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Mom’s "Tupp" Apple Cardamom Cake

Apple Cardamom  Cake

Let’s talk winning tickets, shall we? First, my dear human random number generator, B., picked Brandy from Nutmeg Nanny to receive Nicole’s The Baking Bites Cookbook. Congrats! Send me a quick email and I’ll pass the info along. Now on to this cake…

I know I am going to jinx it. I just know it. Maybe if I whisper it very softly: It finally feels like Fall around here. Mostly in the wee hours of the morning when I can finally feel a chill in the air and a dry breeze through the marsh. Actually, not having a free day on the schedule until April means that the season has indeed changed. Drastic times call for drastic measures and I often turn the comfort of my mom’s apple cake during the Fall and holiday season. The one cake that earned her the affectionate name of Maman Tupp and the one we know as "Gateau Aux Pommes Tupp".

Apple Cake

I am pretty sure that most French people reading are familiar with the "Gateau aux Pommes 5-4-3-2-1" that the brand Tupperware® introduced during home demonstrations of their products. A very simple, very unassuming and particularly delicious appple cake, soft and moist all the way through. It was especially known for its creamy butter and sugar topping forming a tempting thin crust while baking. For years, I thought that was my favorite part of the cake. Now I know. Two slices with some creme fraiche is my favorite part!

When you are 5 or 6, saying that you would like the "Gateau 5-4-3-2-1" for "gouter" (4pm snack) is not only long but it does sound silly. However, it made it very easy to start baking with mom at an early age since the recipe went something like "5 spoons of flour, 4 spoons of sugar, 3 spoons of milk"…and so on. One bowl, one spoon, dry before wet, one apple, whip it all and bake.

Apple Cardamom Cakes

We made it so often in my family that it became much easier for everyone to call it the "Gateau Aux Pommes Tupp" (Tupp Apple Cake) and over the years to make it even shorter with a simple "Gateau Tupp". See, it works so much better to beg mom for it this way. This simple gateau became the one we would gather around during tea time on a cold and rainy day, the one that made any bad school day be forgotten in a few whisks of sugar. It solved a few arguments and mended broken hearts too.

Yes, my mom was a Tupperware® lady back in the 80s. She never played the sales game, but she loved to host parties for friends getting in the biz. That was her thing, the hosting. And the baking, the cooking, and passing around trays of items made with the brand’s products. Let’s face it mom, you also loved getting new stuff for the kitchen. To this day she is still very well stocked in containers, molds and measuring instruments of all sorts from the big T company.


It was very fortunate that my parents in law dropped off a basket full of apples from a recent visit to an orchard in North Carolina and I made a big dent in it baking a few of these cakes. In the end, the cakes are nothing like the original recipe. I made ours a tad less sweet and gluten free which is perfect here to keep the cakes moist, thus not following the original "5-4-3-2-1" formula. Then, there was the matter of the spoon measure called for in the original version. I don’t own such an instrument but I figured that since the company was American, a large spoon such as the one mom used had to be close to 1/4 cup. Yes, in this cake, precision to the gram has very little importance and that’s just what I need when swamped.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my daily slice…Or mini cake.

Apple Cake

Mom’s Tupp Apple Cake:

Notes: if you do not intend to make a gluten free cake, replace all the gluten free flours (rice, tapioca, sorghum) with 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour.
The cake bakes in two separate times: first for 10 minutes, the remove it from the oven to add the cream topping and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
I added cardamom just because it reminds me even more of my mom but you can skip that part or add cinnamon instead.

For the cake:
1/2 cup (80gr) sweet brown rice flour
1/4 cup (30gr) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (65gr) sorghum flour
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon (5gr) baking powder
3/4 cup (190ml) whole milk
1/3 cup (80ml) oil
1 egg
2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (I like Granny Smith but any kind will do here)

For the topping:
5 1/2 tablespoons(80gr) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100gr) sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray or butter the inside of a 9-inch round baking pan or several 3 to 4-inch baking pans if you want smaller cakes. Place them on a baking sheet and set aside.
In large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cardamom, salt and baking powder. Reserve. In another large bowl, whisk together the milk, oil and egg until just blended.
Slowly pour the liquids over the dry ingredients, whisking well to make sure that everything is well incorporated, about 40 to 50 strokes.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and arrange the apple slices on top in a circular pattern.

Prepare the topping:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla extract and whisk until smooth. Reserve

Bake the cake(s) in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the cake(s) from the oven and spread the creamy butter topping over the top(s). Bake an additional 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean.

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Dominique November 4, 2009 um 8:27 am

Ici aussi temps froid et pluvieux: ce gâteau est le bienvenu, accompagné d'une tasse de thé. Merci pour ces beles photos…

linda November 4, 2009 um 9:18 am

this is such a lovely post…your photography is amazing & so inspiring.
tartlette, on the mini "tupps" could you please share where you purchase the liners…thanks.

