apple spice cake recipe

Breads & Muffins Seasonal

Apple Spice Cake

September 13, 2023

Move over pumpkin. It’s apples time to shine! This simple and delicious apple spice cake is everything you love about […]

sliced apple cake on baking sheet with knife for serving

Move over pumpkin. It’s apples time to shine! This simple and delicious apple spice cake is everything you love about Fall. Made with the perfect blend of warm spices and a double dose of apple flavor, this is the cake you’ll be snacking on all season long. Topped with a pretty cinnamon glaze, it’s perfect for breakfast, dessert and everything in between.

individual slices of frosted apple cake on parchment paper

Here’s why you’ll love this homemade apple cake:

Delicious apple spice flavor. The best of both worlds – spice cake and apple cake all in one!

The perfect texture. A light and fluffy crumb that stays soft for days.

Easy to make with simple ingredients. Stock up on your favorite apple cider and make this cake in under an hour with ingredients you already have in your pantry.

Make it for breakfast or dessert. So good you’ll want to snack on this cake all day long!

piece of apple spice cake with fork slicing into the corner

Ingredients

You won’t need any fancy ingredients to make this spiced apple cake. Here’s your shopping list:

  • Flour – regular all-purpose flour provides a sturdy base for this moist cake.
  • Butter – make sure the butter is softened to room temperature.
  • Sugar – granulated sugar and light brown sugar give the cake sweetness and texture.
  • Eggs – 3 whole eggs make this cake soft and tender. Like the butter, your eggs should be at room temperature.
  • Apples – instead of chopped apples, we’re using grated apples. Use any tart, crunchy apple you love. I use Honeycrisp.
  • Apple cider – the apple flavor in this cake really shines through thanks to a double dose of apple goodness. You can find apple cider, not to be confused with apple juice, in the juice aisle at your local market.
  • Baking powder – for best results, make sure to check the freshness date on your baking powder.
  • Spices – we’re using ground cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger – the trifecta of cozy Fall spices!
  • Vanilla – a splash of good quality vanilla extract is a must!

How to make apple spice cake

This easy loaf cake comes together quickly and is topped with a simple cinnamon glaze. I use a stand mixer but you can also use a handheld electric mixer. To make the cake, follow the step-by-step guide and check out the recipe card below for ingredients and detailed instructions.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Allow the sides of the parchment to hang over the edge of the pan for easy removal of the cake once baked. Set up your stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

Step 2: Cream together the butter and sugars on medium high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Step 3: Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until incorporated between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Step 4: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt in a medium bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture, alternating with the apple cider. Mix well on low speed between each addition. Begin and end with the dry ingredients.

Step 5: Be careful not to over mix. Stop mixing when a few streaks of flour remain. Remove the paddle attachment and use a large spatula to gently fold in the grated apples. Again, do not over mix.

Step 6: Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Bake in the center rack of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. If the loaf is browning too much towards the end of the baking cycle, use a large piece of aluminum foil to loosely tent the top of the pan.

Step 7: Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for about 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to carefully lift the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, drizzle the top with the cinnamon glaze.

how to make apple spice cake in a stand mixer

How to make cinnamon glaze

This is the part where I tell you that the cinnamon glaze is optional. But, I’d be lying. The glaze is ridiculously easy to make with just 3 ingredients and it pairs perfectly with the warm, cozy spices in the apple cake. Don’t skip the glaze…just trust me!

Step 1: Sift 1 cup (120 g) of powdered sugar into a medium bowl.

Step 2: Add about 4 to 5 tablespoons of heavy cream or whole milk and 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Whisk to combine well. The glaze should be smooth, but thin enough to drizzle. If the glaze is too thick, add more cream or milk. If too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Step 3: Once the cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top of the cake allowing it to run down the sides. Let the glaze set for about 15 minutes before slicing the cake.

whisking glaze in a bowl

Tips for the best apple cake

I’ve tested this cake over and over (and over) again to make sure it bakes up perfectly every time. Follow these tips and tricks for the best apple spice cake.

Use room temperature ingredients. Be sure to set your butter and eggs out ahead of time. Cold butter and eggs will not incorporate well with the other ingredients and it will throw off the texture of the cake.

Measure the flour correctly. This is the number one reason that cakes turn out dry. For accurate results, measure the flour with a kitchen scale like this one. If you do not have a scale, use the spoon and level method to make sure you aren’t adding too much flour to the batter.

Do not over bake. Keep an eye on your oven and only bake the cake until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining.

