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This moist apple Bundt cake is an old-fashioned, easy dessert that has been loved for generations! Also known as “Apple Dapple Cake,” the warmly-spiced batter is studded with bits of fresh apples and chopped nuts, and finished with a buttery caramel sauce. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for the ultimate fall treat!

Homemade fresh apple bundt cake with caramel glaze

How to Make Apple Cake | 1-Minute Video

Old Fashioned Apple Dapple Cake

This is truly the best apple cake recipe! I grew up on apple cake, which my mom baked each fall when apple season rolled around. While the dessert is delicious and special enough to serve for Thanksgiving, birthdays, or entertaining, it’s also simple enough to enjoy at a regular Sunday supper. In fact, you probably have all of the ingredients that you need in your kitchen right now!

The old-fashioned fresh apple cake recipe (sometimes called “Apple Dapple Cake”) stays super-moist thanks to plenty of oil and juicy apples in the batter. It has nice, crisp edges from the Bundt pan, and absorbs a rich caramel glaze as it cools. You’ll love the combination of warm autumn spices paired with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s simple, rustic, and oh-so-delicious!

Square shot of a slice of caramel apple bundt cake on a plate with vanilla ice cream

What is special about a Bundt cake?

The Bundt cake pan was invented by H. David Dalquist, the owner of Minnesota’s Nordic Ware company, in 1950. The unique ring-shaped pan allows more of the cake to be in contact with the edges of the pan, and therefore the heat is transferred more evenly. This allows the inside of the cake to cook through without burning the outside, creating a crisp, golden brown crust on each slice.

The Difference Between a Cake and a Bundt Cake

Unlike more traditional sheet cakes or layer cakes that are baked in shallow pans, a Bundt cake pan has decorative sides and tops that range from ridges to fruit, or other still life scenes. It is typically used for pound cakecoffee cake, and other dense, moist cakes like this old-fashioned apple cake. Since more of the cake’s surface is exposed to high heat in a Bundt pan, you achieve a nice brown crust on the outside, while keeping the inside perfectly moist.

Do cakes bake faster in a Bundt pan?

No, in fact, Bundt cakes require a longer baking time than most other cakes. This is because Bundt cake batters are so dense and the pans are so large. You’ll need about 70 minutes to bake this particular cake in a 350°F oven.

Side shot of a table with fresh apples and easy apple bundt cake on a plate and cake stand

The Best Apples for an Apple Cake

You can use just about any of your favorite apples in this cake. I used local Gala apples here, but I also like Honey Crisp apples or Granny Smith apples in this recipe. Fuji, Braeburn, and Jonagold apples are other sweet options that hold up well in the baking process. In general, you want firm (not mushy) apples for baking.

Close overhead shot of a bin of apples

Should you peel apples for apple cake?

Yes, peeling the apples helps them blend into the cake and eliminates a potentially unpleasant chewy, tough texture.

Mixing batter for apple dapple cake

Do apples keep cake moist?

Yes, the finely diced apples add moisture to the cake and keep it fresher longer. This cake doesn’t get dry the next day like other homemade cakes might.

Poking holes in bundt cake

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a fresh apple cake. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step baking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Eggs: give the cake structure.
  • Granulated sugar: for a perfectly sweet cake.
  • Vegetable oil: keeps the cake incredibly moist.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the cake.
  • Baking soda: the leavening agent that helps the cake rise.
  • Salt: to balance the sweetness. I use regular table salt in this recipe rather than kosher salt.
  • Ground cinnamon and ground nutmeg: warm spices that give the cake that delicious cozy, autumn flavor.
  • Vanilla extract: for even more flavor.
  • Nuts: I prefer either pecans or walnuts in this cake.
  • Apples: peeled and finely diced. You’ll need about 3-4 medium apples for this recipe.
  • Brown sugar, salted butter, cream, and vanilla extract: come together to make the caramel sauce.
Pouring caramel sauce over bundt cake

How to Make Apple Bundt Cake with Caramel Sauce

The process for making this caramel apple bundt cake from scratch could not be easier! You simply mix the wet ingredients together, sift the dry ingredients together, and then combine into one batter. It’s a lot like making a quick bread such as banana bread — no fancy techniques necessary!

  1. Mix Batter. First, use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the oil mixture, beating until combined. You’ll have a nice, thick batter.
  2. Fold in Apples and Nuts. Gently fold in the apples and pecans or walnuts until completely dispersed throughout.
  3. Transfer to Pan. Transfer the batter to a well greased and floured Bundt pan.
  4. Bake. Bake the cake in a 350°F oven for 70-80 minutes (mine is typically done within 70 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  5. Make Caramel Sauce. Boil the caramel glaze ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
  6. Glaze the Cake. Poke holes all over the top of the warm cake while it’s still in the pan. Pour some of the glaze over the cake, and let it sit in the pan for 15-20 minutes while the glaze sinks in. Store the remaining caramel glaze in the fridge until the cake cools.
  7. Serve. Turn the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely. Then microwave the remaining glaze until soft and smooth, and drizzle over the top of the cake. Once the cake is cool, slice and serve!
Close up shot of sliced apple bundt cake with caramel sauce

How to Serve this Easy Apple Bundt Cake

I find that it’s easiest to slice the cake cleanly when the cake has cooled to room temperature. It’s delicious warm, but the cake may crumble a little bit when you cut into it. The cake is absolutely delicious on its own, so it works well for breakfast or brunch with a cup of coffee or tea. For a special dessert treat, top each slice with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream!