Nina Timm November 4, 2009 um 10:20 am

As usual stunning photography and lovely little tarts…..

enchocolatte November 4, 2009 um 10:54 am

I am very impressed by your work, as culinary and photography too! It`s very inspiring for my. I wish I could bake such pices of art like you do.
The photos are also beautiful and very artistic. Your compositions give a lot of pleasure to look and admire!
Thank you for impressions!
It,s a great pleasure to visit you blog and website Helen!
Keep inspiring!

Miss Giny November 4, 2009 um 11:47 am

Mmm oui accompagné d'un petit thé, je me vois bien croquer dedans !
Je vais essayer de traduire la recette en français ! 😉

Jessica November 4, 2009 um 11:49 am

I have SO many apples right now. I am going to try it this weekend. 🙂

Patricia Scarpin November 4, 2009 um 12:07 pm

By the looks of it I can say it will become a favorite of mine, Helen – I can't say no to baked goods made with apple, especially with that golden, yummy topping!

NKP November 4, 2009 um 12:49 pm

What sweet little cakes! It is definitely fall here – soon to be winter.
I also love that wicker basket – very nice!

Julia @Mélanger November 4, 2009 um 1:04 pm

Those cakes just look darling. I would have loved to grow up with the memory of these. Funny story about the name. 🙂

Joanna Goddard November 4, 2009 um 1:10 pm

this looks SO delicious (and beautiful).

Rosa's Yummy Yums November 4, 2009 um 1:13 pm

What lovely little cakes and clicks! Apples in baked goods, fantastic!



tasteofbeirut November 4, 2009 um 1:37 pm

quelle bonne recette! et les photos valent le détour!

MollyCookie November 4, 2009 um 1:57 pm

Those pictures are beautiful and the recipe looks delicious. I hope the fall weather stays around for a long, long time too.

El November 4, 2009 um 2:36 pm

It's lovely. I actually just found a recipe for this and was going to give it a try. (I suspect yours will be much better.) Your photos capture the moist, tender and tasty cake beautifully. I would love to have some with my tea right now!

Frenchie November 4, 2009 um 2:38 pm

When I was living in Italy last year, I went to Paris several times. After having my fair share of apple cakes in both places, I couldn't help but wonder what the Europeans had figured out about apple cake that we hadn't gotten to yet. Although I still haven't figured out the answer to that, I am hoping that making this cake will be a step towards a solution.

On another note, Helen, when you use those baking cups do they hold themselves of in the oven? Or like muffin cups do they need to go in a muffin tin. I am in a student apartment so bakeware is definitely lacking, if I could use paper cups like yours on a baking sheet, I think it would be the perfect solution. Thank you for your help!

Queen of Cuts November 4, 2009 um 2:38 pm

All I want to do is stay at home and bake your recipes. They look divine!

Dolce November 4, 2009 um 2:48 pm

Je ne connaissais pas la recette ! Mais c'est vrai que c'est facile pour un gateau de derniere minute. Merci 🙂

Half Baked November 4, 2009 um 3:13 pm

I live in the South as well and Fall has finally (sort of) come here too! Well the temps are in the mid 70's but…anyway I get inspired to bake when the temps fall and these apple cakes look like the perfect fall dessert!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking November 4, 2009 um 3:41 pm

We're close in location (I'm in NC) and I know what you mean! My leaves just changed! I had one week with a beautiful, bright yellow tree to use as a backdrop for my photos . . . and then the leaves were gone. Oh well! 🙂

This cake sounds so delicious and lovely. Can't wait to try it!

Manggy November 4, 2009 um 4:07 pm

I didn't even know that tupperware made bakeware (or did they just make the mixing bowls and stuff? 🙂 but that is a cute story and I love that your mum even got a nickname out of it- I'm sure she prided herself on her awesome parties! And how could they not be a hit, especially with those delicious cakes, huh? 🙂

sandhya November 4, 2009 um 4:13 pm

the cake looks so moist… u r pics are amazing.

TheBellaLife November 4, 2009 um 4:37 pm

Yum Yum yummy Yum! I need to get to cooking!


Anonymous November 4, 2009 um 6:02 pm

Your cute mini apple cakes and your photographs look utterly beautiful!!!!

Bethie November 4, 2009 um 7:53 pm

Cakes, photographs, gorgeous….

matt November 4, 2009 um 7:58 pm

great looking recipe, and incredible photo's as usual. glad to see GF 🙂

sunita November 4, 2009 um 8:07 pm

What a delicious cake that is Helen! Such talented ladies in your family 🙂

French Cooking for Dummies November 4, 2009 um 8:28 pm

My mom was a big Tupperware® fan back in the 80's as well. It had to be a French thing for what I see 😉 I had totally forgotten about the "Gateau aux Pommes 5-4-3-2-1"… You brought me back so many memories! Thanks for this post, I really enjoyed it 🙂

Nurit – familyfriendlyfood November 4, 2009 um 8:38 pm

Cardamom is like a magic word for me. I'll try any recipe with it in.

