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!
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.
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:
- A dollop of whipped cream
- A drizzle of butterscotch sauce or caramel sauce
- A light dusting of powdered sugar if you’re eating it for afternoon tea
- Or how about caramel cream cheese frosting?
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:
Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
For the Apple Spice Cake
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅔ cup vegetable oil
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup apple sauce
- 1 ½ cups grated apple
- ⅓ cup sour cream
For the Cream Cheese Frosting
- ⅓ 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.
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!
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.
Can this recipe be used for cupcakes instead of a 9×13 cake?? Sounds yummy!
I’d use this recipe for apple cupcakes:
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
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.
Thank you so much for your review! Thanks for the tip about freezing the cake – I definitely agree, it keeps the cake very moist!
I made the apple spice cake and it was a big winner. Everyone loved it, thank you.
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!
Thank you so much for your tips on how to make it gluten free! So happy you enjoyed the cake
Is this cake ok to be made in a Bundt cake?
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
Can I use apple butter instead of apple sauce?
I haven’t tried it – so I’m not sure.
I only have light olive oil. Will that work instead of vegetable oil? Thank you!
I think that would be fine for this recipe since it is very flavorful