Fresh Apple Cake


Fresh Apple Cake is unbelievably soft, perfectly sweet, and tastes just like fall!

I think I’ve told you before that one of my all-time favorite fall activities is going apple picking. There’s something so satisfying about hopping on a hay rack ride out to an orchard, pushing aside the leafy branches of a tree, then plucking the perfect apple from its perch. It makes sinking your teeth into one of ’em later on, that much better.

You know, the whole reaping the fruits of your labor thing.

Unfortunately, due to a late frost that killed a TON of central Iowa’s apple buds last spring, there doesn’t seem to be an orchard within a 60 mile radius that’s offering Pick Your Own apples this year. SOB!

The set back won’t set ME back however, culinarily speaking anyways, because I’m still finding ways to enjoy cooking and baking with apples this fall, even if they aren’t hand picked, like in Fresh Apple Cake.

Not only is Fresh Apple Cake one of my favorite apple recipes of all time,  but it is also one of my favorite recipes of all time. Spiced with cinnamon and studded with fresh apple pieces, this cake contains a secret ingredient that makes each wonderful slice over-the-top moist and apple-y: applesauce.

I developed the recipe a few months ago for a freelance project, then took the leftovers over to my parent’s house (I can’t be trusted will full-sized cakes in the house) where it was promptly devoured. After said devouring, my Mom and Dad asked if I’d baked another one…they wanted more!

Bake this baby up for a potluck, or to snack on with tea or coffee. It. Is. HEAVENLY!

Start the Fresh Apple Cake with, what else, apples! Crisp and tart, Granny Smiths are my favorite variety to bake and cook with, as they can retain their texture and don’t turn to mush.

Peel then chop 2-3 apples, or until you have 3 cups chopped apples, then set them aside for a bit.

Next bust out a BIG ol’ bowl and beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 cups sugar, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

Now beat in 1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce, which keeps the cake extremely moist, and adds to the fresh, yummy apple flavor of the cake.

3 eggs get beaten in one at a time next…

Followed by 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

Now, in a separate bowl, stir together 3 cups flour, 1 teaspoon each cinnamon, baking soda, and baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, then mix into the wet ingredients in 3 batches.

BEFORE you do that, though, remove 2 Tablespoons of the flour/cinnamon mixture and toss it with the chopped apples.

The flour will coat the apple pieces then suspend them in the batter so they won’t sink to the bottom while the cake bakes!

The last step is to fold the coated apples into the batter.

Spread the batter into a bundt pan that’s been sprayed VERY well with nonstick spray, then pop it into a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.

TIP: Check on the cake about 20-30 minutes in. If the top is browning too fast, place a sheet of non-stick sprayed foil on top of the pan. This will allow the insides of the cake to finishing baking without burning the top.

Let the cake rest for 10 minutes right out of the oven, then run a sharp knife around the inner rim of the pan and invert the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

I cannot describe to you how delicious this cake smells right out of the oven..

Sugar, spice, and everything nice!

Sprinkle the top of the cooled cake with powdered sugar, then slice and serve with tea or coffee for the ultimate, sweet fall treat!

Fresh Apple Cake


Fresh Apple Cake is unbelievably soft, perfectly sweet, and tastes just like fall!


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup no-sugar added applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 Granny Smith apples (or other baking apple), cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (3 cups total)
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously spray a Bundt pan with nonstick spray then set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat butter, vegetable oil, and sugar until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add applesauce then beat to combine. Add eggs one at a time, beating until combined before adding the next egg. Add vanilla then beat to combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove 2 Tablespoons of flour mixture then toss with cubed apples. Add remaining dry ingredients to wet ingredients in three batches, mixing until just combined before adding the next batch, then fold in apples.
  4. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Check cake at 20 minutes - if top is turning too brown, place a sheet of non-stick sprayed tin foil on top. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan then run a knife along the inner rim and invert cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. Garnish cooled cake with powdered sugar.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

This Fresh Apple Cake is unnnnbelievably soft, moist, and sweet. It is the perfect fall dessert. Might even beat out Starbucks Clone Pumpkin Scones in that department. That’s right…I said it!

