Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

282 reviews / 4.7 average

This cinnamon sugar apple cake is just one of those things that is very regular but somehow elevates the day a little bit. It’s low maintenance, highly snackable, and 100% as warming, fragrant, and cozy a basic apple cake should be. 

This apple cake is:

  • light and fluffy
  • loaded with fresh apples
  • sweet but not overly sweet
  • magically crispy with that layer of cinnamon-sugar on top
  • a nice vehicle for some whipped cream or honey butter
  • excellent with coffee
  • and a sweater
  • and a fall candle
  • coming to you, warm, fresh-out-the-oven, in just under an hour.

How To Cut Apples For Apple Cake, In My (Un)Professional Opinion

First of all, let me just establish that I do not peel my apples for anything. No thanks, man. I just cannot be bothered to spend any time removing a perfectly good, edible, nutritious peel. You go ahead and make the rules in your own kitchen.

Here are some apple cutting options for you:

Three types of sliced apples.
  • Finely diced (top): classic apple cake situation. You’ll get tiny pockets of juicy apple tucked into your cake. Very normal and delicious.
  • Thinly sliced (middle): my personal favorite. I use a mandoline (affiliate link) to slice the apples super thinly, and then I run through them again with a knife to create bite-sized, paper-thin pieces of apple. This allows you to still get those pockets of apple in your cake, but helps distribute the apples a bit better so you’re not ending up with such heavy chunks of apple in the cake.
  • Shredded (bottom): the pieces of apple will magically sort of “disappear” into the cake. No pockets of apples – just lots of that naturally wonderful apple sweetness. This is my second favorite way to cut the apples.

Here’s How To Make Apple Cake

Mix your apples into the batter.

Cake batter with apples in a bowl.

Top with that buttery cinnamon sugar sand.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake in a pan before baking.

Bake, slice, and now eat, like, a lot of apple cake.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake with bite taken out.

This cake was the perfect weekend treat (not to mention Monday snack and Tuesday 2nd dinner), and guess what’s right around the corner?  Wednesday breakfast.

Add some honey butter and coffee and you are in Cozy Fall Business.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake with bite being taken.

In our house, we have no problem eating the. whole. thing.  As in, two adults and one entire cake. A little piece here, and a little piece there, and three more pieces after dinner, and suddenly it’s time to make another apple cake.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake:

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Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 12 1x


This simple cinnamon sugar apple cake is light and fluffy, loaded with fresh apples, and topped with a crunchy cinnamon sugar layer!



Apple Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon white vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chopped apples (see notes)

Cinnamon Sugar Topping:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix ingredients in order given, stirring until just combined.
  2. Pour batter into a buttered 9×13 pan.
  3. Combine last 3 ingredients to make a topping and sprinkle / spread it evenly over the batter.
  4. Bake for 45 minutes. Serve with honey butter or whipped cream if you want. APPLE CAKE IS THE BEST!



Apples: I found that two average sized apples was about the right amount to get 2-ish cups of cut apples. For cuts/textures, see the photo and notes in the post! I like to use a crispy, sweet apple like Honeycrisp for this cake, but honestly, I think just about any type of apple would work.

Types of Oil: Canola or vegetable oil is what I normally use, but olive oil is also really delicious in baked goods – it just has a unique, distinct, olive oily flavor. Also, I haven’t tried it yet but I’d be willing to bet that an equal amount of coconut oil or butter would work, too.

Honey Butter: Mix 2-3 tablespoons softened butter with 2-3 tablespoons of honey. Add a sprinkle of sea salt if you want to take it over the top (you do).

  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: cinnamon apple cake, cinnamon sugar apple cake, apple cake

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  1. Pinch of Yum Logo

    That’s one great looking cake! It sounds absolutely delicious as well. And I’m exactly the same when it comes to clothes – I have so many skirts like that in my closet.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Davis Priest

        OMG ladies get it together rock that skirt and eat that apple cake like a boss I am 170 pound women who wears bikinis and slim fitting dresses I bet you can work it. BTW I also ate this whole cake…….. in one sitting enjoy!!

