Apple Groaning Cake

Groaning cake is an ancient cake that carries folklore along with it. As tale and tradition would have it, the cake is meant to be prepared and consumed after the birth of a child. Some people even believe the scent of the cake baking in the oven helps labor symptoms or that cracking the eggs while in labor will make it go faster. Other than that, I don’t know too much about it so I won’t pretend that I do. Judging by the name, I’d say it has something to do with easing pains or being a source of comfort and I can vouch for that.

October is prime apple season here in Southern California. It’s a tradition of mine and my mother’s to drive up to the nearest mountain town during apple harvest and visit the many orchards and store-fronts. This year, we got to take my daughter for the first time, which made it extra-special. We always indulge in the cider donuts and taste the many different ciders and apples. Then, we take a couple bags of our favorite pick of the day for baking and enjoying at home. I’ve been using those apples for many things the past few weeks and this groaning cake was my favorite.

I found a recipe for groaning cake in a cookbook I flipped through while antique shopping. The book smelled and looked 100 years old or more. The recipes and housekeeping tips were just as old-timey. The recipe in the book listed orange juice, and I soon found out that it’s traditional. I decided to change things up a bit and used apple cider as the liquid, and I also made the cake gluten-free. I think you’ll find this recipe a delight, especially enjoyed with a cup of coffee or tea. Whether you’ve just given birth or not.

Photo: Rachael Bratene,


1 cup gluten-free oats
1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3 eggs
2 cups peeled and grated apples

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Generously grease a Bundt pan with butter or coconut oil; set aside.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

Pour cake batter into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until the center is tested with a toothpick and comes out clean.

  • Published on Nov 14, 2014
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