Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

Posted by on November 29, 2012

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.

4 Responses to Chinese Five Spice Apple Cake

  1. Corinne

    um … how much sugar?

  2. Kim

    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

    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 :)

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