Can I say it? I’m gonna say it. I’m over pumpkin.

I hopped off the pumpkin bandwagon a while ago (ugh, so counterculture, I know) just like I dodged the ubiquitous Brussels sprouts and quinoa trends. My pumpkin skepticism, though, has logic. What you all (y’all?) like about pumpkin something-or-others is not necessarily the earthy taste of a fleshy orange gourd… it’s the sugar and spice added in.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, maple, molasses — these autumnal, warm flavors pair well with way more than just pumpkin. So here is my theory manifested in the spiced apple torte, adapted from the minds at Food52. It’s like a hybrid apple cake and gingerbread, and it has way more depth than a measly pumpkin scone. Give it a shot. You and your PSL can still live happily ever after.

Spiced Apple Torte

  • Prep Time:30 minutes
  • Cook Time:1 hour
  • Total Time:1 hour 30 minutes
  • Servings:6-8
  • Advanced


  • 3-4 apples (I used Honeycrisp)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon or orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 3 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup whole fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1/4 cup candied ginger
  • Step 1

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 8” cake tin (or springform pan ideally, but work with what ya got). Line the bottom with parchment paper if you have it.

  • Step 2

    Core and peel the apples, then cut into thin slices.

  • Step 3

    Chop the candied ginger.

    #SpoonTip: You can find it at Trader Joe’s.

  • Step 4

    Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in saucepan and let it sit until it starts to brown. Stir in apple slices and cover with butter. Then stir in 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and the chopped candied ginger. Continue cooking until apples are softened and most of the liquid has evaporated.

    Photo by Nikki Freihofer
  • Step 5

    In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Set aside.

  • Step 6

    In a large bowl with a hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you’re lucky enough to own one), cream the butter and 3/4 cup sugar.

    #SpoonTip: If you are doing this by hand (which I discourage) you’ll need to whip for about 10 minutes until the butter and sugar are really incorporated and fluffy.

  • Step 7

    Then beat in two eggs. Beat in lemon/orange zest, molasses, rum, and vanilla extract (it’s ok if it looks curdled).

  • Step 8

    Stir in the flour mixture a little bit at a time until incorporated. Fold in the milk and yogurt until the batter is smooth and well combined.

    Photo by Nikki Freihofer
  • Step 9

    Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Cover that layer with the apple slices, then spread the rest of the batter on top. Sprinkle the walnuts and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar on top.

    Photo by Nikki Freihofer
  • Step 10

    Bake for 50-60 minutes until the top is browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool the cake for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Best eaten the day of.

    Photo by Nikki Freihofer