Recipe for apple cinnamon cake

Get ready to meet the perfect fall dessert!

Pumpkin gets a lot of press as the iconic flavor of fall. And for good reason, it’s seasonal, delicious and a cozy classic. But this apple cinnamon cake might become your new favorite autumn dessert. It’s sweet and spicy with big chunks of apple nesting in moist vanilla cake. Top your apple cinnamon cake with a scoop of ice cream and you’ve got a bowl full of bliss.

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homemade apple cinnamon cake in cast iron skillet.

Apple Cinnamon Cake Recipe

The ingredients

This is an easy cake recipe but it yields big results!

1.5 cups (188 grams) of all-purpose flour

.5 teaspoon salt

1.5 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs, room temperature

1.5 teaspoon of vanilla

.5 cup of whole milk

6 tablespoons (85 grams) of butter, room temperature

1 cup (200 grams) of sugar + 1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Apples, prepared as below

apple cinnamon cake ingredients

Preparing the apples for apple cinnamon cake

There are two ways to prep the apples for this cake. One is to quickly poach fresh apples for the cake, as described below.

The other is to use home canned apples. It’s easy and you’ll have a stockpile of apples all ready to go for impromptu cakes, pies and tortes.

Poached apples

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 medium to large apples, peeled, cored and sliced. Gala is my favorite but you can use any firm, flavorful apple.
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider, apple brandy, cognac or bourbon*
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar

You can chop the apples into chunks for a more rustic looks or slice them thinly for a more dramatic presentation.

Bring the water and cider/brandy/cognac/bourbon to a low simmer. Add the cinnamon stick and sugar. Stir briefly to dissolve the sugar. Add the apples. Simmer until the apples just begin to soften, usually 5-10 minutes. Check their texture often so they don’t overcook. They should be soft but not mushy.

Strain out the apples and let them drain completely. Discard cinnamon stick.

*each of these will add a different flavor to the apples. The alcohol will dissipate in cooking. Cider will yield the sweetest results. You can combine cider any of the spirits if you wish.

Apple Cinnamon Cake Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350.

You’ll need a 10″ pie pan or cast iron skillet that is AT LEAST 3 inches deep. This cake puffs up while baking and it will overwhelm a shallow dish. If possible, use the cast iron, it helps the cake bake evenly. I use a 10″ cast iron ‘chicken fryer’ skillet – it’s extra deep and the cake is always perfectly golden on the bottom.

Lightly butter the pan, then set aside.

The cake batter

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Mix the tablespoon of sugar and the ground cinnamon together. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar for three minutes. Set a timer and don’t skimp on this step. Use a low setting for the first two minutes, scrap the batter down, and raise the speed for the final minute.

Add the eggs and vanilla, beat until thoroughly combined. Keep scraping the sides of the bowl throughout this step to make sure the batter.

Pour in the whole milk, mix in on the lowest setting.

In three small batches, add the flour mix, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Beat until the flour is completely absorbed and the batter has a smooth, fluffy consistency.

Pour the batter into the baking pan and let it settle.

Adding the apples

Sprinkle a very light layer of cinnamon sugar across the surface of the cake batter. Then carefully place the apples until the entire surface is covered. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon sugar over the apples.

Baking Instructions

Put the cake in the oven on a center rack. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 325, then bake until a toothpick comes out clean. In most ovens, the cake will need 50-55 minutes at 325, but check it often so you don’t overbake.

Remove the finished cake and let it cool before eating.

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