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Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

Deeply flavored with browned butter, cinnamon, and tart chopped apples, this Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting is the perfect Fall dessert!

Make sure to try my Homemade Apple Pie Recipe too! It’s the best!

Old Fashioned Frosted Apple Cake

The other day, I suddenly had the idea to make a classic Bundt cake studded with fresh apples. Old fashioned, heavy on the brown sugar and cinnamon, basically a mouthwatering dessert no one could resist.

So I made the cake. And then I ate the cake. And then I couldn’t stop eating the cake.

So I gave the cake away. Which is now someone else’s problem. And “problem” it for sure is. This apple cake is absolutely, insanely delicious. And oh yeah, there’s a perfect brown butter frosting that will change your life.

Brown butter apple bundt cake with a slice taken out

This Easy Cake is Perfect for Fall Baking!

The perfect fall bake should make your house smell like a combination of heaven, apples, and a rack of holiday spices, right? Well, this one is all of that and more. (By “more,” I mean browned butter.) Baked up in a Bundt pan and topped with a halo of browned butter frosting, it’s like an autumn walk down a mountain trail… but as, um, cake. Or something.

I’m usually not a huge Bundt cake girl, because 1) the damn cakes always stick to the pan, and 2) there is never enough frosting. But, in recent years I’ve made peace with the fact that it might stick to the pan (enter frosting).

But when I discovered Kentucky Butter Cake I knew I had to come around the Bundt side of things. And fast. So I learned to grease that pan within an inch of its life, let the cake rest for about 10 minutes before unmolding it, and… slather it with frosting no matter how it turns out. Perfect!

Ingredients for apple brown butter cake in bowls

What You’ll Need

Baking an apple cake like this is super easy to do, and you only need a few basic ingredients to mix it up and get it in the oven. Let’s take a closer look (for the full recipe card with amounts, scroll to the bottom of this post):

For the Cake:

  • Butter: The butter should be softened to room temperature.
  • Sugar: A combination of brown sugar and white sugar adds a deeper, richer taste.
  • Eggs: Large, whole eggs give the best flavor and texture to the cake.
  • Vanilla: Pure vanilla extract gives the best flavor.
  • Baking Soda: Make sure to use baking soda, not baking powder!
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon: You can use just cinnamon, or substitute an apple pie spice blend.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour works perfectly here.
  • Apples: For the chopped apples, use tart apples like Granny Smith. See the section below on choosing the best apples for baking!

For the Frosting:

  • Butter: Salted or unsalted is fine, according to your taste.
  • Powdered Sugar: To give body and sweetness to the frosting.
  • Vanilla
  • Milk: You’ll need a couple of tablespoons of milk to thin the frosting to the right consistency.

The Best Apples for Baking

Depending on what you’re making, you may want a softer and sweeter apple, or apples that are more tart and firm. In general, baking apples are on the firmer side, so they don’t turn to mush during the baking process. Some of the most-loved baking apples include:

  • Granny Smith
  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • Empire
  • Cortland
  • Winesap
  • Jonathan
  • McIntosh

How to Make Apple Cake

To make the apple cake, we’ll follow the typical pattern of creaming the butter and sugar, adding wet/dissolving ingredients, and then incorporating the flour and fruit. Easy!

Preheat the Oven and Grease the Pan. First, preheat the oven to 350°F. Then, generously grease a fluted Bundt pan (12 cup).

Cream the Butter and Sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. You can also do this with a handheld mixer, or by hand (if you have a mighty arm or maybe some kitchen helpers!).

Cake better in a bowl with a spatula

Add the Eggs, Flavorings, and Baking Soda. When the butter and sugars are light and creamy, beat in the eggs and vanilla and until smooth, followed by the baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Beat until completely incorporated.

Add the Flour and Apples. Turn your mixer to low, and add in the all-purpose flour. Mix until just combined, and then stir in the chopped apples.

Unbaked cake batter in a bundt pan

Bake. Fill the prepared Bundt pan with the apple cake batter, and bake for about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then remove the cake from pan. Place it on a wire rack to continue cooling.

How to Make the Brown Butter Frosting

Usually, butter is softened to room temp for making frosting, but with this recipe, it’s melted so that it can be lightly browned. Be careful not to burn it! Burned butter does not have the same charm… Ask me how I know.

