Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing

Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing

My local market is still piled high with bunches of kale as big as umbrellas. Green kale, purple kale… great giant stalks of it beckon. I’ve used it in green smoothies, Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall’s amazing Kale and Mushroom Lasagne and even my Cinnamon Kale Chips. But I still can’t stop buying great heads of the stuff. Those huge crinkly leaves just scream, “Who cares that you wolfed down a big bar of dark chocolate and drank a whole bottle of Prosecco last night – you’re eating KALE!”

My mum is a huge convert to the green smoothies and is often seen wandering into town with a trendy jam jar of the vivid drink, like a walking Pinterest board. So, when it came time to make a vegetable cake for her birthday, it had to be kale.

The kale gives this cake such a bright green colour and the addition of applesauce means less oil needs to be used. This cake is naturally sweet without being too sugary and has moist texture, as vegetable cakes often do. For the icing, instead of the usual buttercream I beat the powdered sugar with applesauce and just a little butter to solidify it. The tangy sweet icing compliments the kale-packed cake well.

Kale and Apple Cake with Apple Icing
  • 200g (2 cups, packed) fresh kale leaves, woody stalk discarded
  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml (1/2 cup) rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100g (1/2 cup) applesauce
  • 175g (3/4 cup) sugar
  • 2 regular eating apples, peeled and grated
  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the Apple Icing
  • 250g (1 ¼ cups) powdered icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons smooth applesauce
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line 2 9” cake tins.
  2. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and boil or steam for a few minutes until tender. Refresh in cold water, drain and puree (it will still be a bit stringy). Set aside.
  3. Beat the eggs, oil, vanilla, applesauce and sugar together well. Beat in the kale puree and grated apple. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and gently combine.
  4. Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Cool for 2 minutes in the tins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the Apple Icing:
  1. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix until smooth.
  2. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Frost the cooled cake.
If you don't have applesauce, just peel, core and slice some apples, steam until soft and puree.

Kale Apple Cake with Apple Icing

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  1. says

    I too am a convert of Kale green smoothies, I’m having one every morning and it has completely cleared my skin of acne! I can’t wait to try this cake as a very healthy treat!

  2. says

    It looks stunning and so moist! Thanks so much for sharing with Tea Time Treats, could you please email me a photo for the round up as I seem to be unable to copy any of the images. Thank you!
    Janie x

  3. Kristen says

    I love your blog- its so wonderfully creative! So far I’ve looked at all your cake recipes and I think i’ll make it a goal of mine to make each of them, they look great :)

  4. says

    Intrigued by the concept of a green cake. I would never have thought of using kale in this way. However, have tried courgette cake and you are right about vegetable based cakes being moist so I intend to be brave and to give this one a go. Lovely pictures. Dropping in from #recipeoftheweek.

  5. Brittany says

    Cool! I googled veggie desserts and this amazing website came up. Do you substitute agave or something else for sugar? I want to try to eliminate refined white sugar from my baking but I’m no expert in how to adjust recipes for this

    • says

      Hi Brittany. I’m so glad you like the site. This is quite a ‘wet’ recipe already, so I’d substitute the sugar for 1/2 cup agave and add an extra 1/4 cup of flour. I hope that works, please let me know.

      • Brittany says

        It turned out well. I diced the apples instead of grating them, which I think I like better. It wasn’t too sweet since I went without the icing but I enjoyed it. I think that next time I will try to do it with pears instead

  6. says

    Genius. Kale & Apple Cake, now I’d never have thought of that but what a great idea and so pretty too! I always seem to have a surplus of kale from my weekly veg boxes, so it’s good to have a few ideas up my sleeve. I really really MUST try a green smoothie too, would be such a fab start to a day. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your blog by the way and shall make every effort to drop by more often :))

    • says

      Thanks Louisa! So nice coming from a fellow veg-obsessive! Seriously, get on the green smoothie train. You can’t even taste it and you feel so invigorated after drinking it. Then put the rest of the kale in cake! Yum!

  7. says

    Can’t get over how beautiful this is. And sound so yummy. Thanks so much for joining in with #recipeoftheweek. I’ve Pinned and Tweeted this post and there’s a fresh linky live now for this week. Hope you can join in! x

  8. says

    Looking forward to trying this out!! In the process of converting to green smoothies now with my daughter who has strict dietary needs! This will be a fun treat for her after some minor gluten and sugar adjustments!

    Can I just say it’s seriously impressive that you reply to all these comments? Thank you for making time for the personal touch!!

    • says

      Thanks Jami! If someone takes the time to comment, the least I can do is reply!
      I hope you and your daughter like the cake. We love green smoothies in this house and any way of getting leafy greens has to be good.
      Let me know how you get on with the adjustments as I get a lot of comments from people with other dietary needs and it would be of use to them.
      Enjoy! :)

  9. Megan says

    Greetings from Maryland, USA. I made this cake (slightly adapted) for a breakfast on Saturday. It was fun to keep people guessing as to why it was green. Needless to say, the cake received lots of compliments and there was none left. The adaptations: baked in a single larger layer, added some millet for crunch, blended the kale stems as well and used less frosting as it was meant for breakfast. Several people asked where I found the recipe so I directed them to your blog.

  10. says

    This was great – and I entered it to a competition and won first prize! Thanks, guys! I stewed the apple (to make purée) with star anise and clove, which gave it an Autumny loveliness. Keep on baking!

    • says

      I haven’t made this cake vegan, but I’d assume that any of your usual egg substitutes in cake might work. I haven’t tried Ener-g, but flax egg usually works well. Please let me know what you try and how you get on as a lot of my readers are vegan.

  11. says

    Oh my goodness, this looks incredible! I love the colour. I will admit to letting several bags of bought-with-good-intentions kale go rotten but now I know what to do with it. Popping over from Tots100 StumbleWednesday – Feel free to add this to #Bakeoftheweek linky too x

  12. says

    I have never seen such a nice, soft cake with kale and apple, and awesome light icing.
    I would love to try, can you suggest any replacement for egg.
    Your blog is fantastic, visiting first time.


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