My favorite desserts, like this apple cake, are those that turn the simplest of ingredients into homemade goodness.

This brown sugar apple cake has a soft and fluffy cake topped with caramelized cinnamon brown sugar apples. It’s perfection.

This moist fall dessert pairs so well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Brown Sugar Apple Cake on a plate

An Easy From Scratch Apple Cake

  • This apple cake recipe needs just a few simple easy-to-find ingredients.
  • This recipe makes baking from scratch easy and comes out perfectly tender and moist every time.
  • I have added lots of fresh apple flavor with a double dose of apples both on top and throughout the batter. Use any variety of apples, we love Granny smith.
  • The cake is extra moist with a buttery apple topping, it’s literally perfect.
cinnamon , apples , sugars , egg , flour , baking powder , butter , milk , salt and lemon with labels to make Brown Sugar Apple Cake

Ingredients in Apple Cake

Apples – In baking, we love Granny smith apples for their tart flavor but also because they hold their shape well. Honestly, any supermarket apple will do in this recipe. Try Honeycrisp apples, Braeburn, or pink lady. The apples make a great topping and small chunks of apple are folded into the batter for even more flavor.

Batter – It’s likely you have everything on hand. Milk, flour, eggs, butter, sugar, and are all needed for the basic batter recipe. A little bit of lemon juice helps the batter rise while vanilla adds flavor.

Variations – Spice up the cake by adding some nutmeg, or apple pie spice. Drizzle it with a little caramel sauce. Add some chopped walnuts or pecans to the apple slices on top if you’d like. This recipe works well with other fruit like peaches or pears.

How to Make Apple Cake 

  1. Mix butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a round pan and top with apple slices (per the recipe below).
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients in a bowl and the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine.
  3. Fold in apples and pour the batter over the apples.
  4. Bake until golden. Let rest a few minutes and then invert the cake onto a plate.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or finish with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

plated Brown Sugar Apple Cake with vanilla ice cream

Storing Apple Cake

  • Apple cake will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  • This cake also freezes really well. After the cake has cooled down, wrap it in parchment or waxed paper, then aluminum foil, and place it in an airtight container.
  • Another option is to cut it into pieces and separate them with waxed paper before storing in a freezer container.

More Apple Dessert Recipes

Did you enjoy this Apple Cake Recipe? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!

plated Brown Sugar Apple Cake with vanilla ice cream
5 from 37 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Brown Sugar Apple Cake

Moist and mouthwatering apple cake is made in the style of an upside-down cake, and is a fall favorite!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 6 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients  

  • 2 apples* peeled, divided use
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Batter

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon salt
  • cup milk

Instructions 

  • Peel and core the apples. Slice one apple into ¼-inch thick slices. Chop the other apple into ¼-inch chunks so you have ½ cup of chopped apples (you may have a bit of extra apple, it can be added to the topping or just eaten as a snack). If you have a soft variety of apple, cut it slightly thicker.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Pour ¼ cup melted butter into a 9" round pan. Add brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir to combine and spread evenly on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apple slices in an even layer on the brown sugar. Set aside.

Batter

  • Combine sugar & melted butter. Stir in egg, lemon juice, and vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk to the butter mixture. Stir just until combined. Fold the in chopped apples.
  • Spread the batter over the apple slices and bake 32-36 minutes or just until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack, and let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes.
  • Run a knife or rubber spatula along the edge of the cake and invert onto a platter. Serve warm with ice cream if desired.

Notes

  • This recipe calls for two apples although you may have a bit extra. Add only ½ cup of chopped apple to the batter, you can add a bit extra to the topping or just enjoy any extra apple as a snack.
  • Pears can be substituted for apples.
  • Don’t overmix the batter, stir just until combined. 
  • Be sure to let the cake cool for at least 15 minutes before inverting. This allows the topping to set up a bit.
  • Apple cake will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
  • This cake also freezes really well. After the cake has cooled down, wrap it in parchment or waxed paper, then aluminum foil, and place it in an airtight container.
5 from 37 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 353 | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 52mg | Sodium: 117mg | Potassium: 239mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 448IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American

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plated Brown Sugar Apple Cake with writing

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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Comments

  1. Hi Holly.
    This recipe looks amazing and perfect for this time of year. But I don’t have a round cake pan. Can I substitute a square one? Thanks for your help with this

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Betsy, but it should be just fine! I would use a 8×8 pan. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  2. Just made this. It’s still cooling but I snitched a tiny bite and….SO GOOD! This will be in the regular rotation! I need a better mandolin. Mine isn’t adjustable and the slices would have been too thin. The best part is, this freezes well so it works well for a single person. Highly recommend!5 stars

  3. This recipe came in my in box this morning. I needed to use up 2 apples so I made it. Yummy really good will definitely make again. My husband loves it too. Easy to make as well a keeper for sure. Holly rarely disappoints. Thx Holly