Barbara November 4, 2009 um 8:51 pm

As always Helene your food and recipes are brilliant. I love the little tart cases. I Haven't seen them around here. I'm baking with apples today.

Anita November 4, 2009 um 9:12 pm

Oh… the second bake sounds like it would do wonders… I must try this! I love my Tupperware too 😛

Nutmeg Nanny November 4, 2009 um 10:23 pm

Oh my goodness…I won! I can't believe it! You have no idea how happy I am:) I will be emailing right after I write this!

Also your apple cake looks great. I really liked the combination of apple and cardamon. Yum!

Alexandra November 4, 2009 um 10:37 pm

Perfect timing! I recently made an apple pear crisp and added cardamom, I loved it! I wondered how it would turn out with the same apple/cardamom combo in a cake…you rode my wave!

Cakelaw November 4, 2009 um 11:33 pm

What a delicious looking cake – I adore apple cakes. I love Tupperware, but funnily enough hate the parties! Luckily it is easy enough to buy these days through agents without attending the parties.

linda November 5, 2009 um 12:02 am

thank you helen for the kk info. 🙂

Jo November 5, 2009 um 12:47 am

Delicious looking mini cakes and the pictures are briliant as usual. There is something about baking with apples that gives me this warm comforty feeling … like your fav fleesh blanket! Is it just me or what?

Sara November 5, 2009 um 2:32 am

Thank you for this recipe – I made it for dinner tonight, after coming home in the twilight. It made a lovely end to our meal. I love discovering new apple recipes, AND I adore cardamom, so this was a doubly good find!

Lori November 5, 2009 um 3:04 am

A very nice recipe and since I am swimming in apples, I could so make this.

Madame Sucre November 5, 2009 um 7:13 am

this is heavenly!! I have a bunch of apples waiting to be used .. better use em this way:)

ChefDruck November 5, 2009 um 3:34 pm

I grew up in France and I missed the Gateau 5,4,3,2,1 but I'm now intrigued, and can't wait to try it!

As usual, your photography sets such a beautiful tone for the post and really inspire me.

Thank you!

Barbara November 5, 2009 um 6:16 pm

Such adorable, delicious and feminine tarts! And your photography is beautiful- as it always is.

Joy November 5, 2009 um 9:33 pm

I absolutely love your photos, I often visit for inspiration. Your use of colors and textures is just incredible — its as if I can almost smell and taste the food. Also, I love cardamom! It is such a wonderful spice that I think few people have explored. Great post, thanks for sharing 🙂

Simones Kitchen November 5, 2009 um 10:09 pm

Well it has certainly become autumn full blown here!! It's been pouring rain all day long including the accompanying storm. But I love autumn and even the storm and the rain have a special feeling to it (as long as I can stay indoors!) Love these apple cakes!

Unknown November 5, 2009 um 11:26 pm

I love this recipe. Do you think I could make it in an 11" tart pan instead? Or will the sides be too short? What do you think?

Helene November 6, 2009 um 12:10 am

Nikki: a 9-inch cake pan would work best, a springform pan also. If you use a tart pan, make sure the sides are at least close to 2 inches high.

Lauren November 6, 2009 um 2:11 am

I'm getting lost in your photos. Dreaming of perfect light and gorgeous apples! Everything looks fantastic =D.

Wendy November 6, 2009 um 3:08 am

How lovely that sounds! I think I'll head into the kitchen and make some right now – I have a box of apples waiting for some attention, and that looks like just what I want right now 🙂

Katie November 6, 2009 um 8:32 am

They sound divine. I love the flavour of apple and cardomom together.

nikole November 6, 2009 um 9:40 pm

oh, that little acorn is perfect matched to the speckles on the eggs.

cookingprincess November 8, 2009 um 11:12 pm

So yummy!! I just made this yesterday to help me pretend it is fall even though it is still in the 80's in AZ.

anna November 9, 2009 um 1:11 am

That looks so good! The mini cakes are really cute, too. I can't believe I haven't gotten around to baking anything with apples yet!

Unknown November 9, 2009 um 3:09 am

Wonderful! Just made this and its fabulous–I didn't have a cake tin so I made it in a pie plate and it had a delicious crust. MMMMmmm. I love that it was made just to be good, not gluten free first (we're a gluten free household).

Tomate Basilic November 10, 2009 um 7:13 am

Delicious! I made the apple cake and everyone, from my children to my husband, loved it. Bravo! et merci pour la recette.

