Easy, fresh Apple Cake makes the best apple bundt cake recipe perfect for anytime of year! An extremely moist spice cake has chunks of fresh apples and a quick brown sugar praline glaze drizzled on top.
Even though fresh apple cake would be hard to ignore anytime of the year, fall just screams for richly spiced cinnamon apples baked together in a warm, old fashioned spice cake.
Settling on that perfect, great recipe, though, is a tough decision with so many versions out there! How do you decide between apple dump cake, upside down apple cake, caramel apple, Jewish, French, or German apple cake?
Can’t we all just collectively decide on the best apple cake ever and make the choice easier?!
Although I wouldn’t shun any of these versions, I wanted this Fresh Apple Cake recipe to replicate old fashioned bundt cake like mom used to make. The simple flavors of apple and cinnamon need to shine through a moist tender crumb and chewy crust all around.
Drizzle the top with a buttery, brown sugar praline glaze, sprinkle with walnuts, and you have the best apple cake ever! Search complete.
How to Make a Moist Apple Cake
A lot of apple cake recipes claim to be moist, but I wanted Fresh Apple Cake to really stand behind that claim. This recipe uses a few ingredients and tricks to ensure it’s true!
- Use plenty of chopped fresh apples. Apple’s higher water content helps make a moister crumb.
- Add applesauce. Not only does this enhance the apple flavor, but adds more liquid to the cake.
- Flavoring the cake the molasses gives the cake a burnt caramel flavor and adds moisture.
- Substitutie half the sugar with brown sugar. Brown sugar contains molasses, which makes baked goods more moist.
- Use oil instead of butter. Oil is a neutral flavor and helps keep the texture moist longer without drying out.
- Bake at a lower temperature. This allows for a gentler rise and liquids won’t evaporate as quickly.
Apple Spice Cake
The next factor for making the best apple cake recipe is settling on the ideal amount of spice. A traditional spiced cake has a mixture of flavors, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger.
I prefer the simplicity of the cinnamon and sugar, but also wanted to enhance it with caramel, butterscotch notes. Replacing half the sugar with brown sugar and adding molasses replicated this.
If you wish for more spice complexity reduce the cinnamon to 1 1/2 teaspoons and add 1/2 each of ground ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg.
What are the best apples for baking apple cake?
With so many apple varieties out there, it’s hard to know which are best for baking! Apple cake can be made with a variety of apples for diverse flavor and texture.
These apples are known to be good for baking, hold their shape, and don’t turn mushy.
- Granny Smith (these apples are tarter so may want to pair with something else)
- Pink Lady
- Golden Delicious
How to Make Gluten Free Apple Cake
Good news for gluten free peeps! Easy Apple Cake can be adapted to gluten free by switching out the flour with your favorite gluten free all-purpose brand.
I tested the gluten free apple cake using my preferred brand, Cup 4 Cup.
Gluten free cakes generally take a few minutes longer than traditional cakes to bake.
Be sure to test the cake using a cake tester before removing from the oven. Gluten free cakes brown quicker, so they deceptively appear fully cooked before they are.
How to Store Fresh Apple Cake
Apple cake tastes better the next day so bake ahead of time! As the cake sits, it becomes more moist while the spices meld and deepen.
Store uncut apple cake, uncovered, on the counter up to 3 days. If the cake has been cut, press a piece of plastic wrap against the cut sides, leaving the rest exposed. It will dry out if refrigerated, so leave at room temperature.
Can I freeze apple cake?
Yes, apple cakes may be frozen. Bake and cool completely. If the cake has been frosted, let the glaze harden first before wrapping up to freeze.
Wrap the cake securely with plastic wrap, then cover the whole thing with foil. Apple cake may be frozen up to 3 months.
Slices of cake can also be frozen. Wrap individual pieces with plastic wrap and transfer to a gallon freezer bag. Thaw whole cake or slices on counter for 1-3 hours.
How To Make Easy Apple Cake Recipe
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray a non-stick bundt cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl beat together a cup of sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, molasses, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl.
- Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat well.
- Stir in peeled, chopped fresh apples and walnuts, if desired.
