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Cinnamon Apple Cake

This Cinnamon Apple Cake is what fall is all about. It’s a super easy recipe that will get you right in the cozy mood in no time. The cake is tender and sweet and absolutely loaded with diced apples then it’s topped with a crunchy layer of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Slice of cinnamon apple cake on a plate with a fork on top of a towel.

If you need a cozy treat to warm you up, this cinnamon apple cake is just what you’re looking for! The cinnamon-spiced one-layer cake is filled with apples and the cinnamon sugar topping adds a nice crunchy texture. Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream, softened butter, or this easy Honey Butter for the ultimate fall treat!

If you love this recipe, be sure to check out these other fall treats:

Ingredients

Ingredient Notes

Flour – nothing fancy here, all-purpose flour does the trick.

Apples – I used Cosmic Crisp apple for this recipe but any sweet-tart variety would work. Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Pink Lady apples would all be great options.

Canola Oil – I like to use oil in recipes like this since it helps to keep the cake from drying out during the long baking time.

Salt – is necessary to balance out the sweetness. I recommend using a coarse kosher salt.

Step By Step Instructions

Note: A complete list of ingredients, their amounts, and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter or baking spray and set aside.

Step 2:

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl with a fork.

Step 3:

In a separate large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, whole milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla until well combined.

Wet mixture for cinnamon apple cake batter.

Step 4:

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix just until they come together.

Dry ingredients added to the wet ingredients in a bowl with a mixer.

Step 5:

Using a rubber spatula, fold in the diced apples until they are coated and evenly distributed.

Diced apples added to cake batter and then mixed in with a rubber spatula.

Step 6:

Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out into an even layer.

Cinnamon apple cake batter in a baking dish.

Step 7:

In a bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Then, mix with melted butter until well combined.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the cake and, using the palm of your hand, smooth it into an even layer.

Cinnamon sugar mixture in a bowl with a fork and then spread over cake batter.

Step 8:

Bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool in the baking dish on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Cinnamon apple cake sliced up in a baking dish with one slice stacked on another.

Tips & Tricks

  • Dice the apples to about 1/2-inch dice so that they are small enough to fully bake through.
  • Use room-temperature eggs and milk to help all of the wet ingredients come together thoroughly.
  • Pull the cake from the oven right when a toothpick comes out clean or even with a few moist crumbs on it. This will help ensure the cake doesn’t dry out.

Substitutions & Variations

  • Swap out the apples for pears.
  • For more spice flavor, add cardamom or pumpkin pie spice mix with the cinnamon.
  • Top the cake with powdered sugar after cooling.

Storage & Reheating

Storage

Store the cinnamon apple cake in an airtight container at room temp for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Reheating

If you would like to warm the cake back up before serving, either microwave it at 50% in 15-second increments until warmed through or on a lined baking sheet in a 250-degree F oven for about 5 minutes or until warm.

Freezing

To freeze this cake, wrap fully cooled slices in plastic wrap and then in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Allow it to fully thaw at room temperature before serving.

Slice of cinnamon apple cake on a plate with a forkful to the side.

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Slice of cinnamon apple cake on a plate with a fork on top of a napkin.

Cinnamon Apple Cake

Alicia
This Cinnamon Apple Cake has a sweet tender crumb that is loaded with fresh apples and it's topped with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Cooling Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 12 slices

Ingredients
  

Cake

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk room temp
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 large eggs room temp
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups peeled and diced apples cut into 1/2-inch dice, see notes

Cinnamon Brown Sugar Topping

  • 2/3 cups brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with softened butter or baking spray. Set aside.
  • Make the cake: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
  • In a large mixing bowl, using a hand mixer on medium speed, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar, milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.
  • Using a rubber spatula, fold the apples into the batter until they are fully coated and evenly distributed.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth it into an even layer.
  • Make the topping: In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix in the melted butter until well combined.
  • Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the cake batter. Using the palm of your hand, smooth the topping out into an even layer.
  • Bake the cake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake, in the baking dish, on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream or softened butter.

Notes

I suggest using a firm sweet-tart apple variety like Honey Crisp, Cosmic Crisp, or Fuji. For a more tart apple, Granny Smith is a great option.
Store the leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 389kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 5gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 263mgPotassium: 154mgFiber: 2gSugar: 43gVitamin A: 158IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 117mgIron: 2mg
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