Apple cakes come in all shapes and sizes, and this Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake Recipe is inspired from Cooks Illustrated...it has exceptional flavor and texture and is so pretty, too!
Do you love apple recipes as much as I do? You should try these Mini Caramel Apple Pies ….and for a special weekend breakfast, why not these absolutely delicious Waffles with Spiced Apples, or maybe something fun like these Apple Hand Pies with Pillsbury crust!
Why You’ll Love this Recipe
This cake isn’t too much trouble, and it looks like a million bucks. It also tastes amazing, which is the most important thing, right?
Fresh apples are quickly sauteed before getting covered in an easy, hand-whisked cake batter that’s made extra tender with sour cream. This is one of the best apple cake recipes I’ve made, and it’s a perfect dessert for guests or just yourself!
Apple season lasts for months, so here are some good reasons to try this cake:
- When it’s apple picking time, why not make an elegant and easy apple cake that uses simple ingredients and tastes incredible?
- This is a moist apple cake recipe using basic pantry ingredients
- This recipe comes together easily and is wonderful as dessert for a dinner of Baked Pasta with Chicken Sausage or Ravioli with Sausage. a hearty soup like Chunky Corn Chowder and maybe a simple salad.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the full recipe and list of ingredients, please scroll to the recipe card below.
- Apples: Fresh apples! Granny Smith’s are the best variety for this cake.
- Butter, eggs, vanilla: Also knows as essential cake ingredients for flavor and tenderness
- Sugar, flour: Regular or Bakers Sugar and all-purpose flour
- Salt, baking powder: For flavor and for cake rise.
- Sour Cream: For a nice tender crumb
For the full recipe, scroll to the recipe card below.
- Peel and chop the apples from the stem to core and cut into thin slices
- Melt a little butter, then saute the apples until barely tender and slightly caramelized
- Arrange the sauteed apples on the bottom of a prepared cake pan lined with parchment paper
- Whisk together a flour mixture made with pantry ingredients like brown sugar and flour in a large bowl, a little butter, plus sour cream for tenderness…no electric mixer needed!
- Pour the batter over the apples into the prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes
- Cool the warm cake on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting onto a platter for best results
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream
Tips for Success
- For most of my baking recipes I prefer to use Bakers Sugar which is common to find in well-stocked grocery stores. Regular granulated sugar works fine too.
- It’s important with all baking to condition your ingredients by pulling the eggs and in this case, sour cream out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before starting to bring them to room temperature. This helps everything to combine together better.
- The batter is thick in this recipe, so when you pour it into the prepared cake pan, spread it evenly over the top with a spatula or butter knife.
- When you remove the cake from the oven, cool it on a wire rack for 20 minutes before attempting to invert it onto a serving plate.
- There is nothing, and I mean nothing better than warm apple cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Unless you want to use whipped cream instead, which would be wonderful too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Granny Smith apple variety is my favorite apple for this cake as it holds its shape, plus they’re easy to find in the grocery store. Honeycrisp is another tart apple that would be a good substitute. A Golden Delicious apple variety will work in a pinch, but they won’t hold their shape as well.
This cake looks fancy, but this is an easy apple cake! Once you prep the apples, make a simple cake batter (no electric mixer needed!) to pour over the top and bake.
Yes, for this recipe, you’ll want to peel them with a vegetable peeler or a small paring knife.
Loosely wrapped with waxed paper or plastic wrap, this cake will hold for a couple of days.
More Recipes to Try:
Baked Apples with Oatmeal Crumble: Comfort food at its finest…
Party Olives: Get the party started with these addictive, warm olives!
Roasted Nectarines with Caramel Sauce: These taste just as good as they look..
Fig Banana Bread: The figs make this banana bread super moist!
Strawberry Shortcake Cookies: These are so great-looking with amazing flavor!
Fresh Tangerine Sorbet: You won’t believe how juicy and fresh this tastes!
Fresh Banana Cake: Easy and so delicious…cream cheese frosting is the best!
Ice Cream Cake with Peanut Butter Ganache: You can’t tell there are shortcuts to this recipe!
If you’ve tried Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake Recipe, or any recipe on Studio Delicious, please leave a 5 star rating and tell me about it in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!
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Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake Recipe
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
- 4 tablespoons butter, unsalted
- 2/3 cup brown sugar, light
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 cup flour, all purpose
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, light
- 2 eggs, large
- 6 tablespoons butter, unsalted, and melted and cooled
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- PREP THE BAKING PAN Using a 9" non-stick cake pan that's at least 2" tall on sides, grease and line the pan with a parchment paper round on the bottom, then grease it again on top of the parchment paper with more butter and a light sprinkling of flour. Tap any excess flour out of the pan.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to lowest position.
- MAKE THE APPLE MIXTURE
- Slice the peeled apples in half from the stem to the bottom, Cut two of the apples into 1/4" thick pieces, set these aside in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the remaining apples in 1/2" thick slices as evenly as possible.
- Melt the 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Add the 1/2" thick slices first into the pan with melted butter, and stir a couple of times to coat. Let these heat for about 5 minutes until they begin to caramelize, carefully stirring a couple of times, making sure they don't fully cook.
- Add the rest of the apples to the skillet and combine, cooking for another minute.
- Place the cooked apples in the bottom of the prepared cake pan, and use the back of a spatula to evenly press them down into one layer.
- MAKE THE CAKE
- Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl
- In another large bowl, whisk the sugar, brown sugar and eggs together until thick and combined.
- Slowly whisk in the cooled melted butter and then add the sour cream and vanilla and continue to mix just until combined.
- Add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined and then pour it over the apples in the cake pan.
- Bake until golden brown, about 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick will come out clean when poked and removed from the middle of the cake
- Remove cake from the oven and place on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then use a sharp knife to go around the edges to loosen the cake from the pan
- Using a cake plate or platter, invert the cake and pan together, lifting the cake pan off the right-side up platter to catch any drips
- If any of the apple pieces stay stuck in the pan or fall off, just position them on top of the cake with a fork (or your fingers:))
- Cool another 20 minutes and serve with whipped cream if you like.
- Tip: Whenever the recipe calls for sugar in a baking recipe, I use Bakers Sugar which you can find in well-stocked grocery stores.
- Pull the eggs and sour cream out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to using to bring them to room temperature
- Super important to read the whole recipe before you begin
- Pay attention to the ingredient list and photos for the recipe
- If possible, prep your ingredients a little before you start
- Always use a sharp knife for safety
- Use the size of pan called for in the recipe
- For savory recipes, taste and season as you go
- Buy fresh, organic ingredients, locally sourced whenever possible