APPLE, WALNUT & LEMON CAKE + Streusel Topping Option

A visit to any produce market at the moment will be met with a selection of apples in different colours and varieties. I have shared before my appreciation for the older apple varieties, particularly for use in cooking. Varieties such as Cox’s Orange, Sturmer Pippin, Russets and Boskoop are among my favourites to look out for (of course there are many more). 

The flavour of heritage apples is more complex, often tarter than modern eating apples, and once cooked their flesh softens like a fluffy mousse. They are just wonderful to eat. Heritage apple trees can sometimes be found as wilding trees in public parks, or along river banks and roadsides (the margins). This is free fruit for all as long as you follow the rules of foraging – take a little for yourself and leave some for others. 

In Te Tauihu / Top of the South, we have a wonderful resource called the Nelson Marlborough Fruit Map. This is a comprehensive Google map to locate public fruit and nut trees around the region. I am sure there must be similar information for other areas. More and more I notice edibles being planted on public land – essentially free food for all. Get out and see what you can find in your hood, you might just come home with some edible treasures.  

More Apple recipes on Homegrown Kitchen:

Apple, Walnut & Lemon Cake

This cake has a foot in winter fare as we edge closer to the coldest season. With its denser texture using cooking apples and walnuts that both store well through the cold months. I used Sturmer-pippin apples which are some of my favourites for cooking for their sweet-tart taste. If using store-bought apples opt for the tarter Granny Smith or Braeburn. The aim is to use apples that will soften during cooking so the texture is similar to that of the cake crumb. Pear would also work well in this cake, in which case I would add a teaspoon of each mixed spice and ground ginger to spice it up. 
Servings 12
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes


  • 120 g room temp butter
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120g) natural yoghurt
  • 1 cup (150g) plain flour (can use gluten-free flour mix)
  • 1/2 cup (70g) wholemeal flour (or ground almonds for GF)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup (70g) walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 large cooking apples such as Granny Smith (about 300g), peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon


  • Preheat oven to 180C (fan 160C). Grease and line a 22cm round cake tin.
  • In a stand mixer or food processor cream the butter and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between additions, followed by the yoghurt.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts in a mixing bowl and use a whisk to combine. Place the apple pieces in another bowl and toss with the lemon zest and juice.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry and use a spatula to fold them together a few times then add the apples and mix briefly until just combined - don’t over-mix. Scoop the batter into the tin and smooth off the surface.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve slices of cake with a side of natural yoghurt. Store in a cake tin or container in the pantry and consume within 2 days.


In hindsight, this cake would also be wonderful with a streusel topping. If you wish to take this route, here is the mixture:
In a bowl combine 1/2 cup plain flour (or gluten-free), 1/2 cup rolled oats (or ground almonds for GF), 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 3 tbsp brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Roughly chop 50g butter then add to the mix and rub together. Scatter the streusel mix over the cake and cook as above. Check after 30 minutes and if the streusel is nicely coloured, cover the cake tin loosely with foil for the remaining cooking time. 

Join the Conversation

  1. Carol Houghton says:

    So many recipes use 22cm or 23cm cake tins. All mine are 20cm so how would I adjust the quantities for this delicious looking cake please?

    1. Hi Carol, a 20cm cake tin will be fine too. It will just be a taller cake and may need a little longer to ensure the crumb is cooked. Always check with a skewer and cook longer if needed. Enjoy

Leave a Reply

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

Nicola Galloway Homegrown Kitchen © Copyright 2023. All rights reserved.
error: Content is under copyright. Cannot be used without permission.