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closeup of fresh apple cake recipe with brown butter buttercream on grey plate

Fresh Apple Cake

Perfectly spiced cake with chunks of fresh apple. Frosted with brown butter cream cheese and a drizzle of caramel sauce! The perfect cake for fall!
5 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Serves: 24 servings
Calories: 425kcal


Apple Cake Recipe

  • 1/2 lemon lemon juice squeezed over chopped apples to prevent browning
  • 3 or 4 medium honeycrisp apples chopped in 1/4 inch pieces
  • 2 medium apples (optional) cut in wedges for decoration
  • 10 ounces cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
  • 10 ounces granulated sugar
  • 3 ounces vegetable oil
  • 1 whole egg room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces applesauce unsweetened

Brown Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces browned butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 20 ounces powdered sugar

Caramel Sauce Drip

  • 7 ounces granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces water
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • apple corer
  • Knife
  • Electric Stand Mixer
  • Three, 8" Cake Pans


Apple Cake Instructions

  • IMPORTANT: Make sure all your ingredients are at room temp (see notes at the bottom of the recipe) 
  • Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C)
  • Peel the apples and core them using an apple corer or a knife.
  • Cut the apples into 1/4 inch pieces and place into a bowl.
  • Squeeze 1/2 a lemon over the apples to prevent browning. Set aside
  • Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Set aside.
  • Add butter to a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and cream until smooth.
  • Add sugar and oil to the butter and cream on medium until the mixture is white and fluffy.
  • Add egg and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until combined.
  • While mixing on medium, add in dry ingredients in thirds and mix until combined
  • Fold in applesauce and chopped apples until combined
  • Grease three, 8 inch pans with cake goop or another type of pan release.
  • Bake layers at 350 for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Layers will be thin.
  • Let cake rest in the pan until it's cool enough to touch, then flip out onto a wire rack.
  • Make sure to cool completely before stacking. (Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge or freezer to speed up the cooling process.)

Brown butter frosting instructions

  • Place softened butter in the bowl of your stand mixer with the whisk attachment and mix until smooth.
  • Add in your cream cheese and mix until smooth
  • Add in your browned butter and mix until smooth and creamy
  • Add in your powdered sugar one cup at a time while mixing on low until all the powdered sugar is added. Do not over-mix.
  • Add in your salt and vanilla until combined.

Caramel Drip

  • Place sugar and water in a medium-sized pot. Cover with the lid and bring to a boil on medium-high heat.
  • Remove lid and place a candy thermometer in the pot. Continue cooking the sugar until thermometer reads 350º (hard crack stage) or it's a deep golden brown color. Do not stir.
  • Remove the sugar from heat and slowly whisk in butter. Be careful, it will bubble up.
  • Whisk in cream and salt.
  • Let caramel cool completely before using it for the drip


Recipe Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
1. Bring all your ingredients to room temperature or even a little warm (eggs, buttermilk, butter, etc) to ensure your batter does not break or curdle. 
2. Use a scale to weigh your ingredients (including liquids) unless otherwise instructed (Tablespoons, teaspoons, pinch etc). Metric measurements are available in the recipe card. Scaled ingredients are much more accurate than using cups and help ensure the success of your recipe. 
3. Practice Mise en Place (everything in it's place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
4. Chill your cakes before frosting and filling. You can cover a frosted and chilled cake in fondant if you wish. This cake is also great for stacking. I always keep my cakes chilled in the refrigerator before delivery for easy transporting. 
5. If the recipe calls for specific ingredients like cake flour, replacing it with all purpose flour and cornstarch is not recommended unless specified in the recipe that it’s ok. Substituting ingredients may cause this recipe to fail. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 425kcal (21%) | Carbohydrates: 54g (18%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 23g (35%) | Saturated Fat: 15g (75%) | Cholesterol: 55mg (18%) | Sodium: 178mg (7%) | Potassium: 38mg (1%) | Fiber: 1g (4%) | Sugar: 44g (49%) | Vitamin A: 642IU (13%) | Vitamin C: 1mg (1%) | Calcium: 20mg (2%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)