Apple cake DSC8664

Apple cake

A year ago, I was diagnosed with thyroid disease. Usually when you’re told you have an incurable ailment, it’s cause for concern. But learning my thyroid wasn’t working was actually a relief. See, for several years, I’d been gaining weight and had lost most of my energy. It was frustrating, as no matter how much I dieted my clothes no longer fit and I couldn’t find the energy to get up off the couch.

This sluggishness was both strange and depressing. But I just assumed it was simply part of getting old and it was time to settle into a heavier, slower life. So when I learned that my thyroid was the culprit, it was very good news. And after hearing that all I needed to do was take a pill every day to keep my thyroid running, I was over the moon.

Now, I can sometimes be a little dramatic. When I told my family and friends that if I didn’t take my thyroid pill every day I would die, I discovered that having hypothyroidism is quite common and many people were in the same situation. Of course, they all thought I was being ridiculous with my dire proclamations, so I soon decided to keep quiet about the whole thing.

Apple cake | Homesick Texan

That said, as my energy returned I began to question if I was on the correct path. I felt like I’d been given a new lease on life and that perhaps I should make some changes. So I went to the hairdresser and got bangs for the first time since I was a kid. I also bought some skinny jeans, a style I swore I’d never wear. And despite my better instincts, I decided to help some people open a Tex-Mex restaurant in NYC.

Well, I soon discovered there was a reason why I had stopped getting bangs. And the restaurant turned out to be wrong for me, too. So I’ve grown out my hair and I’ve left the restaurant. (But I am keeping the skinny jeans as I love how they fit!)

In any case, it’s been a tough yet educational year. There are no villains in this story and I’m not writing this to speak ill of anyone. And I don’t regret the choices I made or the risks I took, though I have learned you should always listen to your instincts—they do know best. I’ve also realized that there’s nothing like being away from something you love to re-affirm just how much you care.

Indeed, my true joy has always been cooking at home and sharing what I create with others. And this blog and my books have been an excellent forum for doing just that. At the moment, I’ve been working on a ton of new recipes, though I haven’t figured out quite what to do with them yet. But while I decide what’s next, I wanted to share with you a recipe from my second cookbook, The Homesick Texan’s Family Table.

One of my favorite recipes in the collection is this simple apple cake, something that my grandma bakes often this time of year. I realize there are many recipes for apple cake in existence. Heck, in my file of old family recipes I have at least five! This one, however, just may be my favorite, with its abundance of juicy apples and crunchy pecans gently nestled into a cake both tender and crisp. As one friend remarked, it’s as if you combined apple cake with apple pie.

Apple cake | Homesick Texan

The best thing about this cake, however, is how well suited it is for sharing. It’s not too fancy, so a slice is welcome when friends stop by for a causal visit. It also travels well if you’re headed to a potluck or simply want to give something sweet to someone you love. And as my grandma shared it with me, I now share it with you.

4.80 from 5 votes

Apple cake

Servings 16
Author Lisa Fain


  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 pound about 3 baking apples, such as Braeburn, Granny Smith, or McIntosh, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4” dice
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease a 9×13 pan or a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
  • In a large bowl, stir by hand the oil, melted butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in the apple and pecans. Add the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon to the bowl, and then stir until combined. Please note that this is a very thick batter, in fact it’s more like a cookie batter. And while it may seem like it’s unable to contain the apples, don’t worry, it will be fine.
  • Spoon the batter into the baking pan or skillet, patting down the top so it’s even. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top is lightly browned and an inserted knife comes out clean.


This recipe can easily be halved. If you choose to do so, bake in an 8×8 pan or an 8-inch cast-iron skillet, and reduce the baking time by 5 minutes.

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4.80 from 5 votes (4 ratings without comment)

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  1. Lisa, I struggle with hormonal issues myself, and they are vexing until you get the right help. I'm sorry the restaurant didn't work out for you, but hopefully this means we'll see lots more of you here. Cheers to home cooking!

  2. Happy to hear you are well and enjoying those skinny jeans! This cake recipe is wonderful-I made it this morning for my book club. Before leaving Texas this fall, I stocked up on pecans from a farmer east of Austin. My Michhigan friends enjoyed their taste of Texas!

  3. I find it really interesting how many people I know have thyroid disorder. It seems to have grown lately (or maybe, like other diseases/disorders, we're just paying more attention) though I know my own issues stem from my pregnancies.

    I'm glad you're following your instincts, as hard as that can sometimes be. Sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to have everything lined up and perfect at 35, so the constant struggle with figuring out what I'm actually GOOD at is frustrating and depressing. It's nice to hear that for some of us we just keep evolving.

  4. gringosinargentina says:

    Wow…I just found out I have hypothyroidism about 3 weeks ago. Similar to you, I figured it was age that was causing my exhaustion, weight gain and foggy brain. AM happy to find out that is actually due to "something"! However, my head is still spinning on what to believe when I read about the condition…the internet can be a scary place when it come to health conditions. Wondering if you could answer two questions for me: 1) what have you found to be good resources for learning more about hypothyroidism? and 2) How long did it take for you to notice you were feeling better? (I am not seeing any changes yet and am a bit discouraged)

    Thanks for the great apple cake recipe…can't wait to make it!

  5. Lisa Fain says:

    Italian girl cookies–Indeed there are!

    Pete–Hope everything is okay!

    Celeste–Cheers to home cooking, indeed!