Side shot of a caramel apple bundt cake on a table

Storage

Store the cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days, or in the fridge for up to 5 days. If your house is particularly warm, it’s best to store the cake in the refrigerator. Remove the cake from the fridge an hour before serving to let it come back to room temperature.

Wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil, the cake will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Bite of apple bundt cake on a gold fork

Recipe Variations

  • Add extra spices to the cake, such as ground ginger, allspice, or cloves.
  • For a less-sweet cake, omit the caramel sauce or reduce the sugar in the cake batter slightly.
  • Add raisins or sweetened dried cranberries to the cake.
  • Flavor the caramel sauce with whiskey or bourbon instead of vanilla extract!
  • To Bake the Cake in a Regular Pan: The Bundt pan gives the cake a beautiful texture — moist on the inside and crisp on the edges. If you prefer, however, you can bake the cake in a 9 x 13-inch pan, and decrease the baking time to about 40-45 minutes.
Square front shot of an old fashioned apple cake recipe on a cake stand

Tips for the Best Apple Bundt Cake Recipe

  • Grease and flour the Bundt pan before adding the batter to prevent sticking. For a convenient shortcut, I like to use this baking spray that has flour in it. Nothing ever sticks to the pan when I use that stuff!
  • Peel the apples and cut them into a fine dice. You don’t want big chunks of apple in the cake, which will make it harder to slice cleanly.
  • Use a firm baking apple, such as Honey Crisp or Granny Smith. These apples hold their shape and won’t break down into mush.
  • Whisk or stir constantly while making the caramel sauce. This prevents it from burning and keeps it nice and smooth.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing.
Slice of apple dapple cake with vanilla ice cream on top

What to Make with Lots of Apples

Apple season is big business in the mountains of Virginia! Check out this collection of more than 40 apple recipes, or try one of these:

Square image of an apple bundt cake

Apple Bundt Cake {Apple Dapple Cake}

4.63 from 8 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total: 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 16 slices
Calories 397 kcal
This moist apple Bundt cake with caramel sauce is an old-fashioned, easy dessert that has been loved for generations!

Ingredients
  

CAKE:

  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 3 cups peeled and finely diced apples

CARAMEL GLAZE:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, softened at room temperature
  • ¼ cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

MAKE THE CAKE:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan; set aside.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture; mix just until combined.
  • Gently fold in the nuts and apples.
  • Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 70-80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Leave the cake in the pan while you prepare the glaze.

MAKE THE CARAMEL GLAZE:

  • Combine the brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring or whisking frequently.
  • Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue cooking and whisking constantly for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the vanilla.

GLAZE THE CAKE:

  • While the cake is still warm in the pan, use a long wooden stick to poke holes all over. Pour about ¾ cup of the glaze over the cake. Allow the cake to sit in the pan and soak up the glaze for about 15-20 minutes. Place the remaining glaze in a microwave-safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until the cake is cool.
  • After the cake sits in the pan to absorb the glaze for about 15-20 minutes, turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cake is cool, microwave the remaining glaze in 10-second intervals until the caramel is soft and smooth again. Drizzle the remaining caramel over the top of the cool cake. Slice and serve!

Video

Notes

  • Add extra spices to the cake, such as ground ginger, allspice, or cloves.
  • For a less-sweet cake, omit the caramel sauce or reduce the sugar in the cake batter slightly.
  • Add raisins or sweetened dried cranberries to the cake.
  • Flavor the caramel sauce with whiskey or bourbon instead of vanilla extract!
  • To Bake the Cake in a Regular Pan: The Bundt pan gives the cake a beautiful texture — moist on the inside and crisp on the edges. If you prefer, however, you can bake the cake in a 9 x 13-inch pan, and decrease the baking time to about 40-45 minutes.
  • Grease and flour the Bundt pan before adding the batter to prevent sticking. For a convenient shortcut, I like to use this baking spray that has flour in it. Nothing ever sticks to the pan when I use that stuff!
  • Peel the apples and cut them into a fine dice. You don’t want big chunks of apple in the cake, which will make it harder to slice cleanly.
  • Use a firm baking apple, such as Honey Crisp or Granny Smith. These apples hold their shape and won’t break down into mush.
  • Whisk or stir constantly while making the caramel sauce. This prevents it from burning and keeps it nice and smooth.
  • Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sliceCalories: 397kcalCarbohydrates: 61gProtein: 4gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 336mgPotassium: 117mgFiber: 2gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 382IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 33mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: apple bundt cake, apple cake, apple dapple cake, moist apple cake recipe
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in September, 2020. It was updated in September, 2022.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Blair,
    I’m interested in what kind of apples you use for this cake??
    I’ve had really good luck with honey crisp for pies lately.

