Cake
Two slices of apple butter cake on a stoneware plate.

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This moist spice cake is flavored with rich apple butter and topped with decadent brown butter frosting. This apple butter cake is fall perfection in every bite!

Close-up view of 2 slices of apple butter cake on a stoneware plate.Close-up view of 2 slices of apple butter cake on a stoneware plate.

There’s nothing more quintessentially autumnal than a trip to the apple orchard. And if you live in my house, that trip is always followed by making at least 1 or 2 batches of my homemade apple butter.

When I was thinking about Thanksgiving recipes this year, I wanted a way to incorporate some of that apple butter. Sounds like it’s coming full circle, right?

(I mean besides slathering it on all the Parker House sandwiches. That’s a fact!)

This apple butter cake is an easy to make sheet cake topped with brown butter frosting. It has all the rich flavors of apple butter in a perfectly moist cake. Add the nutty flavor of the brown butter frosting and this is one amazing dessert!

Cake server lifting a slice of apple butter cake.Cake server lifting a slice of apple butter cake.

MOIST APPLE BUTTER CAKE WITH BROWN BUTTER ICING

My Slow Cooker Apple Butter has been a favorite here at MBA for years. But for some reason I’ve never used it in other recipes! I knew this had to be the year that changed.

After all, it’s also the year I learned to make apple butter. I guess it’s just a year of new things.

What better way to start than with an apple butter cake?

I decided to take my pumpkin donut and modify it as the base for this recipe. After a few tweaks, including making it a sheet cake instead of a bundt cake, I had the perfect apple butter cake.

This cake is moist, richly flavored with apple butter and apple pie spice, and finished with my brown butter frosting. Although I also tried it dusted with a little icing sugar and it was just as delicious, so you really can’t go wrong here.

I think this pie would be amazing as a Thanksgiving dessert, but it’s really perfect for both a casual weekday treat and a special occasion.

Two plates, each containing slices of apple butter cake.Two plates, each containing slices of apple butter cake.

HOW TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER CAKE

This apple butter cake is so delicious that your family will definitely think it’s difficult to make. You don’t have to tell anyone that you don’t even need to use a mixer to make the cake itself.

Ingredients you will need

If you’ve made a bunch of apple butter this fall, this pie is for you. To make it, you will need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups homemade apple butter
  • 1 cup grated apple, from about 1 large apple or 2 small peeled apples
Ingredients for apple butter cake laid out on a beige worktop.Ingredients for apple butter cake laid out on a beige worktop.

Yes, you read that correctly. This recipe uses an entire cup and a half of apple butter. More a cup of grated apple!

I use homemade apple butter in this recipe, but you can use a jar from your local apple orchard or grocery store.

Just make sure you don’t use applesauce! This is something completely different and won’t give you the rich flavor that makes this apple butter cake special.

Since the apples in this recipe are grated and broken down into the batter, it doesn’t matter which variety of apple you use. I used some Pink Lady apples I had on hand, but anything will work here.

Useful resources

  • Make sure you know how to measure your flour correctly before you start, so this cake turns out perfect every time.
  • Did you go to make this cake and find that your brown sugar had hardened? Save yourself a trip to the store and learn how to soften brown sugar with a few simple tricks.
  • Are you completely out of brown sugar? Make a brown sugar substitute with granulated sugar and a little molasses.

Preparing this recipe

This cake is made in a 13×9 inch pan. Spray pan with nonstick spray; if you later want to be able to easily lift the cake from the mold, I also recommend lining it with baking paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, apple pie spice, and salt. Set that aside for now.

In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and vegetable oil. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend until well blended.

For the rest of the recipe, replace the whisk with a spatula. Alternate adding the flour mixture with the apple butter by adding ⅓ of the dry ingredients, followed by half the apple butter. Repeat, finishing with the last third of the dry ingredients.

Stir in the grated apple, then spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake the apple butter cake for 40-45 minutes. This is done with a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the cake and it comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool completely before topping with brown butter frosting.

Apple butter cake baked in a baking tray lined with baking paper, ready for frosting.Apple butter cake baked in a baking tray lined with baking paper, ready for frosting.

OTHER SERVING TIPS

I’m obsessed with combining this intensely flavored apple butter cake with the luscious sweetness of brown butter frosting, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only frosting option you have!

You could take inspiration from my banana cake and top this cake with tangy cream cheese frosting.

You could also pair it with my traditional buttercream frosting or even a simple whipped cream frosting.

I think this cake is also delicious with a simple dusting of powdered sugar for a more snack-cake vibe. Really, you can’t go wrong!

Top view of sliced ​​apple butter cake.Top view of sliced ​​apple butter cake.

Frequent questions

How to store apple butter cake?

If you topped the butter cake with brown butter frosting, regular butter cream, or powdered sugar, you can store the cake (covered) at room temperature for up to 3 days.

If you decide to use cream cheese frosting or whipped cream frosting, we recommend storing the cake in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature.

Do you have to use homemade apple butter?

No! You can use your favorite brand of apple butter if you don’t have homemade one.

Can I substitute applesauce for apple butter in this recipe?

No. Although applesauce and apple butter are closely related, apple butter has a much richer flavor than applesauce. You need to use apple butter to get the right flavor in this cake.

If you’re looking for a recipe that uses applesauce, try my friend Stephie’s apple bread Instead.

I don’t have apple pie spices – what else can I use instead?

All right! You have a couple of options:

If you have some pumpkin pie spice, that will work well too. Or you can simply replace ground cinnamon. The cake will be delicious either way.

Can I freeze this apple butter cake?

YES! You can freeze it before or after adding the icing. I have a whole post about frozen cake which will walk you through all the options, whether you want to freeze the entire cake or just freeze a few leftover slices.

Bite taken from the corner of a slice of buttery apple pie on a stoneware plate.Bite taken from the corner of a slice of buttery apple pie on a stoneware plate.

OTHER RECIPES WITH APPLE BUTTER

We obviously love apple butter around here. If you’re looking for more apple butter recipes, I have some suggestions for you.

Try substituting cranberry sauce in these Apple Butter Cranberry Brie Bites.

You can also turn apple butter into a delicious appetizer by making it Apple Butter Roasted Chicken OR Apple Butter Chicken Burger.

For something sweet, try this Apple Butter BabkaA Apple Butter Pumpkin Pieor even a apple butter chai latte.

And don’t forget to try this deliciously decadent apple butter cake. I know it will be a great success.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, apple pie spice, and salt. Set aside.

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the sugars and vegetable oil. Add the eggs and vanilla and blend until well blended.

  • Switching to using a spatula, alternate adding the flour mixture with the apple butter: add a third of the dry ingredients, followed by half the apple butter, making sure to mix until combined after each addition. Repeat the operation finishing with the final addition of the dry ingredients.

  • Add the grated apple. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

  • Cool completely on a wire rack before topping with brown butter frosting or your favorite frosting.

If you prefer less frosting, use only half the amount of brown butter frosting, using the rest as desired or freezing for later use.

Serving: 1slice, Calories: 684kcal, Carbohydrates: 95G, Protein: 4G, Fat: 33G, Saturated fats: 14G, Polyunsaturated fats: 9G, Monounsaturated fat: 8G, Trans fats: 1G, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 158mg, Potassium: 98mg, Fiber: 1G, Sugar: 75G, Vitamin A: 615UI, C vitamin: 1mg, Soccer: 55mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is calculated automatically, so should only be used as an approximation.

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