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Apple Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

An apple cinnamon pull-apart bread on a piece of parchment paper on top of a wire cooling rack, with apple slices, a glass plate, and a knife in the background.
This gooey pull-apart bread is stuffed with apples, butter, cinnamon, and sugar and topped with the creamiest maple cream cheese frosting. Make this bread irresistible by frosting it while it’s still warm.
Bernice Baran

Prep 50 mins
Cook 55 mins
Total 2 hrs 45 mins
Dessert
American
12 servings
425 kcal

Ingredients 

For the dough

  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter plus more for the pan and bowl, softened
  • 1 cup whole milk warmed to 120°F (49°C)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar divided
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more if needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature

To assemble the pull-apart bread

  • 2 tablespoons (1 oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 medium (11 oz) apples such as Fuji or Gala, thinly sliced

For the maple cream cheese frosting

  • 4 tablespoons (2 oz) unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1/4 cup cream cheese room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Directions 

Make the dough

  • Butter a 9- by 5- by 3–inch (23-by 13-by 6–cm) loaf pan and line it with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl, stir together milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons (25 g) of sugar. Let mixture rest until the top turns foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine flour, remaining 2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar, and salt. Turn mixer to low speed, add egg and egg yolk, followed by the milk mixture and butter.
  • Increase mixer to medium-low speed, knead dough until it begins to peel away from the sides of the bowl, and forms a ball around the hook attachment, 10 to 15 minutes. If this doesn't happen after 15 minutes, the dough is too sticky; add 2 tablespoons (14 g) of flour and continue to knead until dough comes together.

    TESTER TIP: If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can use your hands to combine the dough and knead it. The dough is ready for proofing when you stretch it between your fingers and it’s thin enough to see light through it without it ripping.

  • Move dough to one side of the bowl, butter the open side, then repeat with the other side. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm environment, such as in the sunlight or on a stovetop warming zone. Allow dough to proof until it’s doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Assemble the pull-apart bread

  • On a well-floured surface, use a rolling pin to roll dough into an even square about 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick. Spread butter onto dough, and top with sugar and cinnamon. Slice dough into 16 even squares.
  • Place a couple of slices of apple on each square of dough and gently stack squares, a few at a time. Place stacks, upright, into the prepared pan. Your pan may not be completely full, and that’s ok. It will expand during baking.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Bake bread for 30 minutes, then increase oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake until bread is a little darker than golden brown, about 25 minutes more.

    TESTER TIP: If your bread is browning too quickly, tent it with aluminum foil.

  • Allow bread to cool in the pan for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the frosting.

Make the maple cream cheese frosting

  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and cream cheese at medium-high speed until pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add confectioners’ sugar to the butter mixture, and mix at low speed, just until sugar is combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn mixer to medium-high speed, and beat frosting for at least 5 minutes, or until all of the sugar is fully dissolved and frosting no longer feels gritty when pressed between your fingers. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add salt and mix just until combined.
  • Add vanilla bean paste, maple syrup, and cream, and mix until fully combined.
  • Remove bread from the pan and, while it’s still warm, spread frosting on top. This bread is best served fresh and warm. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 24 hours, or refrigerate for two to three days.

Notes