Cakes, Desserts, Recipes

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

Umm, so you know how some things are best eaten straight out of the oven, standing at the kitchen counter with a fork poking into the still-too-hot-it’s-burning-your-mouth cake? But you don’t care because it’s just so delicious that if you don’t seize this moment you may very well regret it? Or is that just me?

Well, this is that dessert.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake | thepajamachef.comCinnamon Sugar Apple Cake. It’s what dreams are made of.

Oh–not your dreams? Well, think again. This cake is uber moist [sorry, all you who are averse to that work–I’m not sure how else to describe it] and spongy. The crunchy topping is sugary sweet to the max, a perfect contrast to the fruity sweetness of the cake’s little bits of chewy apple delight. We enjoyed this cake for dessert and also breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Like Lindsay and her husband, Ben and I ate the whole pan in a matter of days. It is just that good. I hope you enjoy it too!

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

  • Servings: 20
  • Print

[from Pinch of Yum]


  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk [I subbed milk and lemon juice]
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped apples [I used Gala once and then Gala/Granny Smith round 2, and didn’t peel them.]
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, egg and buttermilk. Then stir in baking soda and vanilla. Lastly, mix in flour and apples. Pour batter into prepared pan.

In a small bowl, combine sugar, cinnamon, and butter, mixing gently with a fork. Spread it evenly over the batter. It will not fully cover the batter, but it will bake up fine.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.
This recipe is very forgiving. Here are some ways you could alter the original recipe if desired. I do NOT recommend making all the changes at once!
  • Use less brown sugar in the cake: I’ve reduced the brown sugar to 1 cup instead of 1 1/2 before. It’s less sweet but not noticeably so.
  • Substitute the buttermilk for Greek yogurt: I have not tried this but others have.
  • Use white whole wheat flour in place of the all-purpose: I’ve done a straight substitute. I have not tried whole wheat flour though, only white whole wheat which is lighter.
  • Add warm spices to the cake: like 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Some people think the cake is too bland without it. I think adding the spices to the batter takes away from the topping and from the apple-y flavor of the cake, but it’s up to you.
  • Add salt to the cake: some people think the cake batter is too bland without salt. The original recipe did not have salt and since I don’t use salt in baking except for breads, I didn’t see the need to add it. I don’t know how much you would add but you can look at other recipes for cakes made in a 9×13 inch pan and see what amount they use.
  • Double the topping: the topping is not meant to cover every square inch of the cake when it is unbaked. However, when the cake is baked, the cake rises and makes all sorts of yummy nooks and crannies with the topping.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

183 thoughts on “Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake”

  1. I didnt SEE apples mentioned in the directions ? Do they get mixed with the flour or topping. Sorry, I saw them in the ingredients.


    1. Marianne Davison…The last sentence in the paragraph that starts with “Preheat oven…” The last sentence says to mix the ap[les into the batter with the flour. Hope this helps.


  2. Thanks for your patience about THE APPLES.
    I thought I read it thru correctly.BUT in writing it down today, I NOW SEE it clearly in recipe🤣🤪


    1. I haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure. My inclination is that it wouldn’t work very well because the filling (I’m thinking like canned apple pie filling, right?) is too runny. Since this recipe uses chopped, fresh apples, the consistency would be off. But you are welcome to try it and get back to us if it works or not. If you do use the filling, you may want to drain out as much of the liquid as you can and dice the remaining apples.


  3. oh my god, this is my 3rd time making this cake lol each time I knew where I went wrong , & I know what your thinking? its such an easy recipe ,and it is , where could she go wrong???
    lol well I did, I’ve been baking for a long time, and for a long time after my husband died I stopped all that good stuff so maybe im a bit rusty
    but I must say the first time I made your apple cake I didn’t add enough flour, but man it was still so good it prompted me to make another one…… anyway its in the oven now 20 min to go wish me luck
    oh, I absolutely love this recipe and your pics, ill keep coming back
    thank you Elizabeth
    if this fails ill do it again with an abundance of apples , a girl can’t go wrong lol


    1. Just add about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a measuring cup and then fill the measuring cup up with milk to the 1 cup mark. You can also use vinegar instead of lemon juice. Enjoy!


  4. Just took the cake out of the oven, and, burned tongue not withstanding, it is delicious! Mine was very light, sort of bread pudding-ish. I did make a major substitution – I used almond flour in place of the ap flour to keep the carb count down. Doubled the eggs to 2 because of it. I also used 1 cup of Swerve brown sugar substitute and it’s plenty sweet. Added chopped pecans because, well, nuts! Finally, because this will be my weekday breakfast, I made some of the batter into muffins. I haven’t tried one of them, but I am expecting good things!


  5. oh damn, i went to quickly, didnt follow the instruction per word, so the topping was mixed with the batter, lol … i hope it will still come out good 😉


  6. Should the sugar for the topping be white or brown sugar? I have always used white sugar and it taste great but melts into the cake so I was just wondering. Thanks.


  7. Thank you Sarah for sharing this delicious cake recipe. I made it & it turned out perfect, the best apple cake ever, so moist & full of flavour. I doubled the topping for extra crunch but could still taste the delicate apple flavour. Next time I’m going to add a bit more apple but the recipe is perfect as is. Love it!


    1. I’m not sure on a pan of that size. I have only used a 9×13 inch pan myself, but you could try. You may need to adjust the baking time. I would also be careful to not overfill the pan.

      Any kind of apples work! I have used fuji, gala, granny smith, pink lady, etc.


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