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  1. Erin 10.02.2012

    Loving this recipe! I have an uncle with an apple orchard and this weekend is our annual family “Apple fest”. I will be coming home with plenty of apples ready to become part of this cake!

  2. Gillian 10.02.2012

    Love the cake! Also , where did you get your fork haha? It’s so cute

    • Andrea 10.03.2012

      I was thinking the same exact thing! Love the fork!

  3. I’m loving apple recipes right now! This sounds so tasty! And the shape is perfect and beautiful :)

  4. Cher @ Weddicted 10.02.2012

    Okay, this is definitely being made this weekend. Looks SO good! Good tihng I have Friday off because I have a lot of baking to do!

  5. heather 10.02.2012

    looks so comforting! side note–where’d you get that killer fork? i love it!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      Thanks! It came with a little knife in the same design with a party kit I got for my wedding!

  6. Lauren 10.02.2012

    This looks divine girly! I just made some fresh apple bread that got me totally in the mood for fall. Now my obsession has averted to pumpkin but I tend to go back and forth ths time of year.

  7. karan 10.02.2012

    Sounds awesome, going to a pig roast this weekend. Perfect for my contribution ! :)

  8. Kristen 10.02.2012

    sounds good…I, too, love the fork (but doubt it can go in the dishwasher!)

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      hehe I don’t think it’s supposed to but I do. (I have no patience for hand washing!)

  9. Carrie 10.02.2012

    Will this also fit a 9×13 pan in the event that I don’t find my bundt cake pan?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      I haven’t tried it, but I believe it would work. I would reduce the cooking time to 20-30 minutes!

  10. now I know what I’m doing with all these apples I have! :)

  11. Steve Perry 10.02.2012

    It was so nice to meet you at panera bread tuesday night. Im a two year IGE fan, you have some great, great ideas, I HAVE A LOT OF RECIPES NOW, I THANK YOU for every thing you are doing YOU FOOD GODDESS, keep it up, thanks again

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      Steve! It was so great to meet you and your wife, and THANK YOU so so much for coming all the way out to chat – I appreciate it so much! Keep on cooking (and I’ll work on those mushroom recipes ;) )

  12. Karissa 10.02.2012

    I was just at Hy-Vee and honey crisps were on sale for $1.88/lb!!! I stocked up!

  13. Jackie 10.02.2012

    I have the same question would it be okay in a 9X13 pan?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      I haven’t tried it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! I would reduce cooking time to 20-30 minutes though!

  14. Cute fork!

  15. Molly 10.03.2012

    REALLY want to make this. 1-don’t have a stand mixer…can I do it the old fashioned way? 2- don’t have a bundt pan…can i make these into muffins or a loaf? 3- LOVE your blog/recipes. thank you for doing all that you do!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      You can definitely can use a hand mixer! Also I’ve only ever made this cake in a bundt pan, but I would love to know how it comes out as muffins/cupcakes. I would bake at the same temperature, but reduce the cooking time to 15-20 minutes. If you try it, let me know – I’d love to add a note on the recipe!

  16. Rach 10.03.2012

    oooooo yum yum yum!!

    xo Rach

  17. I haven’t been yet this year, but I LOVE apple picking, too! I also like picking blueberries, but they’re so tiny it takes forever to fill up your bucket :)

  18. lani 10.03.2012

    Quick question. Why does it matter if the apples are mushy or not if you’re baking? Only asking, because my mil got us some apples from a local orchard that are soft and I was hoping I could use them for baking.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.03.2012

      It’s just a personal preference – you can definitely use whatever you’ve got on hand though! :)

      • lani 10.04.2012

        Ok. Does it give the cake a different consistency or a different flavor? Or just easier to prep?

        • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2012

          Hehe, no worries. :) The taste will be the same, Granny Smith apples just have a more toothsome quality, whereas you might not be able to pick out another softer apple quite as much in each bite.

      • lani 10.04.2012

        I really meant to start that comment out with a thank you. ;)

  19. Karen 10.03.2012

    Looks yummy! I also want to attempt the pumpkin scones for an upcoming baby shower. And just so you know, the scone link in this post goes to chicken tortilla soup–another good one!

