A soft and tender Apple Cake packed with fresh apples, sprinkled with a crumb topping and drizzled with a sweet and buttery brown sugar sauce.
If you’re looking to elevate a typical fall day, I have the perfect solution: A big slice of cake studded with fresh apples, topped with a buttery crumble, and drizzled with a decadent brown sugar sauce. I mean, does it get any better? Let’s talk about Apple Cake and why this beauty needs to be added to your fall baking line up immediately.
How To Make Apple Cake:
This cake comes together quickly and easily – no mixer needed. There are three components that work together to make this cake the best.
- Apple Cake: This recipe uses sour cream and applesauce to make a moist and light cake. The cake is flavored with finely chopped apples, a touch of cinnamon, and vanilla. Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, whisk the wet ingredients in another, then combine the two and add to a 9×13 pan.
- Crumb Topping: Mix up a standard crumb topping (flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter) and sprinkle over the top of the cake batter.The flavors of cinnamon and brown sugar complement the cake perfectly. The buttery crunch of the crumb topping balances the soft cake, adding texture to every bite.
- Brown Sugar Sauce: This sweet, buttery and decadent sauce tastes like melted toffee (it’s SO good!). A simple mixture of melted butter, brown sugar and cream is cooked briefly on the stovetop. Drizzle the sauce over the whole cake or each slice individually.
The Best Apples for Apple Cake:
It’s best to use firm apples with a balance of sweet and tart flavors. These are my favorite varieties for this recipe:
- Pink Lady
Although these are my top choices, you can absolutely use whatever apples you have on hand. I like to peel the apples, but if you’d prefer to leave the skin on you can.
TIP: Cut your apples into small pieces. This cake bakes in only 25 minutes, and you want the apple pieces to soften during that time.
- ⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
- ⅔ cup all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon, increase to 1-½ teaspoons for a stronger flavor
- 2 cups finely chopped peeled apple
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup canola oil or vegetable oil
- ½ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Brown sugar sauce:
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Add melted butter and stir until well combined. Place in the refrigerator while you continue with the cake.
- Preheat oven to 350 °F. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add apples and stir until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, sour cream, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Use a rubber spatula to stir until well combined, being careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Remove the crumb topping from the refrigerator and sprinkle it over the top of the cake batter. Bake for 22-27 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.
Brown sugar sauce:
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and brown sugar, whisking constantly. Gradually add the cream. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool just slightly so it can thicken. Serve warm sauce over slices of cake.
Recipe updated September 2019.