Old Fashioned Warm Apple Cake


Apple Cake just like the Old Fashioned kind Grandma used to make! This simple moist fall cake is dotted with plenty of apples and swirled with those sweet autumn spices we all love! It’s perfect for an after dinner treat but delicious enough to serve as a holiday dessert.

Apple cake with a caramel sauce served on a white plate that's decorated with apples and cinnamon sticks.

Apple Cake with a Brown Sugar Caramel Sauce

This time of year of totally get carried away with the pumpkin desserts and I don’t make near enough apple desserts.

I’m just a little crazy about pumpkin I guess. But then I go and make apple desserts like this seriously dreamy Old Fashioned Warm Apple Cake and it makes me realize I should be making equal the amount of apple desserts!


This cake will totally remind you of a cake your grandma made. I love that it tastes like the apple cake my grandma made. One of these days I’m going to track down her recipes but until then I just have to imitate them.

A whole apple cake in a glass baking dish.

This cake starts with a buttery spiced batter and itty bitty chunks of juicy, sweet and tart apples are mixed in. Then it’s baked up to perfection and served warm with a sticky, warm caramel brown sugar sauce. Yes indeed, this cake is what fall is all about!

Ingredients You’ll Need for This Recipe

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Salt
  • Spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
  • Apples
  • Lemon
  • Granulated sugar and light brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Eggs
  • Pecans (optional)
  • Milk
  • Vanilla

Two slices of apple cake on dessert plates.

How to Make Apple Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease baking dish.
  • Whisk dry ingredients and spices.
  • Toss apples with lemon.
  • Cream sugars and butter until fluffy.
  • Mix in eggs then blend in flour mixture.
  • Mix in apples.
  • Pour batter into pan and spread even.
  • Bake until set and serve with brown sugar caramel sauce.

Old Fashioned Warm Apple Cake | Cooking Classy

Tips for This Recipe

  • Use a few different types of apples for best flavor, sweet and sour baking apples.
  • This makes a really thick batter so don’t be alarmed when you are mixing it together, the liquid will come from the apples and the juice in them will seep into the cake as it bakes.
  • Make the caramel sauce just before the cake finishes so you can serve them warm together.

Make this cake at least once this fall. It will likely become a yearly autumn must! I think it will be one of my new go-to Sunday desserts. I love old fashioned stuff like this!

More Cake Recipes You’ll Love!

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Old Fashioned Warm Apple Cake

This cake starts with a buttery spiced batter and itty bitty chunks of juicy, sweet and tart apples are mixed in. Then it's baked up to perfection and served warm with a sticky, warm brown sugar sauce (that tastes like caramel!). This cake is what fall is all about!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 15
Calories: 355 kcal
Author: Jaclyn



  • 2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt or table salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 cups (468g) peeled, cored and 1/4-inch diced apples*
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (210g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (58g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, for topping (optional)

Sticky brown sugar sauce

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
  • 1 cup (220g) packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. For the apple cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 by 8-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves for 20 seconds, set aside. In a separate medium mixing bowl toss apple cubes with lemon juice, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment whip together granulated sugar, brown sugar, and butter until pale and fluffy. 
  4. Mix in eggs one at a time. With mixer set on low speed slowly add in flour mixture and mix just until combined (batter will be really thick). 
  5. Add apples and mix just until combined (batter will still be thick). Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer. 
  6. Bake in preheated oven until toothpick inserted into center comes out free of batter (a moist crumb is fine), about 33 - 38 minutes (prepare topping around last 5 - 10 minutes of baking so they'll both be served warm). 
  7. Let cool about 5 minutes then cut into squares and serve warm topping each slice with sauce and optional pecans.
  8. For the sauce: In a medium saucepan combine butter, brown sugar, milk and salt (you can add a little extra if you like more of a salted caramel/toffee flavor).
  9.  Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Allow to boil 1 1/2 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  10. Let sauce cool slightly. Serve warm over warm cake.

Recipe Notes

  1. I recommend using a blend of tart and sweet apples for this cake. I used granny smith, golden delicious and gala.
  2. Note that as the sauce sits and cools the brown sugar will begin to crystalize. Simply microwave it, in a large microwave safe bowl, until it bubbles, about 1 minute and whisk well.
Nutrition Facts
Old Fashioned Warm Apple Cake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 355 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 215mg 9%
Potassium 140mg 4%
Total Carbohydrates 52g 17%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 35g
Protein 3g 6%
Vitamin A 8.6%
Vitamin C 2.2%
Calcium 5.2%
Iron 7.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


  • Kathy: This cake looks absolutely INCREDIBLE and exactly what I feel like making today!! Any ideas for vegan egg substitutes at all? December 16, 2016 at 10:41am Reply

  • Jessie: I made this last weekend and we’ve added it to our Thanksgiving dessert menu. Delicious! We actually liked it better the next day. I think the flavors had a chance to develop a bit more and it was even more moist. The sauce reheated easily. My husband may have had a piece for breakfast! :) Thanks for another great recipe! November 11, 2016 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m happy to hear your family enjoyed it enough that it will be a repeat on Thanksgiving :). Thanks for your comment Jessie! November 11, 2016 at 7:01pm Reply

  • cheryl: Ingredients for the sauce list vanilla, though did not find it in the directions.
    Did I miss something?
    I put the vanilla in at when the sauce was boiling. but wondered if I should have removed from heat first?
    I was delicious. The cake is not sweet, and the sauce adds a nice touch and both warm is best!! Thanks for another great recipe. November 4, 2016 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Kim @ The Baking ChocolaTess: Whoa! I love old-fashioned apple cake recipes and this one looks absolutely yummy! I can’t wait to make it. I love your blog and all your recipes on Pinterest. You are amazing and inspiring! :) November 4, 2016 at 11:16am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thank you Kim! November 4, 2016 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Jennifer Larson: This was fantastic, my whole family loved it! Great way to use the apples on our tree. The brown sugar sauce was amazing! October 26, 2016 at 12:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad your family liked it Jennifer! Thanks for your review! October 26, 2016 at 12:38pm Reply

  • Dawn Berube: Delicious cake even with whole wheat flour! October 20, 2016 at 8:41pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Glad it worked with wheat flour for you thanks for your feedback Dawn! October 21, 2016 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Scott: Will the cake still be ok if all the sauce is put on at once and then cut and eaten later? Sounds like it will crystalize but I am OK with that as long as it doesn’t otherwise affect the cake. October 20, 2016 at 7:59am Reply

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