This Fresh Apple Cake is guaranteed to get you in the mood for fall. Sweet apples baked into a cinnamon and nutmeg spiced cake and topped with an irresistible homemade butterscotch sauce.
As much as I love summer, I always embrace the fall season. What happens in my kitchen abruptly changes when I feel that first cool, crispness in the air and the sun starts setting earlier and earlier each day. Fall is here and I am ready for it!
This Fresh Apple Cake recipe is an easy baking project that is loaded with fall flavors. Your house will smell heavenly as it bakes and it will instantly bring everyone into that cozy state of consiciousness.
It’s a wonderful choice for dessert at a holiday gathering or just for the heck of it on a lazy Sunday evening.
Or, for breakfast. Why not? It’s got fruit in it, right?
- Wet ingredients: Softened butter, granulated sugar, pure vanilla extract, and eggs.
- Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground cloves, salt, and baking soda.
- Sour cream: I love adding sour cream to baked goods for the moist, rich texture it creates.
- Apples: Crisp-sweet apple varities like Gala, Envy, or Honey Crisp are the best choice for this recipe. Their natural sweetness allows us to add a bit less sugar than needed if you use tart Granny Smith apples. They should be peeled and coarsely chopped to create a chunky texture.
- Butterscotch sauce: This caramel-like sauce is made with either light or dark brown sugar, butter, sea salt, heavy whipping cream, and pure vanilla extract.
How to Make Fresh Apple Cake
- Creamed mixture: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Dry ingredients: In a separate bowl combine the flour, spices, salt and baking soda.
- Combine: Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients in small amounts, alternating with the sour cream, and mix well (the batter will be stiff).
- Add apples: Use a spoon to stir in the apples until well combined.
- Baking dish: Spread the apple cake batter into a greased 9- x 13-inch baking dish and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Bake: Transfer the cake to a preheated 350 degree F oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool for about 30 minutes and then slice it up and serve it with a super simple, but incredibly delicious, homemade butterscotch sauce. This Apple Cake is awesome dusted with a little powdered sugar but with this sauce, it’s phenomenal!
For the Butterscotch Sauce
- In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter and cook over medium heat until the butter has melted.
- Add the salt and gradually add the cream. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Transfer the warm butterscoth sauce to a serving bowl and serve it drizzled over the cake.
The butterscotch sauce can be made a day in advance. See below for my storage and reheating tips.
Apple Cake: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.. This is such a moist cake that I prefer to store it in the refrigerator. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months.
Butterscotch Sauce: Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once chilled, butterscotch sauce will need to be re-warmed before using. Microwave it on high power for 30 to 40 seconds, stirring a couple of times. Or, place it in a bowl in a pan of simmering water and heat, stirring occasionally, until warmed through.
If you have leftover sauce, try it spooned over a scoop of vanilla ice cream for another delicious dessert. Heavenly!
Fresh Apple Cake
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅓ cup sour cream, light or regular
- 3 medium medium apples, like gala, envy, or honeycrisp peeled and coarsely chopped (approximately 3½ to 4 cups)
- ½ cup packed brown sugar, light or dark
- ¼ cup butter, sliced into pats
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Apple Cake
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13- x 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to cream the butter, sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture in small amounts, alternating with the sour cream, and mix well (the batter will be stiff). Use a spoon to stir in the apples until well combined.
- Spread the batter into the prepared baking dish, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
For the Butterscotch Sauce
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar and butter. Cook over MEDIUM heat until the butter is melted. Add the salt and slowly add the cream, stirring as you add it. Bring to a low boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to LOW and simmer for about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Serve the cake drizzled with warm butterscotch sauce.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
This post was originally published on October 1, 2014. It has been updated with new text and images.
Adapted from Taste of Home