New This Month

Four-Layer Appalachian Stack Cake


In Kentucky and its environs, this dessert once served as a wedding cake; neighbors and friends might have each brought a layer, and the hosts would add the filling. We plumped up dried apples in cider and tucked them between layers of clove- and ginger-spiced molasses cake.

  • Servings: 10

Source: Martha Stewart Living, November 2005


  • 5 cups dried apples (about 3/4 pound)
  • 5 cups apple cider
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
  • 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Bring apples and cider to a boil in a large pot. Reduce to a simmer; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften and liquid has reduced, 40 to 50 minutes. Add 1 cup water; cook, mashing apples slightly, until liquid has reduced, about 10 minutes. Add 2/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup water; simmer until apples are very soft and coated in syrup, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with flour; tap out excess. Set aside.

  3. Put butter and the remaining cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; mix in egg, molasses, buttermilk, baking soda, flour, spices, and salt.

  4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean and tops spring back when lightly touched, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Run a knife around edges of pans to loosen; invert to unmold. Remove parchment; reinvert onto racks. Let cool.

  5. Using a long serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally. Place 1 bottom layer on a serving platter. Top with 1/3 of the apple mixture, spreading to edges. Stack 1 top layer on top of apples, and top with another 1/3 of the apple mixture. Repeat with remaining cake bottom and apples, and top with remaining cake top. Let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour before serving. Sift confectioners' sugar over top of cake.

Reviews Add a comment

  • beach-b0und
    22 NOV, 2014
    I'm not a big fan of cooked apples, so I've made this recipe with vanilla whipped cream layers instead, and blackberries on top. Fantastic. Next time I'll halve the recipe and slice the layers twice as thin since whipped cream isn't so great at holding things up.
  • glorybees7
    5 JAN, 2013
    This looks awesome. I think I will try it in cupcake form and downsizing the apple pieces. I think it will be easier as individual servings rather than trying to cut this one big one.
  • Uther
    15 AUG, 2010
    I am from KY, and yes my mother would make this cake. Back then we would dry the apples in the sun outside. They were so good for making this cake and fryed pies. Oh so good.
  • marilynann
    11 JAN, 2010
    This is the best cake. It is very moist and delicious. The only thing I changed was to add apple butter for the filling,only because I didnt have the other ingredients.My family loved it.