Apple Pecan Snack Cake

October 4, 2016

“What could be more important than a little something to eat?”   ~ Winnie the Pooh

Apple Picking with Eli - October 2, 2016

Apple Picking with Eli – October 2, 2016

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One of my favorite things about having The Veggies are emails from readers.  Those who, in some small way, have found a bit of inspiration.

True confessions?  As with life, I've learned the most about cooking, when I've completely messed things up.

In fact, just last week, while attempting to salt a colorful pan of to-be-roasted veggies, the lid came off.  We were fishing Himalayan grains out of our toes for days

Then there was the casserole forgotten in the oven. “This is perfect(!)  I'll take the puppies around the block while it's baking.”  Once I'd hosed them off after a mud-wrestling match, and heard all about our neighbor's vacation, I walked in and thought

“Oh no, let's open some windows.”

Therefore it's been nice to focus my attention on this short series about snacking.  Most of the things we snack on don't have a recipe are quick and easy to prepare.

In Part I –  a few things to keep in mind when you're at the grocery, wandering up one aisle and down the next

Today's installment includes some of our go-to's.  My sincerest hope is they'll have you thinking beyond the usual (or maybe your usual with a few additions)

Apple Pecan Snack Cake - Warm apple cake from the oven is the flavor of fall. A delicate crumb & a buttermilk base, with a fraction of butter & sugar you'll find in most cakes

Raw fruits and veggies – Fruit comes pre-packed by nature.  Veggies are convenient and filling (because of their high fiber content), are easy to digest, and lower in calories.

Dipping ideas?  Hummus (homemade or store-bought), or fruit dip made with yogurt + nut butter.  It's also easy to make your own veggie dip by adding fresh herbs (think dill, parsley or basil), lemon juice to yogurt.  Don't forget dressings; there are some great ones out there made from whole foods such as Cindy's Kitchen or Amy's Naturals

Veggie Tostada – It's hard to go wrong with black beans + veggies.

Hard-boiled eggs – Either on their own, or made into deviled eggs  (greek yogurt instead of mayo)

Energy Bites – Peanut Butter Protein Balls and Cacao Maca Energy Bites

Salsa(homemade is best) with Organic blue corn tortilla chips, fresh veggie sticks, or crackers such as Mary's Gone Crackers

Half an avocado – on toast (with bread such as Udi's Millet + Chia or Food For Life), or with 1/2 cup cottage cheese

Popcorn – Preferably the kind made on the stove-top with coconut oil, and lightly salted (or unsalted).  An entire cup is a serving, so it's one you can enjoy and feel satisfied longer.  Sprinkle with nutritional yeast for a cheesy taste

Sprouted corn tortilla wrap with –  Banana + nut butter, or turkey slices + 1/4 avocado, or toasted with 1/2 avocado + lettuce + tomato

Cottage cheese .. with 1/2 cup pineapple chunks, or with a dash of cinnamon, or simply on its own  (note:  cottage cheese tends to be high in sodium) 

"Lift me up Pappa - see the one wayyyy up there?"

“Lift me up Pappa – see the one wayyyy up there?”

Strawberries (halved) + soft goat cheese

Chia pudding

Coconut chips

Stuffed Dates

String cheese, either with apple slices or 1/4 cup marinara sauce

Tuna + crackers

Roasted chickpeas

Nori or Sea Snax

Tea Bags  (for when you're not hungry, but want something comforting)

Often times the best (and most balanced) snacks are those that started as full meals.  A few ideas?

Half of a sandwich or a plate of leftovers from the night before.

A chicken + veggie pita made in the am can be split in half for a couple of snacks throughout the day.

Apple Pecan Snack Cake - Warm apple cake from the oven is the flavor of fall. A delicate crumb & a buttermilk base, with a fraction of butter & sugar you'll find in most cakes


The Freezer is your friend

“If it's frozen they last longer in your mouth and it takes longer for them to defrost, so the flavor lasts longer.  It's an easier way to eat it, and you don't need quite so much”  ~ Giada 

Banana soft-serve ice cream

Frozen grapes – eat them while they're still icy (they taste like sorbet bites)

Banana + Nut Butter – wrapped in plastic and frozen for a few hours

Fruit pops – Fruit pureed in a blender, frozen into an ice-cube tray, with a wooden stick in the middle

Sugar-free chocolate chips, or some really great dark chocolate (a small square is surprisingly satisfying)

Apple Picking with Eli

Apple Picking with Eli

Ideas for Kids

Have some fun(!)  Cut, slice, and style fruits and veggies on their plate in a way that will make them smile.  Better yet .. let them help

Classic “Ants on a Log” – Nut butter spread onto a celery stick and topped with raisins

“Finger fruits” like grapes, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and cherry tomatoes, arranged into smiley faces on their plate

Dried fruits (without added sugar) – For example banana chips or dried apple rings

Dehydrated fruit leather

Homemade apple sauce

Smoothies – A great idea no matter your age(!)   When it comes to kids, they're an easy way to sneak in veggies, and it's fun to name them.  The Hulk .. The Superman .. Berry Blast .. Pink Princess, etc

Next time, tips for snacking when you're away from home

I wuv you too Sweetie .. so very very much

I wuv you too Sweetie .. so very very much

This past weekend an apple-picking date with my oldest grandson, Eli.

