Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

Old Fashioned Apple Cake

A warmly-spiced cake with fresh apples and walnuts baked into the batter topped with your choice of a cream cheese or brown sugar frosting. Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg give the cake it’s delicious dark coloring and along with the apples infuse the flavor of fall into every bite.

I found the method of mixing the batter unique. It’s dry and crumbly until you add the apples. After a few minutes of beating you suddenly find yourself with a batter as the apples release their juices to pull everything together. The result is a cake with the perfect amount of moistness filled with soft apple bits and crunchy walnuts.

Due to my family’s love for cream cheese frosting I used that rather than the brown sugar frosting called for in the recipe. They love the balance of sweet and tangy rather than a frosting that is just sweet. As for me, I love any and all frosting. It’s your choice – I included both frostings in the recipe.

Whatever you top it with I’m certain this is a cake you will love. It begs to be made at least once during the apple season.

Maybe even twice.

Cream Cheese Frosted Apple Cake

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 (9x13) cake

Old-Fashioned Apple Cake

A warmly-spiced cake with fresh apples baked into the batter topped with your choice of a cream cheese or brown sugar frosting. Cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg give the cake it's delicious dark coloring and along with the apples infuse the flavor of fall into every bite.


2 + 1/3 cups all-purpose or white whole wheat flour (like King Arthur)
1 + 2/3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 + 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon each ground ginger and ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple (I used Fuji)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 + 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
Brown Butter Frosting:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup milk
2 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour a 9" x 13" pan.
  2. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer beat all the ingredients except the apples and nuts together on low speed. The dough will be dry and crumbly.
  3. Add the apples and nuts, beat on low speed until the apples release some of their juices and the batter comes together 3 - 4 minutes.
  4. Spoon into the pan and spread evenly with a wet spatula or your fingers.
  5. Bake about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from center or with a few crumbs attached not wet batter.
  6. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting or brown butter frosting.
  7. Make the cream cheese frosting:
  8. Beat the butter and cream cheese together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add the confectioner's sugar, and beat on medium 5 - 6 minutes until fluffy.
  9. Make the brown butter frosting:
  10. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat and stir in the brown sugar and salt. Cook, stirring until the sugar melts then add the milk.
  11. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Allow to cool 10 minutes.
  12. After ten minutes stir in the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat well - if mixture seems too thin add more confectioners' sugar a little at a time until you reach a spreading consistency.
  13. Frost the cake immediately with the warm frosting.


Adapted from King Arthur Flour

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved


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  1. says

    Apples are going on the shopping list. For me any kind of apple dessert ranks right up there with chocolate

  2. says

    I love the idea of using cream cheese frosting on this cake. We’re big cream cheese frosting people on carrot cakes. This apple cake sounds just amazing! Thanks for posting this Reeni! :)

  3. says

    Intriguing recipe Reeni. Aren’t apples just so amazing! I may not be ready for Fall, (I’m still holding onto summer with all my might:) but, I sure am ready for Apple season and this recipe sounds like the perfect way to welcome the season!
    Thank you so much for sharing…

  4. Judy says

    What is half a cup of butter? How many apples fill 4 cups?
    Could be a nice cake for Rosh Hashana without the honey. Not everyone likes honey cake.
    My dad had a cousin who made a wonderful ginger cake but if anybody asked for the recipe she’d give it leaving an important ingredient out. Isn’t that mean?

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