Apple Fritter Cake

published Sep 14, 2023
Apple Fritter Cake Recipe

Apple fritter cake takes everything you love about the classic donut and turns it into a decadent dessert.

Serves9-12

Prep30 minutes to 45 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
sliced apple fritter cake on white parchment
Credit: Kristina Vanni

Apple fritter cake is everything you love about an apple fritter donut, but in the form of a showstopping cake. This fall-inspired cake is overflowing with diced fresh apples, just like a classic apple fritter. 

There’s no doubt that this recipe blurs the line between an indulgent breakfast treat and decadent dessert. It tastes great served with a cup of coffee in the morning, but you could also certainly enjoy it with a scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream as a holiday dessert. 

Credit: Kristina Vanni

How to Make Apple Fritter Cake

  • Make the cake batter. The batter for this apple fritter cake is made by first combining the dry ingredients — flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda — in the bowl of a stand mixer. Then pour in melted butter, followed by eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract. 
  • Prepare the apple filling and topping. The cake has two layers of apple filling: one inside the cake, and one on top. To prepare the filling, toss diced apples with brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour to coat. 
  • Layer in an 8-inch square pan. Pour half of the cake batter into a parchment-lined baking pan, followed by half of the apple filling. Then, spread the remaining batter on top, followed by the remaining apple filling. 
  • Add the cinnamon-sugar sprinkle. Just before the cake goes into the oven, sprinkle a cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. 
  • Bake the cake. The cake is baked at 350ºF for 65 to 75 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. I suggest placing the cake on a rimmed baking sheet as it bakes, just in case there is any overflow from the pan. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes, then use the parchment to lift the cake out of the pan and let cool completely. 
  • Drizzle with glaze. Prepare a simple glaze with powdered sugar and milk (apple cider or apple juice would also work well!) and drizzle over the cake before serving. 
Credit: Kristina Vanni

Apple Fritter Cake Recipe

Apple fritter cake takes everything you love about the classic donut and turns it into a decadent dessert.

Prep time 30 minutes to 45 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes

Serves 9-12

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 1/4 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    baking soda

  • 12 tablespoons

    (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • 3

    large eggs

  • 3/4 cup

    buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons

    vanilla extract

For the fritter filling and topping:

  • 1/2 cup

    packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    ground cinnamon, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples (4 medium)

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

For the cider glaze:

  • 1/2 cup

    powdered sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    milk, apple cider, or unfiltered apple juice, plus more as needed

Instructions

Make the cake batter:

  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with 2 sheets of parchment paper, positioning them perpendicular to each other, so that the parchment hangs about 2 inches over all 4 sides of the pan to form a sling.

  2. Place 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda in the bowl of a stand mixer (or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer or mixing by hand) and whisk to combine.

  3. Melt 12 tablespoons unsalted butter in a small saucepan over low heat (or melt in the microwave). Pour into the flour mixture and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed or stir with a wooden spoon until it resembles wet sand. Beat in 3 large eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition as needed, until combined. Add 3/4 cup buttermilk and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and beat, scraping down the bowl as needed, until the batter is smooth.

Make the fritter filling and topping:

  1. Place 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of the ground cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour in a second large bowl and stir to combine. Peel, core, and dice 1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apples into 1/2-inch pieces until you have 4 cups; save any remaining apple for another use. Add the apples to the cinnamon sugar and toss to coat.

  2. Transfer half of the cake batter into the baking pan and spread into an even layer, going all the way to the edges. Top with 2 cups of the apple mixture and press it lightly into the batter. Dollop the remaining batter over the apples and spread to the edges, covering the apples completely. Sprinkle with the remaining apple mixture, covering the entire surface of the cake.

  3. Place 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a small bowl and stir to combine. Sprinkle evenly over the apples.

  4. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, 65 to 80 minutes. Place the baking pan on a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes.

  5. Grasping the excess parchment, lift the cake slab out of the pan and place on the wire rack. Keep on the parchment and let cool completely, 45 to 60 minute.

Make the glaze:

  1. When ready to serve, make the glaze. Place 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons milk or apple cider in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. If the glaze is too thick to drizzle, whisk in more milk or apple cider a few drops at a time as needed. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake and let sit until set, about 15 minutes. Cut into 9 or 12 pieces.

Recipe Notes

Storage: The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, refrigerate for up to 1 week or wrap airtight and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator before serving.