Full of sweet shredded apples and warm cinnamon, apple spice cake is perfect for dessert or brunch. The bourbon glaze is optional but you won’t want to miss it!

Overhead view of apple cake on plates.

Apple spice cake with bourbon glaze sounds kinda fancy but it really isn’t a fussy cake. More like a coffee cake, it would definitely be at home on a brunch table. With the somewhat decadent bourbon glaze added, this apple spice cake won’t blush at a fancy dinner, either. 

Know how to drive your family crazy? Whip up this apple spice cake, put it in the oven, let the warm baked apple cinnamon scents waft all through the house, and then tell them, oh by the way, you’re saving the cake for book club tonight. The expressions on their faces will probably goad you into making another cake just for them.

Close up view of a cake with shiny brown glaze on it.

About this apple spice cake:

I’ve made this apple cake just a bit healthier in true Rachel Cooks fashion, with part whole wheat flour, yogurt replacing some of the butter, and sweetened more by apples than a lot of sugar. If you’re going to eat dessert, why not make it just a little healthier, right? 

It’s a smaller sized cake. I use a 10 x 7 inch pan. What else will you need? An oven, and an electric mixer. Use a box grater (like you would use for shredding cheese) to grate the apples, using the side with larger holes.

Mix it all together (you can do it all in one bowl), pop it into the oven for 35-40 minutes, and it’s ready to serve.

Serve it simply, with a light dusting of powdered sugar, a spoonful of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Smother it in cream cheese frosting (don’t you just love cream cheese frosting?) or dress it up with the bourbon glaze.

Slice of spiced apple cake on a white plate, more cake in background.

What’s in apple spice cake?

  • Apples! I like to use Honeycrisp or Gala but use whatever apple you like. Since the apples are grated, you won’t find large chunks of apple in the cake. The apple is evenly distributed throughout the cake.
  • Apple pie spice, a warm blend of cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice
  • Flour, both regular and whole wheat
  • Yogurt
  • Butter
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

A white baking dish on a wooden background with a baked cake in it.

How to make this spiced apple cake your own:

  • Top it! One of the ways to make this cake your own is by how you top it: powdered sugar, whipped cream, ice cream, cream cheese frosting, brown sugar frosting (add toasted pecans if you like!), or the bourbon glaze. A simple powdered sugar glaze would be good, too.
  • Grated/shredded apple vs. apple chunks. It’s up to you — if you’d like to see nice chunks of apple in the cake, go for it! It’s entirely up to you. 
  • Try replacing all of the flour with white whole wheat flour. The cake will have a heavier texture but will still be delicious.
  • Replace the apple pie spice with all cinnamon.

Cake slice on a plate with coffee and cake in the background.

Make ahead and storage tips

You can easily make this cake a day ahead because it’s so moist. When the cake is entirely cool, cover it tightly with foil or plastic wrap. If you frost it with cream cheese frosting, it should go in the fridge.

Overhead image of glazed cake.

An apple a day!

Apples are welcome in sweet desserts, on the breakfast table, or in savory recipes. I love grilled pork and apple kebobs! For more apple goodness, try:

 

Overhead view of apple cake on plates.

Apple Spice Cake with Bourbon Glaze

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Full of sweet shredded apples and warm cinnamon, apple spice cake is perfect for dessert or brunch. The bourbon glaze is optional but you won't want to miss it!

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (one stick), melted
  • 2 apples, such as Gala or Honeycrisp, grated (1 ½ cups)

Glaze, optional

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare 10 x 7 inch cake pan by spraying with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, beat eggs and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add yogurt and vanilla; beat to combine. Gradually beat in melted butter until well combined.
  3. On top of mixture in bowl, add all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, spice, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Mix dry ingredients lightly with your fingertips. With mixer, mix just until well-blended and smooth. Do not overmix.
  4. Fold grated apple into the batter. Spread the batter in prepared pan. Smooth top.
  5. Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. 
  6. Cool cake on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before glazing.


Glaze

  1. For glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar and whiskey, stirring, until the sugar melts and glaze thickens slightly, 4-5 minutes. 
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Notes

  • If preferred, omit glaze and serve cake with a simple powdered sugar glaze, whipped cream or ice cream. You could also frost the cake with cream cheese frosting or brown sugar frosting.
  • If you don't have apple pie spice, substitute: 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, and a pinch of allspice.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 square
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 419Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 91mgSodium: 318mgCarbohydrates: 58gFiber: 4gSugar: 35gProtein: 7g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

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