Apple Butter Cake is a two-layer cake flavored with homemade apple butter and apple pie spice and covered in a frosting made with apple cider for an apple taste in every bite. Try my Apple Bundt Cake for another spiced cake with apple flavor. 

Apple Butter Cake on Cake Stand

Apple Butter Cake

There are no apples to peel and cut up for this recipe. But, you will still get an apple spice taste in every bite. From the homemade apple butter and homemade apple pie spice in the cake to the homemade apple cider in the frosting, there is no shortage of apple flavor.

Apple Butter Cake Slice on Plate

Apple Butter Cake Ingredients

This recipe is all about the apple flavor from ingredients you can make at home!

Apple ButterApple butter can be made in a slow cooker and be used more than just as a spread. I love my homemade recipe, but you can absolutely use store-bought. Readers have also mentioned that they use this base apple butter cake recipe to make a pumpkin butter cake by replacing the apple butter with pumpkin butter.

Apple Pie SpiceIt’s easy to make your own spice to have on hand for all your fall recipes. The link goes to my homemade recipe, but this is also an available spice in grocery stores.

Apple CiderIt’s refreshing to have this around the house, and you can make it with the kinds of apples you like to eat. It’s a non-alcoholic beverage suitable for all ages! In a pinch, you can use Apple Juice, but the cake will be much sweeter.

Frosting an Apple Butter Cake

How to Frost the Apple Butter Cake

To frost a layer cake, a rotating cake stand comes in handy. (A Lazy Susan will also work.) But, the cake can still be successfully frosted without a stand. You will notice that this cake is not completely covered in frosting; it is a naked cake.

  • Place your first layer on your cake stand.  Put a large dollop of frosting on it and use a small offset spatula to make frosting an even layer. Some frosting should “spill out” the sides and that is exactly what you want.
  • Add the second cake layer on top of the frosted layer. Spread the ‘spilled’ frosting around the cake. (It will not be completely covered, hence, the ‘naked cake’.)
  • Smooth the remaining frosting on top. 

Pro Tip: Pop your cake stand right on top of a rotating cake stand. So much easier when you are frosting!

Piece of Apple Butter Cake With Bite Missing

Can I Use a Different Size Pan?

If you do not want to make a layer cake you can make this recipe in a 9×13 pan. Bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick is removed with crumbs, but no wet batter.

If you want to make cupcakes, they are baked at 350°F for 18-22 minutes.

How to Store Apple Butter Cake

This cake can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

This cake will freeze nicely, but if you have frosted it, it will not be pretty. I recommend freezing the individual layers by wrapping them in plastic wrap and then placing them in a freezer-safe sealable plastic bag. It should last up to 3 months in the freezer. When you are ready to assemble the cake, remove it from the freezer and allow it to sit out for about 30 minutes and then frost.

More Apple Desserts

5 from 1 vote

Apple Butter Cake

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 16 mins
Total Time 36 mins
Apple Butter Cake is a two-layer cake flavored with homemade apple butter and apple pie spice and covered in a frosting made with apple cider for an apple taste in every bite.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 227 g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (245 g) whole milk, room temperature
  • ½ cup (125 g) apple butter
  • 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon apple pie spice

Frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick / 113 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 4 cups (500 g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup (60 g) apple cider

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray two 8-inch round pans with nonstick cooking spray and line each with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together butter, milk, apple butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
  • Blend in eggs and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add flour, baking soda, and apple pie spice. Whisk until blended.
  • Pour batter evenly into prepared round pans. Bake 16 minutes. The cakes are done when a clean toothpick is inserted and comes out with crumbs but no wet batter. The tops should also be springy. (Every oven is different so keep an eye on them.)
  • Remove from the oven and let cool as you make the frosting.

Frosting

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer), whip butter until soft.
  • Add in confectioners' sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and apple cider. Whip until fully combined and smooth.
  • Frost the cooled cake and serve.

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This recipe was inspired by the best cake recipe’s Apple Butter Sheet Cake recipe.

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I have a jar of store bought Musselmann’s apple butter to use up – can I use that instead of homemade? Thank you!

    1. Hi, Lilley! I work with iambaker and am happy to help with questions. We have not tested apple juice in the recipe, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness. If you try it, let us know how the frosting tastes. Have a great day!

    1. Karen
      I just cut up apples to fill 6qt crockpot and add apple pie spice and about 1/4 cup apple juice or cider. The longer it cooks the more the spices infuse. When apples get really soft you can use immersion blender on them to get smooth and then continue cooking.
      I usually have in for about 6-8 hours on low.

  2. I have cupcakes baking now. I have made with my gluten free baking mix. Hoping they taste as good as the batter did.

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