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Mini Verduzco

            I made this cake last week for a ladies bible study group. They loved it. I making it again tonight.
            Thanks for the recipe.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          LOL!! Yessss- we are going to need a bigger pencil skirt! Love it– Life is short- eat the damn cake. 🙂

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Awesome cake…had a hard time getting the middle to cook…only thing i will probably do different my next time is make it in bread dish or muffin pan…the recipe it delicious as is…thank you for sharing

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Zoobiada Ayoub

            Omg i just made this. So yum turned out perfect kids ate it too

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Thanks for the recipe!
        1. If I sub for milk and vineger or milk and yogurt how much would you put of each?
        2. Is the 9×13 pan size in inches or centimeters?
        3. Is it possible to make the cake in a round pan? If yes what size and would you change the baking time or quantities?

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          Hi, I have just made this cake. I used a 9cmx13cm pan, I didn’t use the milk and vinegar, I used the plain yogurt and milk and used half a cup of each. If using a round pan I reckon a 9inch deep pan.

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Amanda, I don’t think your unit of measure was correct, I’m pretty sure it’s inches as in 9in x 13in what you wrote converts to approximately 4in x 5in and I believe it’d be a 9 inch round pan as opposed to 9 inches deep…

          2. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Daisy Bonneau

            I’m going to make this very soon! And I’m super duper excited

          3. Pinch of Yum Logo

            I don’t have stoneware to bake this in. If I use a glass dish or a non stick steel pan would you suggest I change the temperature and or baking time? Looking forward to making this!

          4. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Krista @ Pinch of Yum

            Hi Maria! The advice from this post says to “to lower the oven temperature by 25°F from what the recipe calls for, and bake up to 10 minutes longer” if baking in a glass dish.

        2. Pinch of Yum Logo

          With all due respect. 9 cm would be way too Small, and cake batter…why would the cake mould make a difference as long as well greased!. Milk and yog..are both dairy…vinegar makes it buttermilk…never tried yoghurt, but would mix yoghurt and water…just my pov…to make same amount….delicious cake btw

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Was wondering if I can substitute an apple compote for the chopped apples?

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Can I halve this recipe to make a smaller cake? It’s just my husband and I.
            Thanks so much.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Family (me, daughter and husband) absolutely love the cake. But seeing as though its just the 3 of us, and those darn clothes we have to fit into, I’m curious on how you recommend storing the uneaten portion.

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi, Danielle! We haven’t tried freezing this cake yet, but it sounds like some other readers have tried it out. You could try freezing any uneaten portions for later. 🙂

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Tara Clausen

          In my house if is myself and my two seniors (1 is diabetic) and this is a large cake for us. I have made twice and frozen and it was still delicious.

      2. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I’ve made this before and it’s always been incredible! Now I’d like to make a bunch of small cakes, more like the size of a loaf or banana bread, for gifts.. Do I need to adjust the baking time? Would it be detrimental to bake something like 4 at a time?

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I thought you said to start off with a cake mix for the cinnamon cake receipt and then add the apples, etc ?

  2. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Apples + cinnamon + sugar > pencil skirt. Besides, there’s fruit, so it’s healthy.

    Also, I would be all about having this cake for dinner, and second dinner. And maybe mid-afternoon tea, as well. (I have the eating schedule of a hobbit. [Nerd reference])

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Hi! What can I substitute the flour with to make this gluten free? Oat flour? Gluten free flour blend? Thanks!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Krista Teigen

          We haven’t tried the recipe using gluten free flour, but we think both oat flour and gluten free flour could be good options. If you give either a try, we’d love to know how it worked out!

          1. Pinch of Yum Logo

            Would this still work without the sugar/cinnamon topping?
            Looks and sounds so delicious!

          2. Pinch of Yum Logo
            Krista Teigen

            Yes, you can make this cake without the cinnamon sugar topping!

  3. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Aine @ Something to Chew Over

    I love the combination of apple and cinnamon! You’re making my mouth water 🙂

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo
        Cindy Kocol

        This is baking in my oven now. After 45 minutes of baking, how do I test to make sure the cake is done? If I test it by poking the center with a toothpick, should it come out clean?

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Everything I moderation. I eat anything I want , because I eat healthy and woork out twice a week. Works for me!

  4. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Nicki @ Nick-Stirs

    My parents are coming into town this weekend – and I recently realized I have never had the opportunity to cook for them in my own home. But they love apples, and cinnamon, and cake…

    Fate? I think so.

