Apple Cinnamon Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

apple spice cake with brown butter glaze

Have you been apple picking this fall season?

If so, chances are your kitchen is full of bags of sweet apples just waiting for a delicious fall inspired sweet treat. During apple season in my kitchen there’s always a batch of homemade apple sauce on hand, (no recipe I always just wing it,) and I always make Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake and Apple Cider Donuts. Future recipe goals include canned Apple Pie Filling, Apple Cinnamon Granola Bars and Apple Fritters!

Apples in a basket freshly picked

This year, I decided to blend together a few of my favorite recipes from the last few falls to make Cinnamon Apple Cake. As a base, I used the Easy One-bowl Spice Cake I shared last year, adjusting the spices a touch and adding in 2 cups of diced tart apples.

It baked up beautifully and I topped it with the absolute best brown butter frosting that I made for my Pumpkin Buttermilk Bundt Cake with Brown Butter Glaze a few years ago. I have to say the flavor combo was the best thing I’ve had in awhile! Next time, I may make it more like a coffee cake with a crumb topping, this cake is so adaptable.

apple spice cake with brown butter glaze

You know those cakes that almost get more moist and flavorful when wrapped up for a day or two? This is one of them! The base cake is seriously such a perfect texture, and the apples make it even better. I enjoyed it with a warm cup of coffee for a full week and it only got better each day.

The glaze, with a toasty brown butter as the base, isn’t overly sweet but adds the perfect depth of flavor that makes this whole cake next level.

If brown butter isn’t your thing, (who are you though?) the cream cheese frosting I used for the spice cake would be great as well!

apple spice cake with brown butter glaze

Ingredients needed for this Apple Cinnamon Cake:

  • Brown sugar
  • Warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg & ginger
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • Olive oil (or you could use melted butter or coconut oil)
  • 2 large apples (I like Granny Smith Apples but any tart variety would do)
  • All purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • Applesauce
  • Milk
  • Honey

apple spice cake with brown butter glaze

Supplies Needed:

  • Large Bowl
  • Medium Bowl
  • 9 inch cake pan
  • Small saucepan for glaze

The Process:

Make the cake batter by combining the dry ingredients and whisking together. Mix in the wet ingredients, fold in the apples, spoon the batter into a prepared pan. And bake! Whip up the super easy brown butter frosting (basically just whisking together toasty browned butter and powdered sugar,) slather the top of the cake with it, And enjoy a slice of warm cake!

More Apple Recipes I love:

Rosemary Apple Pie, Apple Cider Donuts, Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars, Salted Caramel Apple Crisp

Apple Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Apple Spice Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Yield: 8-12 servings


For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups (270g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (lightly packed)
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup (85g) honey
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) whole milk
  • 2 cups of peeled and diced tart apples

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick of butter, browned
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-4 tablespoons milk


Preheat oven to 350. Generously butter or spray a 9-inch springform pan or other similar-sized pan (See notes!)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices and brown sugar. Stir to combine.

Make a well in the middle of the bowl and add the eggs, olive oil, vanilla, applesauce, honey, and milk. Mix together gently and then incorporate into dry ingredients, mixing until just combined, with no streaks or dry areas.

Fold in diced apples .

Spoon into prepared pan and smooth with the back of a spoon. Bake on a middle shelf for 33-38 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Allow cake to cool on a wire rack before frosting. (You can release from the springform after 10-15 minutes to cool it more quickly. Just run a knife around the edge first.)

For the frosting:

Pour the browned butter into a bowl and whisk in the 2 cups sifted powdered sugar and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Add the milk, a tablespoon at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. (If you want a thick frosting, add less milk, for a pourable glaze, add milk until it's smooth and drizzles nicely off the spoon.)

Spread icing over the cake and serve warm, at room temperature or even cold from the fridge. (This cake tastes even better on days 2 and 3!)


A note on the baking pan: No springform pan? No problem. You can use a 9x13 baking pan, a 10 inch round baking pan, or even a bundt pan. Just adjust baking time if needed, the thinner the batter, the less baking time will be.

Base recipe adapted slightly from Simple Cakes by Odette Williams

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Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Our bag of apples from apple picking is LITERALLY still overflowing even though I already have made two apple pies and apple cinnamon rolls. Time to make apple cake!!

  2. Question – do you store this cake after frosted outside the refrigerator? making now and looks delicious .
    Also approximately how long does it usually take for the butter to get browned enough?

    1. It takes me about 10 minutes to brown butter.
      I’d store it at room temp for 2 days or in the fridge for up to a week

  3. Baked this and it is STUNNING! I used a bundt pan and bake time was probably closer to 50 minutes (not sure of the exact amount as I kept on adding time to the timer once it went off). It is beyond moist and super spice-y! I will note that I printed the recipe and didn’t pay attention to the photo so I made my brown butter as a glaze but the post title (and picture) seems to indicate a frosting. The glaze is great, but I definitely thinned it out per the glaze description. Not sure which would be better-definitely no complaints here.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback. Sorry if the glaze/frosting thing was confusing. I will clarify in the recipe :)

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