Apple Dapple Cake – A Vintage Fall Favourite

A slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.

Apple Dapple Cake is a classic fall cake packed full of warm spices and baked apples which give this vintage cake an incredibly delicious moist texture. The amazing brown butter glaze really takes this cake to another level.

This post first appeared over at Noshing with the Nolands I’m a contributor.

I love sharing my family’s time tested recipes (aka VINTAGE recipes) such as Grandma’s Rhubarb Strawberry Pie and her Creamed Fresh Peas with Basil. There’s nothing like the taste of home to bring absolute comfort in uncertain times.

A white cake pan filled with cake topped with brown butter glaze and pecans.

Apple Dapple Cake

There’s no mistaking it. This apple cake is pure fall comfort on every level. The crumb is tender and moist while the flavour is like a warm hug.

Large pieces of cooked apple are dotted throughout the cake, while the showstopping brown butter glaze creates flavours reminiscent of caramel apple.

Eating this cake while it’s still warm is truly one of life’s great pleasures.

The apples lend to the moistness of the cake plus both the sour cream and canola oil keep it from drying out and add to the texture too. I love adding both of these to a cake.

Eating this cake while it’s still warm is truly one of life’s great pleasures.

A clear mixing bowl filled with apple chunks and cake ingredients.

What is Apple Dapple Cake?

This classic cake recipe first appeared in mid century cookbooks as a moist, even damp cake studded with fresh apples and pecans.

It’s simple to make and contains basic baking ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

The characteristic rippled surface is due to its being jam-packed with apples and nuts. The craggy surface catches all the delicious drizzled brown butter glaze (or brown sugar sauce), another hallmark of this old fashioned treat.

An unbaked cake topped with apple slices.

The sweet glaze appears in many variations from a thin sauce to a thick, almost frosting-like topping. The one constant when it comes to glazing this cake is that it occurs while the cake is still warm.

Glazing the cake while still warm allows the glaze to soak into the surface of the cake and it becomes part of what makes this cake so moist and flavourful. That final touch is literally the icing on the cake!

A baked cake topped with apple slices.

How to Make this Cake

This is a very straightforward cake and it is very simple to bake. The recipe calls for basic pantry ingredients and doesn’t require any extra equipment other than two bowls, a sifter, measuring cups, a knife, a mixing spoon, and an oven.

Begin by sifting the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and spices) together in a medium bowl. Then mix the other ingredients together in a large bowl. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then mix in the peeled and cored apples.

Pour the batter into a prepared pan (9 x 13 cake pan or a bundt pan) and bake for 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. It’s so simple.

To View Ingredients List Click Here!

Cake flour
Baking Soda
Cinnamon
Cloves
Salt
White Sugar
Brown Sugar
Sour Cream
Canola Oil
Eggs
Vanilla Extract
Apples (Jonagolds, Cortlands, Honey Crisps, Pink Ladies, Braeburns, or Granny Smith apples
For the Brown Butter Glaze
Butter
Milk
Brown Sugar
Salt
Powdered (Icing) Sugar
Pecans

A white cake pan filled with cake topped with brown butter glaze and pecans.

How to Make Brown Butter Glaze

This Brown Butter Glaze is based on my family’s traditional doughnut glaze. It is a cooked glaze, where the butter, white sugar and milk are boiled gently together and allowed to cool slightly.

Next, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla extract are added to make a thin glaze. It’s perfect for drizzling onto freshly made doughnuts.

A white cake pan filled with cake topped with brown butter glaze and pecans.

The twist for this recipe requires the butter to be cooked first until it becomes nutty and delicious. Then brown sugar is added instead of white sugar.

Finally, the thickness of the glaze is related to how much powdered sugar is added. For this recipe there are three cups of powdered sugar in the glaze. Feel free to reduce the sugar and adjust the glaze to your liking.

If you would rather skip the sweet brown butter glaze, simply use a strainer to lightly dust the surface of the cake with powdered sugar. The effect on the uneven surface is quite stunning!

A baked cake topped with apple slices sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Which Apples are Best for Baking into a Cake?

Apple Dapple Cake is quite sweet so it is best to use apples that have a sweet, yet sour or tart flavour profile.

Use baking apples that keep their shape such as Jonagolds, Cortlands, Honey Crisps, Pink Ladies, Braeburns, or Granny Smith apples.

Honey Crisps or Pink Ladies have become my latest favorite baking apple as I used to always go for a Granny Smith.

A slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.

Which Baking Pan is Best for Apple Dapple Cake?

There’s no need for fancy cake pans when baking this marvelous cake. A simple 9 x 13 inch baking pan is used for this recipe.

However, feel free to use a smaller 8 x 11-inch pan (the cake will be taller) and even a bundt pan or tube pan.

Keep in mind that if you use another style of pan, the baking time will change accordingly. It’s always best to bake the cake for the bulk of the baking time, test it with a cake tester and adjust accordingly.

A slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.

Tips for Making a Great Cake

  • always use room temperature eggs
  • use cake flour for a lighter crumb
  • sift flour together with dry ingredients for an airy texture with no lumps
  • add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in stages
  • grease pan well so cake squares can easily be removed from the pan
  • peel the apples to avoid having tough apple skins after baking
  • whisk the brown sugar glaze vigorously or process it in a blender to avoid lumps
  • pour caramel sauce over warm cake
  • eat a huge slice while the cake is still warm
A slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.

How to Store Apple Dapple Cake

Store any remaining cake in the pan for up to 4 days. Simply cover the pan with plastic wrap or beeswax wrap and store it on the counter so you can snack on it regularly.

