Spiced Apple Cake

Apple cake just might be my very definition of fall. When the apples ripen and the summer days start to cool enough that I’m overly excited about my oven all over again, it’s this apple cake that I always want first. It is sweet and decadent, but also full of fruit – so I’ll go ahead and say it makes a great breakfast (though it definitely won’t keep you full all morning). So if you’re a fan of pie for breakfast, this may just be your new go to for the fall!


This apple cake mixes a hearty (half) whole wheat cake spiced with ginger and nutmeg with a hefty serving of apples to create a perfect fall cake.


First we gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, carefully folding them together with a rubber spatula to create a thick batter.


Half of the batter goes into the bottom of our pan, then a thin layer of apples are placed in the middle of the cake to bring some apple richness throughout the entire cake.


Next comes the rest of the batter and that hefty serving of apples, then your ready for the oven. Putting this many apples on our cake will keep the cake super moist (maybe event too wet in some folks minds… but I sure love a moist cake!). If you want a less moist but still absolutely amazing cake, use a bundt pan!


Then we just need to bake it, for quite a long time, until the center is fully cooked. And voila – cake!

I know I’m using a glass dish that differs from the suggested 8×8 size in these photos. I highly recommend you use a metal 8×8 baking dish. The cake will cook more evenly, and not have as thick of a bake line as mine did (the darker edge where the cake is touching the pan).


But whatever you do use, the cake will be delicious, and you will rejoice!

Last but not (by a long shot) least, I couldn’t help but top this apple cake with a drizzle of the easiest caramel you’ve ever laid your hands on. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the slow gentle process of caramelizing a hefty serving of cane sugar to create a luscious caramel… but I also understand that not everyone feels so comfortable melting sugar. If you’re feeling adventurous or love making caramel, my recipe can be found buried in this lengthy recipe for brownie ice cream sandwiches (yes, I put a layer of caramel in them… because obviously brownies and ice cream wasn’t enough decadence).

This caramel I’m sharing here, on the other hand, requires basically no work and no worry. If you’re having a lazy day, but also really want a helping of caramel sauce for your cake, your ice cream, or your spoon – this is it my friends. You’re welcome.

The cake recipe was adapted from the wonderful Smitten Kitchen.

Apple Cake


2 large apples, cut to a small dice

2 cups + 2 Tbsp cane sugar

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 cups white flour

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg


  • Prepare an 8×8 square baking dish by buttering and flouring it.
  • In a small bowl, stir together apples, cinnamon, and 2 Tbsp sugar. Set aside.
  • In a large liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Start by whisking together eggs, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Once combined, add in the remaining 2 cups of sugar and whisk to combine.
  • Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl until evenly combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until all the flour clumps have been incorporated.
  • Pour about half the batter into the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle a very sparse layer of apples over the batter. Spread the remaining batter over the thin layer of apples, then cover the top with the remaining apples.
  • Bake at 350 for about about 75 minutes, or until the center is cooked.
  • Drizzle entire cake with the caramel, or each slice as you’re serving.

Super Simple Caramel Sauce


1 cup brown sugar

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

pinch of salt


  • Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine as the butter melts.
  • Continue stirring and cooking until the mixture starts to boil lightly. Let it boil for a few minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat, pour into a glass container, and let cool completely before using.
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