Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

  • Details
  • Related Items

This simple apple cake was baked by my great-grandmother on a wood stove over 100 years ago, and I’m happy to still be cooking it today. This recipe is timeless, rustic and highlights the flavors of both the apples and the spice. This old family recipe was one of the first that I adapted to experiment with the amazing world of spices and I’m thrilled to share it.


Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake


  • 1 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground Chinese Five Spice
  • 3 cups chopped apples
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix thoroughly.
  4. Fold in apples and nuts.
  5. Bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees in a greased 9" x 13" pan.

Tagged with:


  1. Corinne says:

    um … how much sugar?

  2. Kim says:

    I just made this and substituted Poudre Forte for the Chinese Five Spice. It might be the best apple cake I’ve ever eaten–the pepper makes a stunning complement to the sweet apples. What a simple, elegant recipe this is! Thank you!

  3. elena says:

    This really is a delicious apple spice cake! Thanks for sharing!!
    I cut back on the sugar (1 1/2 cups) and used 1 tablespoon five spice powder.
    regards from Greece ­čÖé

  4. Amanda says:

    Me and my dad made this cake today and it was the best cake EVER. we made a cream cheese frosting for the top and it is the most decadent spicy moist cake. I can’t wait to make this for Christmas! Thanks for the recipe.

  5. larry says:

    Could I use thus recipie for cupcakes ?

    • Sherrie says:

      You could. You would just have to adjust the baking time. (When you stick a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean, if the cake (or cupcakes) are done.)

  6. Dale says:

    I made roasted Butternut Squash tonight with Chinese 5 Spice and Maple Syrup and it was so good. I got to thinking about how this spice would be really good in an Apple Cake. I started researching and I found this recipe. I can not wait to make this. As a chef, I like to think outside the box. I’m thinking a Maple Spiced glaze would be ideal for this dense and moist style of cake. Thanks for the ideas and Happy Holidays!

  7. Heidi Davis says:

    I just had a slice:) I love the 5spice in this recipe! Much better than regular spice cake!

  8. mmm sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing. Simon

  9. Linda says:

    Added kiwi, and uses 1 cup Brown sugar and 1 cup stevia. Love the licorice taste!

  10. Lori says:

    I don’t like walnuts, but I would still like to use nuts. Would pecans be a tasty substitute? Or what other nuts might work well?

    • Sherrie says:

      Pecans would be delicious, as would pepitas (pumpkin seeds) or pistachios. Chopped or sliced almonds would be good, too!

      • Lori Ernst says:

        Pecans were absolutely delicious! I had a bunch of Chinese Five Spice to use up. I bought it for a recipe my kid wanted to make. Neither one of us really likes anise, but I didn’t check before I bought it. So I made this cake with pecans and cream cheese frosting. So delicious! My kid said it was the best cake I’ve ever made. We couldn’t stop eating it. And she still doesn’t know I used the Chinese Five Spice that we don’t like! Ha ha

Add a Comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Easy DIY: Spiced Hot Fudge Sauce

Want an easy DIY ┬áproject that you can take from start to finish in under an hour? This is your post. But beware! Once you start gifting this hot fudge sauce you won’t be able …

Havanese Pork Loin (with White Rice)

Cuba is a vibrant, bold and colorful country that is full of life. Fascinated by its people and their endlessly delicious home-cooked cuisine, friends Dan Goldberg and Andrea Kuhn have been visiting this hypnotic┬ácountry for …


Chinese Five Spice Plum Sauce

When life gives you plums, make plum sauce! And plum cardamom bread, but that’s another story. Plum sauce is a traditional complement for grilled meats in Asian cuisine and is a wonderful pairing with duck, …

World Spice at Home

World Spice at Home

Who says you have to make curry with curry? Not us! When my friend and mentor Julie Kramis Hearne approached me to co-author World Spice at Home, I was thrilled to accept. Julie’s book vision …

Chinese Five Spiced Apple Carrot Pie

Tender carrots are surprisingly sweet when baked in a brown sugar syrup, especially when united with perfect Washington apples and plump little raisin gems. The fresh ginger is a classic pairing with the carrot, and …