This frosted apple cake has chunks of tender apple baked into a lightly spiced cake and the whole shebang is smothered in cream cheese frosting. Perfect as a dessert of a coffee break offering.
This frosted apple cake is going to catapault you to coffee break hero status at work. And it couldn’t be easier. Chunks of apple are baked into a lightly spiced cake and then the whole shebang is smothered in a rich, tangy cream cheese frosting. Just make sure to save yourself a piece (or two).–Angie Zoobkoff
Frosted Apple Cake
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
- 2 cups diced, peeled apples from about 2 medium apples
- 1/2 cup walnuts toasted and chopped (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups Cream Cheese Frosting
Make the apple cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) baking pan with parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the sides by several inches.
- In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.
- Using an electric or stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternately it with the buttermilk in 2 additions, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Use a light lifting motion and turn the bowl continuously until the batter is smooth and the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Do not fold too vigorously or the cake will be tough.
- Very gently fold in the apples and, if using, walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
- Bake until the top is brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- When the cake is cool, grasp the edges of the parchment paper and lift up to remove the cake from the pan.
- Place the cake on a work surface. Using a long cake spatula, spread the frosting over the surface of the cake. Cut the cake into squares and serve.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is the best recipe I have tested in the past year! This frosted apple cake was so simple to put together and the results were outstanding. A moist, flavorful cake that wasn’t too sweet, with a delicious creamy frosting that perfectly complemented the cake.
The batter was beautiful. It was rich and fluffy and came together nicely. I did have all the ingredients at room temperature so I feel that aided in making a beautiful batter.
It seemed like a lot of spices and I was particularly concerned with the amount of ground cloves called for in the recipe, but they worked well and nothing was not overpowering.
I used Granny Smith apples in the cake, which held up well while baking and were soft enough to cut through. I didn’t use any nuts in the recipe as my daughter is allergic and we don’t have nuts in our house. But I can only imagine how delicious this cake would be with walnuts! A sprinkling of toasted walnuts on top would be delicious, too.
Lining the pan with parchment was a huge help in getting the cake out of the pan in one piece. I baked the cake for exactly 35 minutes and it was deep golden brown and the toothpick came out clean.
While the cake was cooling, I made the frosting. The cake tasted great without the frosting but the frosting really put the cake over the top. The cake cut like a dream. The taste reminded me of pumpkin bars but with apples. The texture was more dense than a pumpkin bar but the spices were similar.
I will make this cake over and over again, just delicious!
The strength of this apple cake recipe is in its very light texture. It’s so light, even with all of the butter. And the flavor is good.
I used Honey Crisp and Golden Delicious for the apples. I didn’t use walnuts.
The servings depend on how you cut the cake. I think it could serve 16 or maybe even up to 24.
Originally published September 14, 2019