Apple Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting is made with real apple chunks and applesauce. This moist and flavorful cake is a true recipe perfected. Don’t miss the BEST Apple Spice Cake recipe from scratch!

Apple Spice Cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting on a white plate.

This apple spice layer cake recipe is guaranteed to become a favorite in your house. Super moist and full of flavor, this is the perfect Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert, or anytime you want an apple spice fix! 

If you love apple desserts, be sure to try this super moist Italian Apple Cake or these Apple Spice Cookies! And if you are looking for a healthier gluten-free apple cake, you’re going to love this simple Almond Flour Apple Cake made with maple syrup or my Almond Flour Pear Cake

You’ll Love Apple Spice Cake!

One bite of this delicious Apple Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting and I guarantee this will become a family favorite any time of year! This easy apple cake is so good because it’s super moist, and has the best flavor and textures. 

It’s the combination of fresh apples and apple sauce that truly sets this cake apart. It’s a super moist cake and has best texture with chunks of fresh apple. Also, the combination of fall spices gives it the perfect warmth that everyone loves. 

The cinnamon buttercream frosting is the perfect accompaniment to this cake. It’s super easy to make with just a few ingredients and gives another layer of flavor with the cinnamon and vanilla. 

Apple Spice Layer Cake is a fairly simple cake to make and does’t require many ingredients. The ingredients for this recipe are similar to most cake recipes: flour, sugars, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and oil. 

Apple Spice Cake on a plate with a cake on a pedestal next to it.

What’s even better about this cake is that you can make it ahead of time and it stays moist and doesn’t lose it’s flavor. Be sure to give this recipe a try, you’re going to love it!

Apple Spice Cake Ingredients

  • Flour: use regular all purpose flour here.
  • Sugar: granulated sugar is used in the base of the cake recipe. 
  • Brown sugar: brown sugar gives the cake a rich and soft texture.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: you will need both baking powder and baking soda. 
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg: use ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg. 
  • Salt: I like to use kosher salt for baking. 
  • Eggs: use four large room temperature eggs. 
  • Oil: use a neutral flavor oil such as canola oil or vegetable oil. 
  • Apple sauce: apple sauce will add moistness and flavor to the apple spice cake. 
  • Vanilla: vanilla extract adds a depth of flavor. 
  • Fresh apple: peel and dice a large apple to give the cake great texture and flavor. I use honey crisp, but Fuji apples, or Granny Smith apples work great.

To prepare the apple, simply peel the skin off the apple using a vegetable peeler. Use a knife to cut the apple away from the core. Then, dice into small chunks, about ¼ to ½ inch in size. If you prefer smaller pieces, you can always grate the apple on a box grater. 

cake on a pedestal with a large slice taken out and an apple behind it.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting Ingredients

  • Butter: use unsalted room temperature butter for the frosting. 
  • Powdered sugar: you will need about four cups of icing sugar. 
  • Milk: use whole or 2% milk for the frosting. 
  • Vanilla: a tablespoon of vanilla will add great flavor. 
  • Cinnamon: the cinnamon in the frosting adds great flavor to the apple spice cake. 

How to Make Apple Spice Cake

Once you see how easy it is to make apple spice cake from scratch, you’ll never buy the boxed spice cake mix again! Plus, this is a one bowl cake batter, so less mess too. 

Process shots showing how to make recipe including mixing the ingredients in a glass bowl.

Step 1: combine dry ingredients

For the batter, combine all of the dry ingredients and sugars in a large mixing bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment.

Step 2: whisk dry ingredients

Then, use a whisk to mix it all together. Make sure all of the spices are mixed well with the other ingredients. 

Step 3: add in wet ingredients

Then, add the eggs, applesauce, oil, and vanilla right to the same bowl. Use an electric mixer to mix together the ingredients until well combined.

Step 4: mix the batter

Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl.

Step 5: add in the diced apple 

Process shots showing how to bake the dessert.

Lastly, stir in the peeled and diced apple. Use a rubber spatula to ensure that all of the ingredients on the bottom of the bowl have been combined. 

Step 6: line the cake pans

Next, spray the cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. To be extra certain the cake doesn’t stick, it’s a good idea to line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper. 

You can trace a circle on parchment using the bottom of the cake pan and cut it out for this. Alternatively, you can use precut paper liners which are specifically designed for 9-inch cake pans.

