This easy one-bowl cinnamon apple cake is the fall dessert to make with fresh apples. It’s moist, packed with apple-cinnamon flavor, and topped with a cinnamon crumb. Serve it to a crowd for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond!

Slices of cinnamon apple cake on a wire rack drizzled with vanilla glaze.

Just like apple butter cookies and apple cinnamon rolls, this tender apple cake is a must-bake during apple season. Loaded with flavorful apples and cozy spices, this apple cinnamon cake is a cherished family recipe passed down for generations.

This recipe is so popular that I stopped asking what everyone wants for dessert because it’s always apple cake! 

Why You’ll Love This Cinnamon Apple Cake

  • A dense and tender cake that’s soft and moist like pumpkin and chocolate cake.
  • Easy to make– one bowl, simple ingredients, and no stand mixer required! It’s just as easy as my apple pie spice cookies!
  • Perfectly spiced with the warm, cozy fall flavors you love in apple cider cake.
  • Cinnamon apple cake is a delicious snack cake that can be enjoyed for breakfast or dessert!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

Ingredients needed to make apple cake in bowls with labels.

Apples: No need to peel them; they can be grated with the peel on! You will need at least 3-5 apples; it will depend if they are large apples or small ones.

Oil: Helps guarantee a moist crumb without overpowering the flavor and weighing down the cake. I tested this recipe with butter instead of oil but it completely masks the fruity apple flavor!

Brown sugar: Dark brown sugar provides sweetness, and flavor, and also keeps desserts tender and chewy (like in pumpkin cookies).

Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!

Best Apples to Use

This cinnamon apple cake can be made with any of these apple varieties or a combination of apples!

  • Gala
  • Honeycrisp
  • Jazz
  • Fiji
  • Envy

Recipe Instructions

Before you start, line a metal 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 325 F/160 C.

A white bowl with cinnamon crumb topping.

Step 1: Make the cinnamon topping. Combine the melted butter, all-purpose flour, white sugar, brown sugar, and ground cinnamon until dense crumbs form. Chill in the fridge.

A mixing bowl with the wet ingredients, shredded apples, and apple juice before mixing.

Step 2: Combine the wet ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, eggs, shredded apples, apple juice, and vanilla extract.

The apple cake batter in a mixing bowl after folding in the dry ingredients.

Step 3: Mix in the dry ingredients. Fold in the all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; mixing until just combined. Do not over-mix!

Apple batter spread into a large baking pan.

Step 4: Pour into the prepared cake pan. Evenly spread the apple cake batter into the baking pan.

A baking pan with the apple cake batter and cinnamon crumbs on top before baking.

Step 5: Bake! Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar crumble over the cake batter. Bake the apple cake, then let the pan cool on a wire rack before glazing.

Apple cinnamon cake with vanilla glaze poured over the top.

Step 6: Drizzle with sweet milk glaze. Pour the glaze over the top of the cake.

This cinnamon apple cake is best served warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Tips for the Best Apple Cinnamon Cake

Using a kitchen scale for baking is more accurate than cup measurements. To convert this recipe, click the “metric” button next to the ingredients title on the recipe card. If you don’t have a scale, use a spoon to fluff the flour first, then spoon it into your measuring cup.

Use fresh apples. Fresher apples are easier to grate. Older ones turn to mush!

Separate the grated apples and juice. This ensures the cinnamon apple cake has just the right amount of moisture; apples can vary in how much juice they hold!

Don’t skip the crumb topping. ​Like strawberry crumb cake or blueberry crumb cake, it’s the best part! The cinnamon crumb gives just the right amount of texture variation and soaks up the delicious sweet frosting.

Use a metal pan. Glass or ceramic pans conduct heat differently so the recipe bake time will not be the same!

FAQs

Should I peel the apples before using them?

I don’t even bother to peel the apples; it’s not necessary but you can if you want to.

Does apple crumb cake need to be refrigerated?

While it’s not required, it does make the cake last longer!

Will it work without the crumb topping?

You can definitely skip it, but you’ll be missing out! For an even quicker topping, combine 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the apple cake before baking. 

Can apple cake be frozen?

Absolutely! I recommend wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap and storing it in an airtight container.

What is the best way to store cinnamon apple cake?

This super moist apple cake stays that way for days (thank you apples)! Store it in an airtight container in the fridge or at room temperature for 4-5 days

a slice of apple cake on a plate with a stick of cinnamon on top.

More Fall Dessert Recipes

If you tried this or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how it went in the comments below, I love hearing from you! Also, please leave a star rating while you’re there! You can also tag me on Instagram or Facebook so I can check it out!

Slices of apple cake on a wire rack with vanilla glaze drizzled on top.

Cinnamon Apple Cake

5 from 26 votes
– by Cambrea Gordon

This easy one-bowl cinnamon apple cake is the fall dessert to make with fresh apples. It's moist, packed with apple-cinnamon flavor, and topped with a cinnamon crumb. Serve it to a crowd for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and beyond!
Print Recipe Save Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 24 slices
Need Metric Measurements?Use the button options below to toggle between US cups and Metric grams!

Ingredients 
 

For the Crumb Topping

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Apple Cake

  • 3-5 Gala apples
  • 1 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, *See notes for measuring*
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

For the Glaze

  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 F/ 165 C. Line a metal 9×13 baking pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter until dense crumbs form. Chill in the fridge.
    6 tbsp (84 g) unsalted butter, 3/4 cup + 1 tbsp (100 g) all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar, 2 tbsp (25 g) light brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Use the large holes of a cheese grater to grate three red apples into a large bowl. Squeeze out all of the juice and place them into a separate bowl.
    3-5 Gala apples
  • Measure 1 1/2 packed cups (282 grams) of the grated apples. Then measure out 3/4 cup (195 grams) of the apple juice from the bowl. Discard any extra juice and apples. If you are short, grate an extra apple (or two) until you have enough.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil and dark brown sugar. Then whisk in the eggs, vanilla, measured grated apples, and measured apple juice.
    1 1/2 cups (317 g) canola oil, 1 1/2 cups (300 g) dark brown sugar, 3 (150 g) large eggs, 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Fold in the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt until just combined.
    3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and evenly sprinkle the crumb mixture on top. Bake for 30-40 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center; it should come out clean but slightly sticky, without any wet batter clinging to it. Allow the pan to cool on a wire rack while preparing the glaze.
  • Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract until smooth. For a thicker glaze, use more powdered sugar. Drizzle the glaze over the cinnamon apple cake then cut it into slices and enjoy!
    3/4 cup (90 g) powdered sugar, 2 tablespoon whole milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste

Video

Notes

*Measure your flour properly. This is my #1 baking tip! Do not ever scoop a measuring cup into your flour as this always leads to using too much flour. Instead, use the spoon-level method. This means fluffing the flour first, then spooning it into your measuring cup/spoon. For the BEST results, use a kitchen scale!*
Should I peel the apples? No, you can if you want to though!
Use fresh apples. Fresher apples are easier to grate. If they are older they will turn to mush!
Store leftover apple cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Serve it warm or cold with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream! 
Serving: 1slice | Calories: 317kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

The calorie information provided for the recipe is an estimate. The accuracy of the calories listed is not guaranteed.

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Recipe Rating




28 Comments

  1. LOVE this recipe! It was a hit 🙂 Thank you! I added a bit of nutmeg and ground cloves to the batter also.5 stars

  2. This was INCREDIBLE. Best apple cake I’ve ever eaten!5 stars