- Pour into prepared pan and bake for 70-80 minutes, or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool cake in bundt pan for 15-20 minutes. Invert and remove from pan to cool completely on a wire rack.
Brown Sugar Praline Glaze:
- In a small saucepan add softened butter, brown sugar, milk, and salt.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute.
- Remove from heat. Add vanilla and confectioners sugar. Stir vigorously until powdered sugar is smooth and incorporated.
- Continue to stir gently for 3-5 minutes until frosting thickens slightly, but is still pourable. Pour over cooled cake and immediately sprinkle on walnuts, if desired.
Removing a cake from a bundt pan
First, begin with greasing the pan. To test this recipe, I used a couple different methods for greasing the baking pan. One bundt pan I greased and floured, while the other I just sprayed with cooking spray.
Unexpectedly the cake pan sprayed with cooking spray was a lot easier to remove. If your bundt pan has a non-stick finish, liberally spraying will suffice.
If you have an older bundt pan, or one without a non-stick finish, use a piece of wax paper to spread softened butter or shortening on the pan. Sprinkle pan with flour and rotate the pan until it adheres to all the butter. Finally, invert the pan over the sink to tap out excess flour.
Allow the baked cake to cool for 15-20 minutes in the pan. This allows the cake to become firm enough to invert without breaking apart. Don’t cool it for longer in the pan, though, because the cake will become damp and stick to the pan.
Use a knife to go around the outside and inside edges of the cake and invert onto a wire rack. If the cake still sticks to the pan, flip it back over, and use the knife to gently reach down around the sides and lift the cake up away from the pan.
Cool completely on a wire rack before sliding onto a serving platter and frosting.
Baking a bundt cake in a different pan
Yes, a bundt cake may be baked in a different pan. Match the different pan (or divide between 2 pans) with the same bundt pan volume.
A 10″ bundt pan holds 12 cups, so the cake batter can be transferred to a 9X13 pan or divided between two round 9″ cake pans.
A 9″ tube pan (used for angel food cake) also has the same capacity of a bundt pan, so those can be used interchangeably.
The Joy of Baking has a very hand chart for comparing different baking pan’s capacity.
Keep in mind, changing the pan will also change the baking time. Dividing the batter between two pans will require less time, while baking in 9X13 pan might require more. Stay close by to make sure your cake doesn’t overbake.
More of the Best Apple Recipes
- Apple Cream Cheese Bars has a creamy cheesecake filling, use fresh apples, and get a caramel flavor from gooey butterscotch chips.
- Apple Pecan Salad with maple vinaigrette combines fresh greens, candied pecans, apples, dried cranberries, and blue cheese all tossed together in an easy dressing.
- Apple Crisp is baked to perfection with a crunchy topping made of oats, almond flour, cinnamon, butter, and maple syrup.
- Snickers Caramel Apple Pie has a salted caramel peanut apple filling, topped with fluffy nougat, chocolate, and all held in peanut pie crust.
- Pork Apple Skillet has sliced pork tenderloin medallions quickly cooked with apples and cranberries in a dijon sauce.
- Sausage with Cheddar, Apple, Potato Hash has smoked sausage links combined with an apple, potato, onion hash and smothered with sharp cheddar.
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Fresh Apple Cake
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour, all-purpose or gluten free
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups peeled, cored, and chopped sweet apples
- 1 ¼ cups chopped walnuts, optional
Brown Sugar Praline Glaze
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons milk, heavy cream, or half and half
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 325ºF. Spray a non-stick bundt cake pan liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl beat together sugar, brown sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, molasses, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to the sugar mixture and beat well.
- Stir in fresh apples and 1 cup walnuts, if desired. Reserve remaining walnuts for topping. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 70-80 minutes, or until tester inserted in cake comes out clean.
- Cool cake in pan for 15-20 minutes. Use a knife to gently go around edges. Turn cake onto wire rack to remove from pan. Cool completely before transferring to a cake platter and frosting.
Brown Sugar Praline Glaze
- In a small saucepan add softened butter, brown sugar, milk, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir vigorously until powdered sugar is smooth and incorporated. Continue to stir gently for 3-5 minutes until frosting thickens slightly, but is still pourable. Pour over cooled cake and immediately sprinkle on walnuts, if desired.
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