Culinary Class

How to Make Appalachia’s Apple Stack Cake

Slice of Apple Stack cake

Apple stack cake is a modest, rustic confection most closely associated with the Appalachian communities in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee. Spiced and not too sweet, it’s a fine example of culinary resourcefulness—it’s traditionally made with fall supplies of sorghum molasses and preserved apples (either dried or processed into apple butter or preserves).

The cake layers resemble giant soft cookies formed from rolled dough and baked individually in pans. Our recipe makes six layers, though the cake can be stacked as tall as desired, and uses apple butter. When assembling the layers, liberally spread apple butter between each and on the top and sides of the cake. The toughest part about making a stack cake? You’ll want to wait 24 hours before serving to allow the apple butter to seep into the cake.

TLP’s Apple Stack Cake heading-plus-icon

  • ½ cups butter
  • softened
  • 1¾ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5½ cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3-4 cups apple butter
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Getting Started

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

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Mix It Up

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and spices into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, Alternate adding each mixture in thirds to butter mixture and mix on medium-low speed untell just combined.

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Roll Out

Transfer dough to a heavily floured surface and roll into a log. Dough will be sticky; flour hands and surface as needed. Divide log into six equal pieces.

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Wrap And Chill

Roll each dough piece into a ball and flatten to a disc. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, at least one hour.

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Bake Till Golden

Using a cake pan as a guide, roll discs and trim away excess dough. Place in pan. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool, remove and set aside. Repeat with other layers

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Spread And Stack

Liberally spread apple butter ( about 1/2 cup ) on a bottom layer on top. Repeat for all layers. Spread apple butter on top and sides of cake. Cover and refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving.

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