Think of this cake for breakfast the next morning!! Heavens that would pull me right out of bed.

If you would like to make the cake ahead of time just let it cool completely then wrap with both plastic wrap and then foil. Place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

A slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.

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Pinterest image of a slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.
Yield: 12 servings

Apple Dapple Cake

A slice of chunky apple cake topped with brown sugar glaze and pecans.

Apple Dapple Cake is a classic fall cake packed full of warm spices and baked apples which give this vintage cake an incredibly delicious moist texture. The amazing brown butter glaze really takes this cake to another level.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup canola oil 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 apples; peeled, cored, and chopped (Jonagolds, Cortlands, Honey Crisps, Pink Ladies, Braeburns, or Granny Smith apples)
  • 1 apple; peeled, cored, and sliced into rings (optional)

FOR THE FROSTING

  • 1/2  cup butter; unsalted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 - 3 cups powdered (icing) sugar
  • 1 cup pecans; chopped

Instructions

    1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. Prepare a 9 x 13 baking pan by rubbing the bottom and sides with butter.
    2. Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt) together over a medium bowl.
    3. In a large bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients (sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla) together with the two sugars.
    4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, stirring each time.
    5. Peel, core, and chop three apples and mix into the wet batter. Slice the other peeled and cored apple into rings. Pour into prepared baking pan.
    6. Slightly smooth out the lumpy batter and arrange rings on the surface of the batter.
    7. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes, then test cake with a wooden skewer. If it is still quite soft and gooey, bake for another ten and test again. Cake is done when the skewer comes out clean.


FOR THE BROWN BUTTER FROSTING

    1. While the cake is baking, melt 1/2 cup butter in a medium saucepan. Allow it to foam up and darken slightly. The butter is 'browned' when it has darkened and released a sweet nutty aroma.
    2. Add the brown sugar and milk to the browned butter and allow to come to a rolling boil.
    3. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes.
    4. At this point, the solids have separated. Add the mixture to a blender and process until smooth.
    5. Add the salt, then icing sugar one cup at a time (processing in between additions) until you have reached the desired consistency.
    6. Pour over warm cake. Scatter chopped pecans over the glaze. Let sit for ten minutes and serve.

Notes

If you wish to skip the frosting, simply finish the top of the cake with a light dusting of powdered (icing) sugar.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 572Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 55mgSodium: 425mgCarbohydrates: 75gFiber: 3gSugar: 53gProtein: 4g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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30 comments

  1. Sharon

    This is such a delicious fall dessert! The simple frosting with crunchy nuts makes it even better.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      The frosting is icing on the cake!

      Reply

  2. Elaine

    A classic apple cake! This is a delicious recipe that has stood the test of time! Love the way you’ve arranged the apple slices on top!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It sure is a classic! Such a treat when it’s eaten while still warm too.

      Reply

  3. Amanda

    This apple dapple cake turned out beautifully! Every bite was so moist with the perfect touch of spice, and that brown butter frosting was such a decadent finishing touch. I’ll definitely make this again for the fall!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Glad you enjoyed it Amanda. I’m hoping to make one again soon.

      Reply

  4. Marjory

    Love this recipe, especially with apples sliced across! It will bring fall right into your house!

    Reply

  5. NANCY

    What a great time to make cake then now during apple season!! I love the brown butter frosting!! yummy!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It really is a treat. Thanks for stopping by Nancy.

      Reply

  6. Sharon

    Yes to this cake!! All the things I love are in here: apples, pecans, and all-around cake-y goodness. My mom swore by granny smiths but I am also leaning towards the honey crisp like you. I love them for eating also. 🙂

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Agree…to me they are the perfect apple for baking and eating fresh.

      Reply

  7. Aleta

    YUM! This is such a great fall cake, with all of those delicious flavours. It really is like a caramel apple cake, especially with that addicting cream sauce and chopped pecans!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Yep, all those flavours together really scream FALL!

      Reply

  8. Andrea Howe

    Really delicious recipe, I love apples and in cake form? even better! Can’t wait to give it a try

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Awesome…thanks for stopping by Andrea.

      Reply

  9. Sues

    I love the name of this cake and that brown butter frosting looks like it’s to die for!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Same here. I couldn’t resist sharing it!

      Reply

  10. Denise

    This reminds me of something my Grandmother used to make, I can’t wait to try your recipe and bring back some memories.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      ah yes, it is a very vintage recipe…one that has lasted the test of time!

      Reply

  11. Kushigalu

    This cake looks so moist and I am totally in love with the flavors here. Perfect treat for fall. Thanks for sharing

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      You are very welcome Kushigalu

      Reply

  12. Paula Montenegro

    One can never have too many simple apple cakes and this one looks amazing! The brown butter topping is genius and love how you decorated it with apple rings. A truly perfect fall cake. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      So true. I find the brown butter drizzle really takes the cake to a whole other level.

      Reply

  13. Tammy

    Such a fun name for a cake! I think this sounds absolutely wonderful and has all my favorite fall flavors. There is nothing quite as comforting as apple cake in the fall <3

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      That’s the truth! Thank you for stopping by Tammy.

      Reply

  14. Rebecca Blackwell

    Made the over the weekend and my husband and I almost ate the entire thing in one sitting! Soooooo delicious!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Ha! That’s awesome. I personally think it makes an excellent breakfast.

      Reply

  15. Veronika Sykorova

    This cake looks so soft and airy, I can’t wait to make it! I’ve always liked apples more than pumpkin in the fall, mostly because of the texture.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Same here. I much prefer apple over pumpkin for fall flavours.

      Reply

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