  20. Tricia 10.03.2012

    I wish you were my best friend!!! I would love to be the taster tester on everything you make!!!!

  21. Cecily 10.03.2012

    looks great. I wonder how it would taste with an apple cider glaze!!!

    • Maritza 10.06.2012

      that sound better than creamcheese icin,was gonna try that

  22. Kathrine 10.03.2012

    I made this today! Delicious! I did switch a few things though. Trying to lose a few lbs! I opted out on egg bc my 4 year old has an egg allergy. I just added an extra 1/2 cup of applesauce in place. I also replaced the oil with nonfat plain yogurt but still used the butter. It turned out great!!!! Yum! FYI, I used a 9×13 Pan and it worked perfectly! Baked around 30 minutes. Thanks for the recipe!

  23. Life's a Bowl 10.03.2012

    This looks sinfully sweet! And perfect timing, we’re going apple picking [my first time] this weekend :D Hopefully I’ll bring home bushels full! I did see that some orchards no longer have “pick your own” apples, just apples for sale- not sure but my best guess is that because they start to fall off the trees as we get further into fall?!

  24. Jaime D. 10.03.2012

    OMG – I made this cake last night and it turned out SO good! Thanks so much for this amazing recipe! I read your blog everyday and continue to love it more and more. :)

  25. Sara L 10.03.2012

    Hi! I just bought a bundt pan and this will be the first recipe I use with it :-) Making it tomorrow!

    Have you ever put up to 4 apples in this cake? I have 4 on hand and would like to use them all.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.04.2012

      Awesome!! The most I’ve ever put into the cake is three. The only problem with putting too many apples in is that it will weigh the cake down, and possibly make it too wet.

  26. Amanda M. 10.04.2012

    I made this last night and was amazed, it came out perfectly! I live in the Quad Cities and we had an orchard that has pick your own apples this year so I have a TON to get rid of. The only thing better than the way it tasted is the way it made my house smell while baking.

  27. Peggy 10.04.2012

    Great cake! Grandchildren & friends ate the whole thing!

  28. Lauren 10.06.2012

    This recipe is awesome! I just made it this morning and both my husband and I agree it is fabulous. A new favorite!

  29. Maritza 10.06.2012

    Hey was wondering if i could make this recipe for cup cakes? Had went on a farm apple picking with my daughter and her class.I really want to make this recipe for her class to enjoy.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.08.2012

      I’ve only ever made it in a bundt cake pan, but someone said they had success with it in a 9×13 pan, so I imagine it would be ok as cupcakes too! I’d just reduce cooking time to 15-20 minutes.

  30. Absolutely delicious!! Just made this tonight and my fiance and I were in baked fall heaven. I reblogged about it on my page as well. Thanks for this – wonderful.

  31. ae 10.09.2012

    I love you so much for this recipe. I was so over making baked apples and apple pie and apple crips…. as a cake person this is SO much more satisfying and not at all cloying or [dare I say it…] Autumn cheesy. I made it twice this week [yep, already] and the first time I made it your way which was so yummy but needed an extra 15 mins in my stove because despite probing it before taking it out the enter center [or, non center since it was a bundt pan///] was still cake batter-y. The second time I made it [just now, actually] I didn’t want to wait around for an hour or make the whole batch of batter so I threw them into cupcake tins for 20 mins on 350 and it worked perfectly! Now I have yummy, delicious, apple-y cupcakes/muffins! Thanks, Kristin!

  32. Kim 10.17.2012

    This was a hit in our house tonight! We have become a dairy free household and have had to give up doughnut holes as one of our kiddos favorite treats on special Saturday mornings. I told them I was making them cake for dinner and got squeals of delight. The apples and applesauce make it healthy right?! ;) My 4 1/2 year old said this was better than doughnuts. We did eat an egg and veggie scramble and some pears as well. Don’t want you thinking I just feed my kids cake for dinner! I made this with Earth Balance sticks as a substitution and this has been my most successful and delicious sub so far. Thanks so much for posting this, it is a new family favorite!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.18.2012

      So glad you were able to make it work for your family! My nephew can’t have dairy/eggs/peanuts so I know what a challenge that can be!