    1. Hi, Barbara! I used Honey Crisp here. Definitely a favorite, and we have so many on hand at the moment because the kids picked an overwhelming amount at a local orchard recently. 🙂

  2. 3 stars
    Not sure where I went wrong but the batter mix seemed quite dry, and when cooked the overall cake was incredibly sweet. I used granny smith apples which are usually quite tart, but I think next time I’d use about half as much sugar. Nice combination of flavours though.

    1. Hi, Rachel! I’m sorry that you found the cake too sweet. The batter should definitely be thick — kind of like a pound cake batter — but the cake should be really moist when it’s baked.

      1. 5 stars
        my batter was very thick, more than a pound cake but less than cookie dough. I had to spoon the batter into the bundt pan but the results were amazing. I love this recipe more than the one I have. I did up the nutmeg to 1 tsp equal to the recipie I currently use. I mixed my nuts , pecans and english walnuts, omitted the raisins on one and added to the second cake to see which I preferred I had a combo of apples so I mixed them as well. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

        1. I’m so glad that you liked it, Terri! Yes — the batter is definitely supposed to be very thick. It creates such a dense, moist cake — love it!

  3. 5 stars
    Excellent cake that everyone loved. If you’re lucky to have any left, it’s even better the next day. It was not labor intensive at all, quite easy to make. Only change was I omitted the nuts since most of the family prefer cake without nuts. I trying to decide which cake to make between 2 different recipes, very happy I decided on this one.

    1. Awesome! Thank you, Marci! I agree — it just gets better as it sits. I’ve been known to have a slice for breakfast in the days after I bake it. 🙂 So glad that you enjoyed it as much as we do.

      1. 4 stars
        I really liked this recipe, the Roma apples I used might be the reason, but I thought way too sweet as well. Soaked raisens in rum – to make it special !

  4. 5 stars
    Hi Blair,
    Made this cake about a month ago. It was very moist and delicious. Will be making it again. Your recipes are very easy to make and I have just about all of the ingredients in my pantry.

    1. That’s so good to hear, Janet! Thanks for your note. My goal is to create and share recipes that are accessible to most home cooks — regardless of experience, budget, or location. I’m glad that you find them useful! 🙂

  5. Does this freeze well?? Have lots of harilsen (sp?) apples and serving my ladies group at church in 2 weeks. Would like to make now while I have the time. Thanks

    1. Hi, Marsha! It does freeze pretty well. I think it’s best 1-2 days after it’s been baked — it just gets even more moist as it sits and the flavors come together. I find that when it’s frozen and thawed, the outer edge isn’t quite as “crisp” as it is when it’s really fresh (it gets soft when thawed), and you don’t notice the glaze on the outside as well. So, all of that said, it’s up to you! I think you lose a little bit in freezing it, but it’s still tasty!

  6. 5 stars
    wow is all I can say, I am not a baker but we had some delicious apples that were not firm enough for us eat & I did not to want to throw them away so to google I went. The Seasoned Mom was the best fit for my interest & @ the end of my baking journey was I ever glad nothing but delicious, moist, crusty with a great flavorful texture & taste. You can’t go wrong with this gal’s recipe. Happy baking!!

    1. That’s amazing, Carolyn! Thank you so much for taking the time to come back and leave a note. I’m so glad that you found the recipe and that you enjoyed the cake! 🙂

    1. Hi, Janet! You can, but it won’t taste nearly as good. 🙂 The glaze adds a rich, buttery flavor, but it also adds a lot of moisture to the cake. It would be like a tres leches cake without some of the milk. Not terrible, but not the same.

  7. This cake looks delicious! I would like to bake in mini Bundt pans (6 mini Bundt to one pan). Would there be a decrease in the baking time?
    Thanks

    1. Hi, Tomi! Yes, you will need to reduce the total baking time for the smaller cakes. I haven’t tested it myself, but I would start to check the mini cakes after about 20-25 minutes. Hope you enjoy!

  8. This looks delicious and is beautifully presented! I can’t wait to make it. Also, I love your cake stand. Would you mind sharing where you bought it? I’ve been looking for a new cake stand, but can’t decide on one. But this looks perfect! Thank you for your wonderful recipes. You truly have made me a better cook. My family appreciates it, too.

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Blair!
    This Apple Dapple Cake is beyond amazing! I have to admit, the first time I tried putting caramel bits in, and they just sank to the bottom (live and learn!), but it was delicious anyway! Just made another batch into 6 mini bundt loaves and 2 small ones and will be sending one out to my mom in Florida (she just doesn’t get that “fall fever” like we do in Upstate New York!). I can honestly say this is the BEST_RECIPE_EVER for an apple bundt cake! Thank you sooooooo much!

    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! I appreciate your kind words, and I’m glad that you’ll even be able to share some with your mom! 🙂