This recipe, a favorite among my mom’s circle of friends, gets its name from the fact that the cake is very moist, baked in a brownie pan, and made to be cut into bars. But the texture is much lighter than that of real brownies, and the flavor is all fruit and cinnamon. This is such an easy recipe to make — a great standby for those days when you want a sweet treat without a lot of fuss, or when you remember at 9 p.m. that you volunteered to make dessert for tomorrow’s bakesale. Any firm-sweet apple variety, such as Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Pink Lady, or Jonagold will work here. 

This recipe is from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook by Amy Traverso (W.W. Norton, 2020).

Makes 12 bars   

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons salted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup  chopped walnuts
  • 2 large firm-sweet apples (about 1 pound total), peeled, cored, and cut into ½-inch cubes


1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and set a rack to the middle position. Generously grease an 11-inch x 7-inch baking dish. *

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer at high speed or using a hand-held mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, and egg until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the walnuts and apples and stir by hand until evenly combined. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and firm in the center, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes, then cut into 12 bars and transfer to a serving platter.

* Editor’s Note: We used a 9-inch x 11-inch Pyrex baking dish.


** Plate in photo crafted by Vineyard artisan Leslie Freeman.