  33. […] Spinach & Artichoke DipThe Best Tomato Sauce. Ever. Apple Crisp – household favorite!Fresh Apple Cake – household favorite!Individual Toffee Apple CrispLighter Butterscotch BarsMini Cinnamon […]

  34. […] my mind off things.  I knew I had to bake something.  I had seen a recipe for an Apple Cake on Kristin’s blog and I knew that one day I would have to try it.  Mike and I recently purchased a bundt pan and I […]

  35. […] had some friends coming over last week and I really, really wanted to make this fresh apple cake. There were a few problems with this: I don’t have a bundt pan. There were only four of us […]

  36. Patti 11.30.2012

    I used to make an apple cake years ago when my kids were small and I lost the recipe. But I tried this one with my grandkids and it was fantastic! So glad I stumbled upon your site. I am always up for a new recipe! Thanx!

  37. Lina celis 02.12.2013

    Yum looking foward on whipping this bundt cake! Green apples granny smith! Reminds me of the fair!!!!

    • Karen 03.01.2013

      Can I use unsalted butter in the apple cake recipe?

  38. Karen 03.01.2013

    I am going to make this cake tomorrow. . . It sounds really good! I am not much of a baker, my question is can I use unsalted butter for this recipe?
    Ps I just found your site yesterday and am totally enjoying reading all about your wonderful recipes and good tips, etc. THANKS & KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

  39. Nicole 03.15.2013

    I have this cake in the oven right now as part of my “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” culinary festivities. The smell is killing me! So excited to try this!

  40. Liz 04.30.2013

    Sounds wonderful. Thank you so much!

  41. […] good. The end result is really moist with a wonderfully dense texture, a la my favorite Fresh Apple Cake, and these Raspberry Lemonade Crumb Muffins are no […]

  42. […] Kim @, adapted from Iowa Girl Eats […]

  43. Miranda 09.16.2013

    I just found your recipe after searching for an apple cake recipe. This looks amazing! Have you ever tried adding pecans? I wondered if it would bake the same. I may try adding finely crushed pecans in (almost as fine as flour). It’s one of my favorite things to add to recipes. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for posting it!

  44. Marina Torres 09.18.2013

    I love this cake! I added crushed nuts and is delicious.

    My grandkids enjoyed every piece.

    Thank you for posting it!

  45. […] muffins are based on my Fresh Apple Cake recipe, but I reduced the amount of sugar in the muffin batter since I added the brown sugar-based […]

  46. […] Fresh Apple Cake – Can’t forget dessert! This cake from Iowa Girl Eats looks like a delicious way to use up some of the apples we picked last weekend – and our new bundt pan from our wedding shower! […]

  47. […] bite: Apple Cider Caramel Glazed Pound Cake. Now, I really love my Fresh Apple Cake recipe, but something it’s unfortunately missing? An Apple Cider Caramel Glaze. […]

  48. Giselle 09.27.2013

    Got the recipe from your Friday favorites. I will try it next week. My kids love apples and I can´t wait to try it.

  49. gina 10.01.2013

    I have everything out on table to make this cake. Just noticed that my hubby bought canola cooking spray instead of vegetable cooking spray. Will this effect the taste of cake? I want to get cake in oven and not have to run out to store first. But if I have to in order for cake to be yummy I will. Thank you.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 10.01.2013

      That’s fine!

      • gina 10.01.2013

        Thank you! I went ahead and used canola. Cakes will be out in 10 mins. They smell great! So excited cant wait to eat. I will be using more of your recipe’s often in future. Thanks again!

  50. Laura 10.10.2013

    Hey girlfriend! Had to drop a comment to let you know that this is the second year I’m making this for my co-workers. It has that perfect fall feel, and the gang LOVES it. I use a 9×13 and bake for 30 minutes with great success. Am contemplating cupcakes with a caramel-esque icing eventually. Hmm!

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