The Secret Ingredient Is Love

I love to cook and bake for my family. I’m the first to admit I’m not very good at it, and there have been plenty of times nobody liked what I made for dinner, myself included. Nonetheless, it brings me great joy to feed them. When they tell me they like something, I ask, “You know what the secret ingredient is, right?” They all shout, “Love!” 

This Kirby family recipe for fresh apple cake dates back to 1977. My dad’s sister, Aunt Kay, shared it with my mama, who shared it with me. It is perfect for celebrations or everyday occasions. We hope you try it, and we hope your family enjoys it as much as ours does. Don’t forget to add a heaping teaspoon of love.

by Meredith Tredeau


• 2 large or 4 medium red delicious unpeeled apples
• 1½ -2 cups pecans
• 1¼ cup butter flavored oil, or 1 cup oil and ¼ cup melted butter
• 2 cups sugar
• 3 eggs
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
2. Chop apples and pecans and set aside.
3. Mix oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Set aside.
4. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
5. Reserve ½ cup of the flour mixture to coat apples and pecans.
6. Mix remaining flour mixture into oil mixture.
7. Sprinkle the reserved ½ cup of the flour mixture over apples and pecans and coat evenly.
8. Add the coated apples and nuts to the batter and mix well. Batter should be stiff/thick.
9. Bake for 2.5 hours (time may vary depending on your oven). Let cool and sit for 12 hours before cutting. (The longer it sits, the easier it is to slice)

We would like to say a special thank you to Kathy Kirby for baking the lovely cake on the cover of this issue of The NEWTON Community Magazine.

Previous slide
Next slide

Related Stories

Fight of His Life
Sick Days
Old Faithful


  1. Loved this article Mer. And to KK..the cake is beautiful. Such talent between mother and daughter. Love you both.

  2. Would love to see some articles and recipes on Gluten Free and Vegan. Love the magazine. Also are there any compassionate animal farms such as animal sanctuaries around Newton County? I would love to see these in a feature story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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