Caramel-swirl apple cake, for Thom

Caramel-swirl apple cakeCaramel-swirl apple cakeApples

My handsome man,

Happy birthday! Today you turn 30. Thirty. I know it freaks you out, but I’m hoping my surprise will help to ease the pain from the obvious fact that you’re no longer in your twenties. In two hours, we’re going to the airport. And we’re going to board a plane and fly to Phoenix for the afternoon. When we get there, a car will be waiting to take us to that restaurant you speak of incessantly. You know, that one with animal-style burgers and Neapolitan milkshakes?

I was going to get you a set of those fancy Wusthof knives, but I figured that would only add to the whole making-you-feel-old thing. Not to mention, the last thing either of us needs is more shit. So I decided to buy you an experience, because experiences are more important than things. Today – for your thirtieth birthday – we’re going to gorge ourselves on burgers (you) and fries (us) then fly back to Denver and take our fat bellies to the Green Russell for a drink. After that, I’m going to take you home and rub your back and.. well.. the rest isn’t exactly suitable for the this corner of the internet.

I love you. To the moon and back a thousand times. I don’t care that you’re 30. In fact, I think it’s sexy. Now get out of bed and get ready, we’ve got a plane to catch.

So much love,

PS – Seriously, get out of bed.

Caramel-swirl apple cakePecansCaramel-swirl apple cake

Notes: This cake is super moist and produces a light crumb, but it’s not nearly as fluffy as cakes made with all purpose flour. If you want it to have a lighter feel, substitute 2 tablespoons of potato starch for 2 tablespoons of flour. I like making cakes in 6″ pans because we have a small family. That, and all of my pretty cake stands are 6-7″ round. This recipe can be doubled to make a larger 9″ cake, but you’ll have to adjust the baking time accordingly. If you want to do the apple layer on the bottom, that would work, too. The cake will only have to bake for 30 minutes, though.


1 cup whole spelt flour
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
6 tbsp sucanat
1/4 cup vegan butter, melted
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1 flax egg
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup caramel sauce, divided
2 tart apples, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line the bottom of a 6″ spring form pan with parchment paper and spray with oil; set aside. Pass the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and sucanat through a sift set over a large mixing bowl. Create a well in the center and pour in the butter, vanilla extract, almond milk, and flax egg; beat with a hand mixer on high speed for 20-25 seconds. Fold in the pecans then pour half of the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of caramel, then top with the remaining batter. Run a knife through batter in a figure-8 motion several times. In a small bowl, toss the chopped apples and remaining caramel, and add additional pecan pieces if desired. Place apples over batter and press to even. Bake at 350˚F for 40-45 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Keeps in an air tight container for 3 days, but is best the day of.

Yield: 6 slices


  • Reply Baker Bettie 8 December 2012 at 3:32 PM

    So how excited is he?!

    That cake looks amazing. You two have fun today!

  • Reply Ashley 8 December 2012 at 3:44 PM

    You are amazing!!!! HOW FUN!!! Happy Birthday Thom!! That cake……ahhhhhhhhh. Have fun guys! :)

  • Reply Erin 8 December 2012 at 4:00 PM

    Love this (both the post and cake!) Have a blast!

  • Reply Chef Amber Shea 8 December 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Thirty-year-olds are sexy. As are caramel apple cakes. ;)
    Looks great!

  • Reply Amanda 8 December 2012 at 7:36 PM

    This is absolutely adorable! Romance and baking are so perfect together :)

  • Reply sweet road 8 December 2012 at 7:45 PM

    Love this, what an amazing birthday surprise! I realized I was starting to grow up when I asked for Wusthof knives last year…

  • Reply adrienne yancey 8 December 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Experiences are better than gifts! We do the same thing :) Sounds like the perfect day. Enjoy it you two!

  • Reply coconutandberries 8 December 2012 at 8:33 PM

    Aaaw but a lovely thing to do- a great day can be so much better than a gift easily. I love the look of your cake too- I love moist,fruity cakes :)

  • Reply coconutandberries 8 December 2012 at 8:33 PM

    “what” not “but”

  • Reply Brooke 9 December 2012 at 3:11 AM

    Your cake looks incredible! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!! :)

  • Reply lysa jordan 9 December 2012 at 3:55 PM

    Cute story, I always enjoy reading your posts. Beautiful cake also :)

  • Reply Alice 10 December 2012 at 3:40 AM

    This is on my must-bake list! x

  • Reply Kathryne 10 December 2012 at 6:09 AM

    You two have something special. I like it. I also like this cake, so pretty.

  • Reply london bakes 10 December 2012 at 9:36 AM

    Happy happy birthday to Thom! I hope you guys had a fantastic day of fun :)

  • Reply jodi 10 December 2012 at 4:54 PM

    wow … this cake sounds amazing and that birthday present is just awesome. It’s so much better to gift experiences over stuff. Hope it was fun!

  • Reply Nevena 11 December 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Lucky guy!!!:)

  • Reply Suzanne @ Roll With It 11 December 2012 at 11:49 PM

    I love this! And the cake looks amazing – I will have to try it!

  • Reply Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes 13 December 2012 at 4:40 PM

    What an amazing Birthday Experience – Justin and I are all about the experience vs Birthday Gifts – each year for our Birthdays we plan a little Birthday getaway, our memories of those trips will last a whole lot longer than any gift :)

    Beautiful cake and super cute cake stand!

  • Reply Courtney 13 December 2012 at 9:54 PM

    This cake looks a-freaking-mazing! Love your cake stand, too!

  • Reply veganmonologue 14 December 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Well, I”m definitely making this!

  • Reply Richa 18 December 2012 at 8:22 AM

    belated birthday wishes to Thom. I love this cake. how i wish hubbs could make me some and surprise me :)

  • Reply chocolate and coconut cupcakes – molly, ily 27 May 2013 at 12:35 AM

    […] for afternoon tea. Naturally, I treated this as an occasion to bake all the things. Ever. There was this caramel-swirl apple cake. Peanut butter cookies topped with leftover caramel sauce. And these […]

  • Reply Hannah 12 July 2014 at 6:01 AM

    Wow, I just made this and it was incredible. I am enjoying your blog so much, keep up the amazing work!

  • Reply Rebecca Miller 17 August 2015 at 7:18 AM

    Can I use a regular egg instead of a flax egg?
    Thank you :)

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