Ann November 10, 2009 um 3:46 pm

I just about burst into tears to see that this is already gluten free. This has been a long fall for me–all of my childhood favorites made their appearances now–and so many of them remain unconverted to my new diet!

So thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me a lift today. I will make this tonight!

Y November 11, 2009 um 10:11 am

What a great name for a cake! I was wondering about it's original, and of course, it makes sense. My mom was a big Tupperware fanatic, and really, they're a great product because she still has the original ones she bought and they're pretty much in perfect condition.

All About Food November 12, 2009 um 9:44 am

These photos are simply gorgeous.

Kristen November 12, 2009 um 8:15 pm

I've been reading your blog for a while, and I love the recipes. For some reason, this apple cake leapt out at me and I made it as soon as possible.

It was charming, delightful and simple to prepare. Thank you so much for this recipe and the many, many others you have posted.

kellypea November 14, 2009 um 8:03 am

Yes to apple anything! Sounds like a fabulous recipe Helen. Perfect for a cozy Sunday morning.

notts December 7, 2009 um 9:33 pm


I made this and brought to work… everybody loved it. I have been asked to make it again… lovely lovely recipe… thank you. You have made a lot of people happy!!!

Kiss Attila January 3, 2010 um 12:09 pm

Dear Helen,
it is the first real present of the new year to find your blog.The very first impression is that I love your English, your thoughts, your style.
Reading your lines makes me feel myself in a warm, loving family,scented by spices and cakes.
Last night I planned to prepare some apple strudel for lunch,but I found your recipe and changed my mind. This apple cake was an absolute hit for us,My little daughter almost started to cry not to send a slice to her friend,because she wants to eat all. Anyway,I did not have cardamom at home,so I used cinnamon.It was perfect!Thank you for the recipe, I will keep it to make my beloved happy.
Best wishes from Hungary,

emily S March 21, 2010 um 4:19 pm

So easy and yummy! I just made this and it was great!

Being in Belarus it's kind of hard to find simple but delish recipes, but this is one.

I used cardamom and cinnamon (about 1/2 tsp of each) and the combo was great. I loved the somewhat "puddingy" feel of the cake while still being cakey…. : )


Joudie's Mood Food April 30, 2010 um 10:18 pm

I just made this cake for my clients and they loved it. I ate a peice aswell and i have to say that it was delicious. What a lovely recipe. Simple and perfect. I used all purpose flour and cinnamon instead as i didnt have cardomam powder. DIVINE!!!!

sanju October 28, 2010 um 5:46 am

Hi Helene,
I want to make this cake without egg. Can you suggest any replacement for egg.

Helene October 28, 2010 um 1:58 pm

Sanju: I am sorry but I have no experience with egg replacement in recipes. You might want to try a broad google search for that.

sanju October 28, 2010 um 9:46 pm

Hi Helene,
Thanks for your reply. I have used condensed milk in cake and milk in topping in place of egg and it came out very well.

Thank you for a nice recipe.

Unknown January 25, 2011 um 8:12 pm

I love your recipes. They made for a great gift giving season, especially your macarons.
I'm excited to make this recipe for my German friend, who loves everything that has to do with apples.
For this recipe (and baking in general) what kind of oil do you like to use? I suppose Canola is the failsafe, but have you used any other oils successfully? What about coconut oil? Thanks!

sylvia April 5, 2011 um 8:02 pm

Hélène, I had a craving for something apple-y last night and thought this would be perfect.

It was exactly as promised: moist, delicious, and simple. I had to throw on the broiler for a few moments to brown the top in my old oven, but otherwise the recipe was spot-on.

We may or may not have eaten half in one sitting. Ahem.

Thank you for sharing!

Sehaj Sethi April 18, 2011 um 11:26 pm

This apple cake reminds me of my favorite apple pie. Brown Bag Apple Pie, which I THOUGHT was my favorite apple dessert, but oh man. This tops it. The sinful crust, the delicate taste of cardamom mixed with apples…yeah it's almost impossible to not eat almost the entire cake in one sitting.

My only problem is, for some reason my crust went soggy by the next morning. Admittedly, I had underbaked, so I'm wondering if the residual moisture in the cake had creeped into the top. Will bake more next time, and perhaps use a spring form pan. Still, an absolutely lovely cake. Thanks so much!

sarah samps August 18, 2011 um 9:22 am

You are one talented lady! Thanks so much for your beautiful and inspiring photos. I try to make GF where possible and you are now my 'go to' person for GF baking. I made your apple tea cake today and it was DELICIOUS!! Thanks so much – Sarah from Australia xo

DinghyB July 24, 2015 um 4:47 am

This looks amazing! I would like to make this for a friend of mine with multiple food allergies. Do you know if substituting palm sugar for the regular sugar will work?

Helene July 26, 2015 um 3:46 pm

Dinghy B: I think it will work fine. Thank you!

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