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The BEST Apple Fritter Cake Recipe
Better than your favorite coffee shop cake!
Our delicious Apple Fritter Cake is packed with rich vanilla flavor and loaded with sweetened cinnamon apples.
Grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair because you don’t want to miss this amazingly moist and flavorful fall favorite!
We’ve packed five full cups of diced cinnamon apples inside and on top of an incredibly flavored buttermilk batter. Layering half the apples inside the cake creates a ribbon of soft, perfectly baked pillows of tart apple flavor.
To make sure you don’t miss apple flavor in every bite, we added fresh apple cider to the batter and also to the simple glaze spread on top.
If you love apple cake, this “better than your favorite coffeeshop” cake is for you!
Overview of ingredients for Apple Fritter Cake:
For the apple filling:
- light brown sugar
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- peeled and diced tart baking apples like Granny Smith
For the cake batter:
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- full-fat buttermilk
- apple cider (not apple cider vinegar)
- vanilla extract
- unsalted butter at room temperature
- granulated sugar
- large eggs at room temperature
For the glaze:
- powdered sugar
- ground cinnamon
- melted unsalted butter (optional)
- apple cider, buttermilk, milk or cream all work well in this simple glaze
My favorite glaze is made with powdered sugar, cinnamon, butter and apple cider as listed above. The butter adds a nice flavor to the glaze and gives the cake a nice shine.
Butter is a great addition to glazes if you don’t care for the flavor of powdered sugar.
Overview: How to make Apple Fritter Cake
First, prepare the apple filling:
- Peel, core and dice the apples.
- Mix the dry ingredients together and pour over the diced apples. Set aside.
Next, prepare the cake batter:
- Whisk together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a separate measuring cup combine the buttermilk, apple cider and vanilla; set aside.
- Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix just until blended.
- Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients until blended. The batter will be thick.
Finally, layer the ingredients:
- Spread a little more than half the batter in the prepared pan.
- Gently spoon a little more than half the sweetened diced apples over the batter.
- Scoop all remaining cake batter on top of the apples. Carefully spread to cover.
- Spoon all remaining apples and juice on top of the batter. Gently press the apples into the batter leaving the tops visible.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with no wet batter.
Glaze the warm Apple Fritter Cake
Allow the cake to rest in the baking pan for about 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan using the parchment paper as a sling and place on a wire rack.
Whisk the glaze ingredients together and spread on top of the warm cake, allowing it to drip into the cracks and crevices.
Serve the cake slightly warm or at room temperature. If sliced warm the cake is just a bit more crumbly but still holds together well.
Easily made a day ahead
I’m always torn between enjoying this cake warm from the oven or the next day. In my opinion it’s almost better the next day after it’s had time to sit and meld into the best apple cake ever!
Do what I do and save yourself the trouble of trying to decide. Enjoy this Apple Fritter Cake warm, then leftover at room temperature then later, cold! It’s terrific at any temperature and at any time.
Can this cake be baked in other size pans?
Apple Fritter Cake is best baked in a 9-inch square baking pan. However, we’ve also made it in a large 9×5-inch loaf pan with great success.
The loaf pan cake makes a pretty statement with a thick layer of apples down the middle. However it takes a full 90 minutes to bake and I just can’t wait that long! Reduce the diced apples to about 4 cups if baking in a loaf pan.
You can also bake this cake in an 8 or 9-inch springform pan. If using an 8-inch pan I recommend baking at 325 degrees F so the center bakes before the outside is over-done. Low and slow is best for thicker cakes.
However, do not bake this cake in an 8-inch square pan. Trust me, it doesn’t work and the batter will overflow. If you only have an 8-inch square pan on hand, use some of the batter to make a few smaller ramekin sized cakelettes.
If using a smaller pan, bake on a foil lined baking sheet to catch any batter that might overflow.
Can you freeze Apple Fritter Cake?
Individual slices of this cake freeze well for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator.
Warm individual slices in the microwave at 50% power or serve at room temperature.
Of course, this fantastic fall treat is best served within a day or two after baking, but it will keep at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. Refrigerate for longer storage in an airtight container.
Apple Fritter Cake
For the apple filling:
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed (112g)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 5 cups peeled and diced apples about 4 large or 1 pound (we prefer Granny Smith apples)
For the cake batter:
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (334g)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup buttermilk (6oz)
- ¼ cup apple cider (2oz)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature (6oz or ¾ cup)
- 1 cup granulated sugar (222g)
- 3 large eggs room temperature
For the glaze:
- ½ cup powdered sugar (57g)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
- 1 tablespoon cider
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper leaving the excess hanging over the sides to create a sling. Set aside.
To prepare the apple filling:
- Combine the light brown sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cornstarch in a 2-cup measure. Whisk to combine. Pour over the diced apples and toss to coat. Set aside.
To prepare the cake batter:
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- In a small bowl whisk together the buttermilk, cider and vanilla. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the butter and sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time mixing just until the yolk disappears.
- With the mixer on low add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix just until blended. Add half the buttermilk and beat until combined. Repeat adding half the remaining flour mixture, then all the remaining buttermilk. Finally add all remaining flour and mix until incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl using a spatula to fold the batter to ensure it’s well blended. The batter will be thick.
- Pour half the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer. Gently spoon half the apple mixture and juices evenly over the batter. Top with all remaining batter, then all remaining apples. Gently press the apples down into the batter leaving the tops visible.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with no wet batter. Moist crumbs are okay. Tent with foil if needed to prevent over-browning. Cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the pan using the parchment paper sling, and cool on a wire rack.
To prepare the glaze:
- Whisk together the melted butter, powdered sugar, cider and cinnamon. Add more sugar if needed for a thick but pourable consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake, slice and serve.
Finally, don’t forget to make a big batch of this Slow Cooker Apple Butter Recipe to have on hand throughout the year!