Shaped like a loaf of sweet bread and smothered in a sticky-sweet cream cheese glaze, apple butter cake is an easy-to-make, sweet and moist cake that will melt in your mouth. It's a great way to celebrate the fall apple harvest and the perfect fall party dessert.
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Fall Apple Dessert
One of the best things about this apple butter cake recipe is how versatile it is! You can bake it in a bundt pan, muffin tin, or sheet pan. No matter what shape you make it, apple butter spice cake is a delicious way to bake with fresh apples. It's a completely homemade cake recipe that's topped with a sweet cream cheese glaze.
Move over pumpkin, fall is all about the apple harvest! Take those bushels of apples and make even more tasty desserts. Hot apple dumplings, apple crumble, and caramel apple cupcakes are favorite fall desserts but this buttermilk apple cake definitely needs to be added to the list.
Why This is the Best Apple Butter Cake Recipe Ever
Apple butter has a concentrated apple flavor and makes a rich apple cake with no butter. It's actually really good for you and super easy too!
Apple cake with buttermilk is moist and flavorful. The buttermilk infuses it with deeper, richer flavors.
You'll also love the perfect size of apple butter loaf cake. You don't have to deal with multiple layers and lots of frosting. Just pour the cream cheese glaze on top and done!
Difference Between Apple Butter and Applesauce
Both applesauce and apple butter are made by slowly cooking apples with water and sometimes sugar. Apple butter is cooked longer until it has the consistency of a thick spread.
For the Apple Butter Spice Cake:
- All-Purpose Flour
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Apple Butter - provides a more apple-y flavor to the mix
- Vegetable Oil - stays more liquidy at room temperature, as opposed to butter, providing more moisture to the cake
- Buttermilk - is a tenderizer and gives the cake extra moistness and richer flavor
- Vanilla Extract
- Baking Soda and Baking Powder
- Spices: Nutmeg, Allspice, and Cinnamon - bring the warm flavors of fall to this apple cake
For the Cream Cheese Glaze:
- Cream Cheese - brings sweet and tangy creaminess to the glaze
- Powdered Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
How to Make Apple Butter Cake
- Whisk together dry ingredients - flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a medium bowl.
- In a large bowl, combine oil, sugars, egg, apple butter, and vanilla extract.
- Blend well.
- Whisk half of dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
- Whisk in buttermilk.
- Add remaining dry ingredients and whisk until just blended. Do not overmix.
- Pour the apple butter spice cake batter into the prepared loaf pan.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool for 10-15 minutes in pan then remove and let cool on wire rack.
How to Make Cream Cheese Glaze
- Place room-temperature cream cheese and powdered sugar in a bowl. Add vanilla extract.
- Beat until smooth.
- Just prior to drizzling on top of the cake, place in the microwave for 30 seconds or until the mixture becomes pourable.
- Drizzle cream cheese glaze over the top of the buttermilk apple cake.
Keep drizzling the cream cheese glaze until the cake is covered completely. Let set before slicing and serving.
Moist and full of warm spices and apple flavor, this easy apple butter cake makes the perfect last-minute fall dessert or snack. You might even want to sneak a bite for breakfast! Enjoy!
- Use a baking apple such as Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, or Pink Lady.
- Have all the ingredients at room temperature before making the cake.
- Do not overmix the batter. Stir until the ingredients are just combined.
- Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it.
If you want to bake the cake in advance, it is best to make and store the cake and glaze separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, let both come to room temperature. Stir the glaze and pour it over the cake about an hour before serving.
How to Store
Place the cake in an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Note the glaze will soak into the cake while being refrigerated.
To Freeze: It is best to freeze the cake unglazed. Wrap the cake first in plastic wrap and then with aluminum foil. Place the glaze in a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw both the cake and glaze in the fridge overnight.
Apple Butter Cake
Apple Butter Cake
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ⅜ cup light brown sugar packed
- ⅜ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup apple butter
- ½ cup grated apples about 1 apple (optional)
- ¼ cup buttermilk
Cream Cheese Glaze
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a loaf pan by spraying with nonstick spray, lining the bottom with parchment paper and spraying again. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, both sugars, vanilla extract, egg, and apple butter. Mix in the grated apples if using.
- Add half of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients and mix. Add the buttermilk and stir. Add in remaining dry ingredients and stir until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test to see if it is done by inserting a toothpick into the center. It is done when it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
- While the cake is cooling, combine all glaze ingredients and stir until smooth. Just prior to glazing, heat in microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in-between, until liquid enough to drizzle over cake.
- Let the cake cool 15 to 20 minutes in the pan then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely before drizzling it with the glaze.