Step 7: measure batter into cake pans

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. To ensure that the cake pans have the same amount of batter, I recommend using a kitchen scale if you have one. Otherwise, do your best to eyeball that the cake pans are equal. 

Step 8: bake

Bake the cakes for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Also, note that this cake will turn a golden brown as it bakes. 

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool on a wire baking rack for about 10 minutes. Then, loosen the cake by using a butterknife to run around the edges of the cake pan. 

Flip the cake on the wire cooling rack and out of the cake pan. Remove the parchment liner and cool completely before frosting. 

How to Make Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting is so easy to make and the perfect frosting for an apple spice cake. You can make the frosting up to three days in advance and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Just bring to room temperature before frosting. 

To make the cinnamon buttercream frosting, you will need to start with two room temperature sticks of butter. Place the butter in a large bowl and beat with a hand mixer for about a minute.  

Add in the powdered sugar, two tablespoons of milk (any percent works), vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix on low speed until the frosting comes together. Continue to mix, increasing the speed until the frosting is smooth. 

If the frosting is too thick, add another tablespoon of milk until desired consistency is reached. 

How to Frost and Decorate the Cake

For this recipe, I like to create the rustic effect, similar to what I did for my Limoncello Ricotta Cake recipe. What this means is that instead of applying a thick layer of frosting on the sides of the cake, you use a bench scraper to “scrape off” the side frosting while turning the cake plate. 

Process shots showing how to apply the frosting.

To start, place about a third of the frosting on the top of the bottom layer of the cake. Spread evenly over the cake using a spatula (step 1). 

Then, add on the top layer of the cake and dump the remaining frosting overtop (step 2). Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake and down the sides (step 3). 

Lastly, use a bench scraper to remove the excess frosting off the sides of the cake, exposing the cake layer (step 4). Add the remaining frosting to the top of the cake.

These exposed layers add a rustic effect to the cake. Additionally, I omit any garnishes on the cake, however feel free to add any toppings you like. Edible flowers, dried apples, or a caramel drizzle would all be a pretty addition to this cake.

Keeping this cake “rustic” lets the flavors shine through and doesn’t overwhelm the cake with too much frosting. Moreover, it’s a simple technique that’s perfect for the novice cake maker or less than expert decorator (like me!)

Apple Spice cake on a white pedestal with an apple in the background.

Recipe Tips

  • Don’t over mix the batter. You want to mix it just enough so that all of the ingredients are combined. 
  • Use a firm and sweet apple for this cake. I like Honey crisp or Granny Smith apples. 
  • Make sure the apple spice cakes are fully cooled before frosting them. Fully frosted cake can be refrigerated up to three days in advance. 
  • Equal amounts of Apple Pie Spice is a great substitution for the cinnamon and nutmeg in this recipe. 
Apple spice cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting o a cake stand with apples in the background.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you freeze cake layers ahead of time?

Yes, you CAN freeze cake layers (for this Apple Spice Cake) ahead of time so long as you follow a couple of steps. (Note that this applies only to the cake layers and not frosting, which can be made up to three days in advance.)
Firstly, make the cake according to instructions and cool the cakes on a wire cooling rack. Next, wrap each layer of cake individually using parchment paper. Then, wrap again, tightly, using plastic wrap. Be sure to use enough plastic wrap to fully wrap the individual cake layers so that they are airtight. Finally, to ensure an airtight seal before freezing, place the individual cake layers into gallon-sized ziplock bags. Gently press out any remaining air and seal to close.

How far in advance can you freeze cake layers?

Cake layers can be frozen for up to a month. Just be sure to place in an area in the freezer where the cake layers can’t be disturbed or have any heavy items placed on them. Remove the cake from the freezer about three hours before serving. Or you can thaw a day in advance in the refrigerator. Frost with room temperature frosting so that it spreads easily.

Slice of apple spice cake on a white plate.

More Holiday Baking Recipes

Love baking? Me too! Here are some of my favorite fall recipes that are simple and delicious:

Tried this recipe? Be sure to comment below and let me know what you think. And, be sure to follow me on Facebook for more incredible cake recipes!

Apple Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting.