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Nicky L

          Thanks Lindsay, this looks amazing – I don’t tend to have buttermilk, can you tell me please what proportion milk/yoghurt? Can’t wait to make this!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo

          When you say flour, are you meaning All Purpose or Self Rising?? Wanna make for Thanksgiving and don’t wanna mess it up, Thank you!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      By soda I’m assuming you mean baking soda? Just had to double check- I need to make an apple cake for a harvest party coming up and this looks like the best so far!

        1. Pinch of Yum Logo
          Marie Conroy

          Made this cake today….what a hit with my husband. So most and light, and even with the sugars…not sweet. It is a keeper in my books. Five stars for sure.

  5. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I really don’t think I’d be able to resist this – it looks delicious! Perfect cake for autumn too 🙂

  6. Pinch of Yum Logo
    Soo @ Little Miss Fitness

    I like this apple tradition, too. Keep it up! 🙂

    This weekend, I’m doing my last long run before my half marathon next weekend! J and I just finished a not so successful tennis match with our good friends and I’m going to open my good friend, Haagen Daaz. It’s a good night. 🙂

  7. Pinch of Yum Logo

    soooper tempting cake…gorgeous pics makes me craving..
    first time here…love your space..
    very interesting posts..
    Am your happy follower now..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  8. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I agree that money spent on food is money well spent! Loved your post and love the photos of the cake- if I was here this weekend, I would surely be baking some. For now, I’ll just look at the photos and day dream about eating it! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        Yessssss… me too! <3 Honeycrisp apples, though it may just be the name that's so appealing (a-peel-ing… ha). I just found your recipe and am running out to buy apples right now to bake this! Can't wait to taste it 🙂

  9. Pinch of Yum Logo

    when you say soda, do you mean baking soda? I dont want my cake to taste like cola 🙂

  10. Pinch of Yum Logo

    After performing my weekend ritual of making your granola recipe, my sister-in-law and I are about to bake this amazing cake! Thanks for my daily dose of inspiration to take time for the things that feed my soul. And by the way, I had to give my pencil skirt to aforementioned sister-in-law, due to a few too many of your recipes. 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Arg those pencil skirts! I saw your list of items that you were making last night on facebook. You are one motivated cook! 🙂

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        I just tried this recipe and followed it exactly (I used the vinegar and milk as I didn’t have any buttermilk) and I used melted butter instead of oil. It was amazing! So good. Everyone in my family loved it. I chose to make a simple vanilla glaze to pour on top which just made it even better.

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      …Or with warm vanilla sauce like they serve with apple strudel in Germany.
      Made this cake and it was fabulous. Everybody loved it!❤️

    2. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Had the recipe been altered for the Cinnamon Sugar Apple Cake at some point? When I printed your website recipe, it had DOUBLED all the ingredients but still bake 325° for 45 min in 9×13″ pan. What?! So now i have a double recipe in a 9×13 in the oven! Very disappointed!

  11. Pinch of Yum Logo

    Don’t you just love the wide variety of fresh apples in the Fall? Yummy sounding recipe!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo
      Sarah L.

      Just made this and it was yummy! I think next time the pinch of yum recipe could use a pinch of salt in the cake batter. I also decreased sugar in batter by 1/2 a cup,and it was plenty sweet. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      Thank you for this lovely recipe. I made it tonight and the whole family loved it!

  12. Pinch of Yum Logo

    This looks so delicious! My mouth is watering right now.

    And after getting married, I have a handful of skirts that don’t fit me anymore.

    Whatever… I just love cakes way too much 🙂

    1. Pinch of Yum Logo

      I made this cake yesterday and it’s delicious. It has a wonderful soft texture. I did sub 3/4 cup white sugar and 3/4 cup brown sugar and used butter instead of oil. Also made a traditional streusal topping by adding a little flour and 1/2 cup of nuts. Lovely cake!

      1. Pinch of Yum Logo

        PS. Next time I’m going to use 3 apples instead of 2. Also I put a little extra flour into the apples before adding them to the batter. It absorbs the juice, I find, and keeps apples from sinking.

  13. Pinch of Yum Logo

    I made this at work for my clients but only had dark brown sugar. It was good but seemed more like a spice cake. I also made it today but instead of oil I used applesauce. It turned out so delicious. Now I just need to bust out the will power. I am already wanting another piece. Thanks for your awesome recipes!