  1. Brown the Butter. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, and cook it briefly over medium heat until butter is a golden color, stirring consistently.
  2. Beat in the Remaining Ingredients. As soon as the butter is golden, remove it from the heat and beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the milk, using a hand mixer. If the frosting isn’t soft enough, add more milk until you get the consistency you want.
  3. Frost and Serve. Frost the top of the cooled cake generously with the frosting, slice, and serve.
  4. Enjoy!
A slice of frosted bundt cake on a cooling rack

Tips for Success

Before you get started making this spectacular apple cake, check out these handy tips! Happy baking!

  • Trust the Process: The cake batter is very thick and stiff, but it’s supposed to be that way! The apples will add moisture as they cook. It can be helpful to spoon the batter in dollops into the pan, and then gently press it down and around to fill the shaped interior of the pan.
  • Make a Glaze: If you’d prefer a glazed Bundt cake instead of a frosted one, you can thin the frosting mixture with extra milk to create a creamy glaze.
  • Add Nuts: This cake is perfect as-is, but it also plays well with a sprinkling of chopped walnuts! You can add them into the batter, or sprinkle on top of the frosting for a pretty finish—or both.
A slice of bundt cake on a white plate with a fork

How to Store Frosted Bundt Cake

Store this cake at room temperature in a covered, preferably airtight, container. It will keep for up to 3 days. You can also store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Can I Freeze Extra Slices?

Yes! This cake freezes well for up to three months. Keep the slices from drying out by pressing wax paper or parchment squares against the cut sides, and freeze on a baking sheet or plate until the frosting is solid. Then wrap well in plastic wrap, and store in the freezer. Thaw before serving.

More Apple Dessert Ideas

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Brown butter apple bundt cake with a slice taken out

Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting

  • Author: Shelly | Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting is the perfect Fall dessert! You’ll love the combination of golden browned butter, warm cinnamon, and tart chopped apples, all in a gorgeous frosted Bundt cake.


Ingredients

Scale

Cake

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 cups chopped apples, about 3 medium. I used Granny Smith

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 23 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Generously grease a fluted bundt pan (12 cup pan)
  3. In bowl of stand mixer beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  5. Add in baking soda, salt and cinnamon and beat until incorporated.
  6. Turn mixer to low and add in flour. Mix until just combined.
  7. Stir in chopped apples.
  8. Fill prepared pan with cake batter and bake for 55-65 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  9. Allow cake to cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove cake from pan onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

Frosting

  1. In a small saucepan melt butter and cook over medium heat until butter is a golden color, stirring consistently.
  2. As soon as butter is golden, remove from heat and beat in powdered sugar, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk using a hand mixer. Add more milk until the consistency you desire is reached. if you prefer more of a glaze than a frosting you will need to add a few more tablespoons of milk than the recipe calls for.
  3. Frost top of cake.
  4. Slice and serve.

Notes

  • To store at room temperature, cover the cake and keep for up to 3 days.
  • To refrigerate, place in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze, wrap slices tightly in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Keywords: apple cake, bundt cake, brown butter frosting

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71 comments on “Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting”

  1. The best Apple cake we ever ate! I made it exactly by the recipe! My husband loved it! Thanks so much! You made our day! : – )

  2. Absolutely delicious. Everyone who tries it asks for the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to trying your apple pie recipe.

  3. To insure that cakes, muffins , cookies & cupcakes slip out of and off sheets easily , coat pans lightly with this following mixture. I was given this recipe in the very early 70’s and never at any time am I without a container on the shelf of my refrigerator. 1 cup shortening, 3/4 cup oil,(I only use Crisco), 1 cup all purpose flour. Mix ingredients thoroughly and store in container in refrigerator or cool pantry. I apply using wax paper but you could use a basting brush. So much easier and far cheaper than buying aerosol sprays.

  4. What kind of cupcakes would you but the browned butter frosting on? I am making cupcakes for my Uncle’s 80th and would love to do this frosting but having never tried it and i could use some suggestions! Thank you!

    1. Oh that would be great on literally ANY cake! Vanilla, chocolate, caramel, yellow cake, spiced cake, pumpkin…

  5. My frosting come out really runny. Should I add more powdered sugar? I followed the recipe. I don’t want a glaze. Help

  6. I just saw this recipe 3 hours ago and made it. I didn’t wait for the cake to cool and had a warm piece slathered with frosting. HOLY COW, I died and went to heaven. I am making this for Thanksgiving. I am sure your pumpkin version is equally delicious. Thank you!

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