The day picture-perfect as we wandered up and down the rows looking for just the right ones. “Green Grandma, green is the best” .. “Does Z eat apples?” .. “Why not?” .. “What if I have to go potty?” .. “Papa, can we stop for pink ice cream?”

Fall is the best time of year for a simple yet delicious apple snack cake.

As readers of the site will attest, I'm not one for cakes that are fussy or pretentious.  A buttermilk base, kiss of lemon, and just enough salt to keep things sophisticated, make this a go-to seasonal recipe.

The kind of cake you can throw together on the fly using whatever berries or fruit are in season.

The whole wheat pastry flour delivers a pretty cake with a delicate crumb.  Buttermilk lends plenty of richness and flavor, which lets me use a fraction of the butter and sugar you'll find in many cakes

One of the hallmarks of the cake is the big sugar crystals strewn across the top, which get nice and crusty in the oven.  The cake itself isn't particularly sweet, the sweetness from the apples lets one keep the sugar elsewhere in the batter to a minimum



~ Adapted from The New York Times

Apple Pecan Snack Cake


  • 2 cups sweet, crisp red apples, cut into ¼ cubes (peel off or on for a fun confetti look)
  • 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • ½ cup natural sugar (or organic brown sugar)
  • ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
  • 2 eggs (large or XL)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted but not hot
  • ½ - ¾ cup chopped pecans (or nuts of your choice)
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp large grain natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)


  • Preheat the oven to 400° F
  • Butter and flour (or line bottom with parchment paper) one 9" square baking dish (or tart pan)
  • Chop the apples and place them in a bowl of water, along with the juice of one lemon. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  • In a separate and smaller bowl, whisk the eggs and the buttermilk.
  • Whisk in the melted butter.
  • Pour the buttermilk mixture over the flour mixture and stir until barely combined (be careful not to over-mix)
  • Drain the apples, shake off any excess water, and fold them into the cake batter.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, pushing it out toward the edges. Sprinkle with the large grain sugar.
  • Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until cake is just set and a touch golden on top.
  • (I like this cake every-so-slightly under-baked, just barely, remember it will cook for a little while after you remove it from the oven)
Serves: 12
Nutrition + Show
Calories 288
Total Fat 10g
Saturated Fat 3.6g
Carbohydrates 44.5g
Fiber 6.2g
Sugars 13g
Protein 6.3g
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  • Reply Carrie October 4, 2016 at 2:26 am

    Thank you for the simple but yummy-sounding recipe. I have 3 buckets of apples I didn’t have a clue what to do with. =) I will be making this. I will have a slice with a cup of tea! Sounds heavenly. HUGS

  • Reply heydave October 4, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    5 stars
    Great cake!

    • Reply sexyveggie October 4, 2016 at 10:22 pm

      Thanks Sweetie!

  • Reply Maggie October 4, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I am having the same apple problem as well right now. Apples always get eaten last in our CSA because they keep the longest and now I have three different varieties from the last three weeks and CSA number four is coming tomorrow! Apple cake, here I come… 🙂

  • Reply Sibel October 5, 2016 at 7:54 am

    Apple Cake is one of my all-time favorite fall recipes! I tend to like cakes/breads that aren’t too sweet, and this one looks absolutely delicious! I am also intrigued by your use of buttermilk here. I’ll definitely be making it for my son!

    • Reply sexyveggie October 6, 2016 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Sibel .. He’ll love it 🙂

  • Reply Ali B October 5, 2016 at 9:18 am

    That looks incredible … I imagine that you could adapt this recipe earlier in the season and use rhubarb? What about using cranberries now?

  • Reply Alysa October 5, 2016 at 10:05 am

    Unfussy = Good. And apple cake is a nice alternative to pie, which I’m not terribly excited about. I am flush with apples right now — have made apple butter, cider, even a green tomato relish with apples. So this cake will be a real treat, plus I won’t need tongs to lift it out of the kettle of bubbling water…!

  • Reply Joanie October 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    What a lovely recipe for this time of year…..a slice of this cake, warm from the oven, and a mug of nice hot cocoa…….just the thing for a crisp autumn night!

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus October 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Ooh this sounds amazing I adore pecan but have never tried apple pecan snack cake before. It sounds incredible!

  • Reply Ana Ojha September 29, 2017 at 12:12 am

    I was looking for a cake recipe and I’m lucky to found another amazing cake recipe from your bucket! Can’t wait to try Apple Pecan Snack Cake this weekend! I’m sure my hubby is going to love it!

  • Reply Sommer October 1, 2017 at 3:51 am

    5 stars
    Looks yummy!
    With all those apples, you should try “Apple Salsa” made with Honey Crisp ….. sounds odd, but is absolutely delicious served with oven-dried pita chips.

  • Reply Julie October 10, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    This looks like it would make a great breakfast! I can smell the apples now… ☺️

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