world it is considered a wet ingredient and actually it behaves like a wet ingredient when mixed with liquids).
- Combine wet and dry – Pour the Wet ingredients into the Dry ingredients bowl then mix until combined.
- Stir through the apple (including all juices in the bowl) and walnuts, if using.
- Scrape the batter into a prepared loaf pan and level the surface. Lining the loaf pan – I just use a single sheet of paper to line the base and long sides, with plenty of paper overhang. There’s no need to line the short end – this cake is not that sticky. Also the overhang will be used to lift the cake out because we do not want to turn it out upside down as it will mess up the top.)Batter level – The batter should be around 1.7cm / 2/3″ below the rim of the loaf pan. No more else it may overflow.
- Apple slices – Decorate the surface using the apple slices in any way you wish. I fan them out slightly, as pictured, and use 3/4 of an apple.
- Sprinkle the surface with the Demerara sugar mixed with (more!) cinnamon powder.
This loaf takes 1 hour 25 minutes to bake: Partially uncovered, to caramelise the surface nicely, then covered to finish cooking it through.
- 1 hour uncovered – Bake the loaf uncovered for 1 hour at 200°C / 390°F (180°C fan). This is slightly higher than the usual 180°C/350°F (160°C fan). This lower temperature not only took an extra 20 minutes to cook but the loaf didn’t rise as well. 200°C for the win! FIRST CHECK at 45 minutes to ensure the apple slices are not burning. If they are, cover with foil early.
- 25 minutes covered – Remove the loaf from the oven and loosely cover with foil. Then bake for a further 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool 1 hour – Cool for 15 minutes in the pan. Then use the paper overhang to lift the loaf out on to a rack to cool for a further 1 hour before slicing. I know it’s super-tempting but don’t slice and eat it straight away because even though it is fully cooked, it will paradoxically taste a little raw. You really need to rest any baked good (breads included) to let the inside finish cooking and “dry out” a bit. The larger it is, the longer you need to rest it. In this case, because of the extra moisture from the apple, it needs a good 1 hour. At the very least, 30 minutes!
Cutting and serving
Regular readers won’t be surprised to hear that you’re thinking of something as simple as slicing bread!!
For me, the optimum width of the disc is 2-2.2 cm (0.78-0.87 inch).
= insufficient cake to butter ratio.
= stingy and fragile. If you are slicing bread and the slices fall like dominoes and break, it means the slices are too thin.
Don’t judge me! or – I do not mind. Because I’m the one who eats perfect apple bread!