As much as I love a cake that’s an effective frosting delivery service, there’s always a soft spot in my heart for a cake that’s more of an all-day cake: The kind of cake you can sort of defend as a breakfast choice, the perfect companion to an afternoon cup of tea or coffee, and still totally dessert-worthy. Even better if it’s quick to throw together and made mostly of standard pantry ingredients.
This is my go-to cake for just such occasions. Yes, it is lovely in the heart of apple season, as we are right now, when it can benefit from farmer’s market-sourced heirloom varietals like Mutsu and Connell Reds, but it’s equally delicious year-round with whatever is filling your grocer’s produce section. It is an oil-based bake, so no need to worry about softening butter or dirtying a mixer: This batter stirs together in one bowl with a spatula or wooden spoon.
And—this is the most important part—it has bittersweet chocolate chunks in it. No raisins or walnuts, nothing that can make the cake feel like it is more related to breakfast oatmeal than a treat, just large chunks of chocolate that create surprising pockets of bitter creaminess that offset and balance the sweetness of the apple. If apples and chocolate seem weird to you, think about a chocolate-covered caramel apple and it will start to make more sense.
There isn’t a ton of chocolate in there, just enough to heighten but not overwhelm, so you can still totally eat this for breakfast. But the chocolate also makes it a perfect pick-me-up cake. Those little hits of endorphins that chocolate sparks are just the thing when your spirits flag around 3 PM. And add a scoop of ice cream or some caramel sauce and nothing makes a homier or more soul-satisfying dessert.
I tend to bake mine in a Bundt pan to make it fancier, but it works perfectly fine in a baking dish if you want squares instead of slices.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4 cups cubed, peeled apples (3 large or four medium, Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp, or anything else sweet and crisp)
- 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, lightly dusted in 1 tsp. flour
Heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine flour, sugar, eggs, oil, cinnamon, baking soda, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl and mix with a rubber spatula until no more flour is visible. Add the apples and stir them through. Add chocolate chunks and mix well. Spread into greased Bundt pan or 9 x 13-inch pan. It will look like not enough batter, as if there is barely anything holding the apples and chocolate together. Don’t worry. It will somehow expand to be enough.
Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.