Apple Spice Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

Apple Spice Cake is made with both applesauce and diced apple chunks. Top it off with a spiced buttercream frosting for one of the most delicious cakes ever. Great for the holidays or anytime of year!
5 from 25 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 428kcal
Cost: 9-11


  • two 9-inch cake pans


  • 2 cups all purpose flour (270 grams)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large apple, peeled and diced into about ¼ inch chunks (I used Honeycrisp)

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, until well combined. Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, and vanilla; beat with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Fold in the diced apples using a spatula until evenly combined.
  • Pour even amounts of the batter into the prepared cake pans (it's helpful to use a kitchen scale for accuracy if you have one). Bake in the middle rack of oven for 35-40 minutes until a deep golden brown color. You will know the cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire cooling rack; remove the cakes from their pans after about 15 minutes of cooling, peeling off the parchment and then let cool completely, about an hour.

Cinnamon Buttercream Frosting

  • While the cake cools, make the frosting. In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter using an electric mixer. Gradually add in the powdered sugar, two tablespoons of milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Continue mixing until desired consistency is reached, adding an additional tablespoon of milk if needed.
  • To frost the cake, place one of the cooled cake rounds on a pedestal or serving plate. Add about ⅓ of the buttercream on top and spread over cake layer. Carefully place on the second, top layer of cake. Scoop the remaining frosting on the top of the cake and use a spatula to spread out the frosting over the top and sides of the cake. To give the cake a more rustic look, while rotating the cake, use a flat edge bench scraper to scrape off the side frosting on the cake. Place any remaining frosting on the top of the cake and use a butterknife to create waves and swirls on top if desired.


  • Don’t over mix the batter. You want to mix it just enough so that all of the ingredients are combined. 
  • Use a firm and sweet apple for this cake. I like Honey crisp or Granny Smith apples. 
  • Make sure the cakes are fully cooled before frosting them. Fully frosted cake can be refrigerated up to three days in advance. 
  • Equal amounts of Apple Pie Spice is a great substitution for the cinnamon and nutmeg in this recipe. 


Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 256mg | Potassium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 354IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. Thank you for the recipe, it was absolutely delicious!! A friend mentioned the possibility of splitting the layers in half and adding alternate layers of apple butter… thoughts?

    1. So happy you enjoyed the recipe! I love the idea of adding apple butter layers. I think that would work out perfect!

  2. Have you tried including raisins in this recipe? I love spice cakes with raisins. Or, would it be a bit an overload on sweetness?

    1. Hi Linda. I think raisins would be so delicious in here and not too sweet at all. Enjoy!

  3. 5 stars
    I bake often and had never baked an apple cake before. I decided this recipe fit the plan for mixing up a quick cake for a party. The cake was absolutely delicious! Every person said the same thing…moist, warm flavor and going on the list of favorite recipes. I did not use nutmeg as I’m not a fan. I added an additional 1/2 tsp of cinnamon instead. For the icing I used my standard cream cheese icing which was perfect for the “ warmth” of the cake. I will definitely bake this again!

    1. Hi Sharon. I’m so happy to hear you loved this cake! It’s one of my favorites! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Gave this a try for a weekend treat, and this recipe does not disappoint! Easy, flavorful and perfect for fall; my whole family loved it!

  5. 5 stars
    This cake was so incredibly good! And the cinnamon frosting took it over the top. Thank you for the great recipe!

  6. 5 stars
    OMG this recipe looks amazing! Im so hungry right now. My Birthday is coming up … I think this is going to be my cake

    1. I’ve made this cake many times now and we love it. I wonder if we could achieve the same results with Olive oil instead of vegetable oil ?

      1. Absolutely! I always sub olive oil in baking with great results. So happy you love the cake 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday, and it was the best apple spice cake ever! I added finely chopped pecans because I love nuts. I was all out of powdered sugar, so I made some of my favorite ermine icing (flour buttercream), adding a bit of cinnamon to it at the end. The final product was deliciously moist and full of apple flavor. It did not last long! Thanks for the recipe.

  8. 5 stars
    So I made this as a practice for my daughters wedding this coming weekend. It was so moist and amazing. I made a salted caramel drizzle as well which really balanced well with the sweetness of the frosting!

  9. 5 stars
    This was absolutely amazing! The flavors were wonderful and it was way easier than I though it would be! Will definitely be making again!

  10. 5 stars
    I think that cakes baked with fruit always stay moist for much longer and I love the idea of getting ahead and freezing the cake too. I’ve not made a naked cake before but your instructions make it sound like I could do this.