Packed with fall flavor, this Fresh Apple Cake is topped with a simple powdered sugar glaze. It’s made in a 9×13-inch pan, so there’s no layering or assembly required!
My blog may be named after my favorite fall ingredient (pumpkin!), but I eat my fair share of apple desserts as well. From baked apples to apple oatmeal cookies to apple dump cake, I go crazy for apple desserts once the weather starts to cool down.
This fresh apple cake is my latest obsession. Dark brown sugar sweetens the cake and adds a slight caramel flavor to the batter, while apple pie spice packs in the fall flavor.
Even better, the shredded apple and buttermilk in the batter make for an ultra moist apple cake every single time!
I made a simple glaze for the apple cake in lieu of frosting. When the cake itself tastes this good, you don’t want to cover it up!
Ingredients in Fresh Apple Cake
This is such an easy apple cake recipe. The only special ingredient you need is buttermilk, but I bet you have everything else on hand already!
Here’s what goes into the fresh apple cake:
- Unsalted butter
- Dark brown sugar
- Vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- All-purpose flour
- Baking soda and baking powder
- Apple pie spice
To make the glaze for the apple cake, you’ll need:
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla bean paste (or extract)
How to Make Fresh Apple Cake
I love that this fresh apple cake recipe is made in a 9×13-inch pan. It’s much easier to transport and there’s no assembly required!
Here’s a look at how the cake recipe comes together:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until fluffy.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, apple pie spice, baking soda, and salt.
Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, alternating with the buttermilk, beating until just combined after each addition.
Gently stir in shredded apple.
Pour batter into prepared pan and arrange apple slices over top of batter.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out mostly clean.
Once the cake has cooled completely, top with glaze.
How Long Does Apple Cake Last?
Leftover apple cake will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days. It can also be frozen for up to three months without the glaze.
What Are the Best Apples for Apple Cake?
I recommend using Granny Smith or Gala apples to make this recipe.
Can This Be Made Into a Layer Cake?
I’ve only made this easy apple cake recipe in a 9×13-inch pan, so I can’t say for sure. However, my gut says no. The cake is quite hearty and I don’t think it’d stack well.
Tips for the Best Apple Cake
- I made this easy apple cake with fresh apples that I peeled first. You could probably get away with not peeling them, but sometimes the skin becomes chewy after being baked.
- For more of a coffee cake vibe, omit the powdered sugar glaze and dust the cake with plain powdered sugar instead.
- You must let the cake cool completely before adding the glaze. If you try to glaze the warm cake, the glaze will melt straight into the cake.
Looking for More Fall Cake Recipes?
- Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Dump Cake
- Apple Coffee Cake
- Pumpkin Spice Cake
- Pumpkin Crumb Cake
- Pumpkin Icebox Cake
Glazed Fresh Apple Cake
- ¾ cup unsalted butter softened
- 1½ cups packed dark brown sugar
- 1⅓ teaspoons vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1½ teaspoons apple pie spice
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1¼ cups whole buttermilk
- 2 cups peeled and shredded apple (about 2 large apples; Gala or honey crisp work well)
- 11 (¼-inch thick) crosswise slices of apple (to top cake with)
- ¾ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk, any kind (I used 2%)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with a hand mixer or stand mixer with fitted paddle attachment at medium speed until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, apple pie spice, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer of low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating until just combined after each addition.
- Gently stir in shredded apple. Pour batter into prepared pan and arrange apple slices over top of batter.
- Bake for about 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out mostly clean. Let cool completely in pan.
- To make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake. Garnish with apple pie spice, if desired.
- Recipe adapted from 13x9 Cakes Magazine - 2019