This simple Apple Cinnamon Cake is made up of layers of fluffy buttermilk cake and cinnamon apple filling with an easy vanilla glaze on top. Sweet, spiced, and moist, this cake is packed full of flavor and perfect for fall.
Why You Will Love this Apple Cinnamon Cake
This apple cinnamon cake is like an apple fritter reimagined as a simple snack cake.
The moist buttermilk cake is packed with cinnamon and brown sugar apples. Layering the cake batter and apple filling creates a ripple of sweet cinnamon apples the runs through the cake.
Drizzle the vanilla glaze over the cake top of the cake. You will love how the icing pools and puddles between the apple pieces.
Here is a quick glance at some of the ingredients needed beyond basic pantry staples. Find a complete list with quantities in the full recipe to follow.
- Assorted apples
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Nutmeg or allspice
- Confectioners' sugar
Tools and Equipment
These are the primary tools you will need to bake this cake:
- Mixing bowls
- Hand or stand mixer
- 9 by 9-inch square pan
- Parchment paper
- General kitchen tools (measuring spoons, cups, etc).
Best Apple to Use in Apple Cinnamon Cake
I prefer to use an assortment of apples - some tart and some sweet. The best apples to use to bake this cake are Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Gala, and Honeycrisp.
You may choose to peal the apples or bake them with the skin on.
Steps for Making Apple Cinnamon Cake
- Make the apple cinnamon filling
- Make the cake batter
- Layer in the cake batter and the filling: there will be two layers of cake batter and two layers of apple filling.
- Make the glaze and drizzle over the cake
- Cool and serve
You sure can! The apple pieces are small enough that the skin isn't bothersome, but it is up to you.
You can make a buttermilk substitute by mixing a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar into equal amounts of milk. Set aside 5 minutes to allow the milk to sour. You may also half sour cream and half milk.
- Feel free to switch up the spices in this cake. Cinnamon is always the best choice, but you can use freshly grated nutmeg, allspice, and/or cardamom as well.
- Gently microwaving the glaze until warm makes it easier to drizzle instead of thinning with more milk.
- Lining the pan with parchment paper that extends over the edges helps remove the baked cake from the pan. Use the paper like a sling to lift the cake out, or simple cut and serve from the pan.
Serving and Storage
Allow the cake to cool before slicing. If sliced warm, it will be difficult to get a clean slice. Serve the cake at room temperature.
Store the cake covered with plastic wrap or foil at room temperature for up to 2 days.
If making in advance, skip the glaze and wrap well in plastic. Add the glaze before serving.
More Apple Recipes to Bake:
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Apple Cinnamon Cake
For the Apple Cinnamon Filling
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 teas ground cinnamon
- ¼ teasp grated nutmeg or allspice
- 1 teas cornstarch
- 5 cups (800g) diced apples
For the Cake
- 2 ½ cups (310g) all-purpose flour
- 2 ½ teas baking powder
- 1 teas salt
- ¼ teas baking soda
- ¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teas vanilla extract
- ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
For the Glaze
- 1 cup (130g) confectioners' sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoon milk
- 1 tea vanilla extract
To Make the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line a 9 by 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium mixing bowl, toss all of the apple cinnamon filling ingredients together and set aside.
- In a large bowl with a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment), mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2 to 3 minutes).
- Add in the eggs, allowing each to incorporate before adding in the next. Mix until combined. Add the vanilla. Mix until smooth.
- Stop the mixer and sift in half of the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix on low speed until incorporated.
- With the mixer on low speed, stream in the buttercream and mix to combined.
- Add the remaining flour and mix until smooth.
- Scrape half of the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth it out with an offset spatula.
- Spoon half of the apple filling on top.
- Dollop the remaining cake batter on top of the apples and gently smooth out.
- Add the remaining apple filling evenly over the top of the cake.
- Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Mix all of the ingredients together for the glaze until smooth and pourable.
- Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cake. Allow the cake to cool slightly before slicing. Serve at room temperture.