Cool completely before glazing. If the cake is too warm when you go to decorate it, the glaze will slide right off the top of the cake. For a picture perfect cake, cool the cake completely.

cinnamon glaze dripping over the sides of loaf cake resting on a baking sheet

How to store

If this cake makes it past noon at your house, I commend you! I can’t seem to save even a single slice of this delicious cake for dessert because we all love it so much for breakfast. If you do have a few slices left over, store them tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days. You may refrigerate it, but the cake will dry out more quickly.

To freeze the cake, I recommend doing so before adding the cinnamon glaze. Simply cool the cake completely and wrap in two layers of plastic wrap. Place the wrapped cake in a large freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature and add the glaze just before serving.

overhead view of sliced apple cake

Variations

I love, LOVE this cake just as the recipe calls for. But if you’re looking to make some swaps, here are a few delicious ideas:

  • Add a 1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts to the batter. Toast them first for extra flavor.
  • Drizzle the cake with warm salted caramel.
  • Smother a slice with your favorite homemade apple butter.
  • Skip the glaze and sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.
cross section of glazed spiced apple cake with crumbs falling on parchment paper

FAQ’s

Can I make this cake gluten free?

Absolutely. I tested this cake using King Arthur Baking Gluten Free Flour and it turned out great! Keep in mind that baked goods made with gluten free flour will have a slightly different taste and texture.

I don’t have apple cider. Can I use apple juice?

I don’t love cinnamon. Can I leave it out of the glaze?

Of course! Alternatively, you can add a splash of vanilla or a dollop of vanilla bean paste. Or just make a plain glaze if you prefer.

What are the best apples to use for cake?

Generally speaking, tart (or slightly sweet), crunchy apples are best for baking. Use fresh apples and avoid soft and mealy apples. I like to use Granny Smith, Pink Lady or Honeycrisp. I use Honeycrisp for this recipe.

How long will the cake last?

This cake is best enjoyed the day it is made but it keeps well if stored tightly covered in a cool, dry place.

This cake is the best of apple cake and spice cake combined. The perfect Fall cake!!

Happy baking!

If you love this Apple Spice Cake, try these delicious Fall recipes:

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apple spice cake recipe

Apple Spice Cake Recipe

  • Author: Heather Mubarak
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 75 minutes
  • Yield: 8 slices 1x
  • Category: Breads & Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Say hello to your new favorite Fall cake. A delicious apple spice cake with the perfect blend of warm, cozy spices. Full of fresh apple flavor and drizzled with a simple cinnamon glaze.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 1 cup (226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup apple cider (not apple juice)
  • 1/3 cup fresh apple, peeled and grated. Note: Place the grated apples between two layers of paper towels to absorb the moisture out before adding to the batter.

For Cinnamon Glaze

1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar, sifted

4 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream or whole milk

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (less or more, to taste)


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper. Allow the parchment to hang over the sides of the cake by an inch or two for easy removal of the cake once baked. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. 
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egg mixture, alternating with the apple cider. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. 
  7. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a large spatula to gently fold in the grated apple. Do not overmix.
  8. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center rack of the oven for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few crumbs remaining. If the cake is browning too quickly at the end of the baking cycle, use a large piece of aluminum foil to tent the top of the cake. 
  9. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper overhang to carefully remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before glazing.

For Cinnamon Glaze

  1. In a medium bowl, sift in the powdered sugar.
  2. Add the cream or milk and the cinnamon. Whisk to combine. It should be smooth and lump free. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar. If too thick add more heavy cream or milk.
  3. Drizzle on top of the cooled cake.

Notes

Store cake tightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

May be frozen. 

Keywords: apple spice cake, spiced apple cake, apple spice loaf

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    November 10, 2023 at 5:40 pm

    Hi, could this recipe be adapted for a layer cake? The crumb looks beautiful!!

  • Reply
    Amy N
    October 29, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    I’ve made this twice. The second time I had extra grated apple so I just threw the extra in. Both results were equally delicious! Will keep this recipe as one of my go to recipients!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    October 5, 2023 at 1:03 am

    Can I omit the grated apple or will significantly change the end result?

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    September 25, 2023 at 12:50 pm

    Delicious. Made my own apple cider and the apple flavor really popped. Perfect fall recipe.

  • Reply
    Hamideh
    September 14, 2023 at 11:37 am

    We dont have apple cider in our country. What can i use instead?

    • Reply
      Ballad
      September 22, 2023 at 8:11 pm

      That is weird why don’t you have apple cider you could always use apple juice

      • Maria Okhuysen
        November 12, 2023 at 2:19 am

        In Mexico, you can’t find apple cider. I plan to make my own juice with a juicer instead of store bought apple juice. I hope had apple cider: I looove it!!!

    • Reply
      Sylvie Gill
      November 12, 2023 at 2:29 pm

      Thank you for sharing the recipe, super delicious! I used apple juice and reduced the sugar.

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