Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 1 vote

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This apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting is packed with flavor, filled with cinnamon, and has a delicious caramel undertone thanks to brown sugar. Then topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting – it’s the perfect cake for fall!

Overhead shot of a slice of apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting topped with chopped walnuts. Apple and second piece of cake in the background

This apple spice cake is incredibly moist. It has warm spices, a hint of brown sugar, and a delicious texture thanks to grated apple in the batter. It tastes comforting, homey, and is the delicious dessert for fall. I love how the tangy cream cheese frosting isn’t too sweet. Instead it pairs perfectly with the apple cinnamon flavor and lets the cake shine on its own.

I know people typically think of apple crisp when it comes to apple desserts – but I urge you to try this apple spice cake.

Slice of apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting topped with chopped walnuts. Apple and second slice of cake in the backround.

What Makes it So Delicious?

This apple spice cake is super moist with the softest crumb for a few key reasons:

  • We start with oil (don’t worry, you can’t taste it at all)
  • 3 large eggs for tenderness
  • Apple sauce
  • And sour cream.

Then it’s packed with flavor.

  • Brown sugar adds a delicious almost butterscotch undertone to the flavor
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are the trifecta of spices – please don’t leave them out
  • Then apple sauce and grated apple come into play
  • And tangy cream cheese frosting that’s not too sweet makes the perfect topping.

A Few Notes for Making this Apple Spice Cake

  • When baking, I recommend using a tart, crunchy apple because the flavor will mellow as it bakes. Granny Smith or Honey Crisp work perfectly. I do not recommend using Red Delicious or McIntosh.
  • Sour cream can be substituted with plain Greek yogurt.
  • Make sure to use unsweetened apple sauce.
  • For the cream cheese frosting – use full fat, brick-style cream cheese.

Don’t feel like Cream Cheese Frosting on Your Spice Cake?

It’s also delicious with:

Piece of apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting with a bite taken out of it.

This cake is perfectly dense, moist, filled with an apple cinnamon flavor and completely perfect for fall. And if you love carrot cake or zucchini cake – I definitely recommend trying this apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting.

Love apple desserts? Be sure to try:

Slice of apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting topped with chopped walnuts. Apple and second slice of cake in the backround.
5 from 1 vote

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

This apple spice cake with cream cheese frosting is packed with flavor, filled with cinnamon, and has a delicious caramel undertone thanks to brown sugar. Then topped with fluffy cream cheese frosting - it's the perfect cake for fall!
Prep: 45 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 15 pieces
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For the Apple Spice Cake

  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup apple sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups grated apple
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, brick style, full-fat
  • 3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons heavy cream, as needed
  • chopped walnuts, optional


For the Apple Spice Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. 
  • Grease and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan. 
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg. 
  • In a large bowl using an electric mixer beat together the oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. Then stir in the apple sauce, grated apple and sour cream. 
  • Slowly beat in the flour mixture, turning off the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. 
  • Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. 

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • In a large bowl beat together the butter until soft. Then beat in the cream cheese until no lumps remain. 
  • Slowly beat in the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time. Beat in 1-2 tablespoons cream as needed until the desired sweetness is reached.
  • Frost the cooled cake, then top with chopped walnuts. 


Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. Bring to room temperature before enjoying.
Makeahead tips:
Cake can be made 1 day in advanced, covered and stored at room temperature. Then make the frosting the day you plan to serve. 
Unfrosted cake can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to 2 months (cool cake completely before wrapping and freezing). Thaw in the fridge, then frost before serving. 


Calories: 459kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 150mg, Potassium: 158mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 48g, Vitamin A: 450IU, Vitamin C: 0.7mg, Calcium: 66mg, Iron: 1.3mg
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Recipe Rating


    1. I haven’t tried it myself, but I believe some readers have with good results. You’d want to ensure that you grease and flour the bundt pan really well, or use pan release. I think the bake time would be closer to 50-60 minutes at 350F degrees. I also have some general tips for baking bundt cakes, including my favorite recipe for pan release here

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe turned out great, even with gluten free substitutes! I used 1cup millet flour, 1cup brown rice flour, 1/4cup tapioca starch, and 1tsp of xantham gum. The rest I did the exact same but added 1/4 tsp of all spice.
    I even did the freezer trick for the last half of the cooling time as suggested by another commenter, it really is a lovely moist cake!

  2. I took a chance on this recipe because it sounded really good and all I can say is I was absolutely right. This cake is delicious! I’m no stranger to baking but I never leave reviews on recipes, I had to for this cake. I made it for my parents and it was practically devoured. I’ve made it multiple times and it will now be on our dessert rotation. The only change I made was toasting and chopping up some walnuts and mixing those in the batter, plus adding another teaspoon of cinnamon the second time I made it just because we’re crazy for cinnamon. Delicious both times! One tip I use for all cakes is that when you take it out of the oven, immediately place the whole pan in the freezer for 30- 60 minutes. This helps keep your cakes moist and you can frost it much sooner this way. This cake is amazing at room temperature or chilled.

    1. Thank you so much for your review! Thanks for the tip about freezing the cake – I definitely agree, it keeps the cake very moist!

  3. Hey
    Can this be made as a layered cake in 9 inch pans and also can the apples be chopped instead of grated?
    Thank you, going to make tomorrow

  4. Hello!
    I’m needing to make a Fall dessert, your recipe looks perfect! One question I have however, it calls for sour cream. Is that cultured sour cream or heavy whipping cream that has gone sour? Thanks!

    1. Sorry for the confusion – dairy products are different in different countries! Sour cream that comes in a tub is definitely what you’ll want for this recipe – definitely not anything you pour.