One of my Dad’s finest qualities, that he has of course passed along to me, ;), is that dessert is a non-negotiable. Always.
As a dessert lover, he isn’t picky, but if the choice were left to him, he’d always choose ice cream. He’s not picky. Anything chocolate, coconut, nuts, caramel, oatmeal, coffee (not the actual coffee though), and the occasional apple — I should probably add now that my Dad is incredibly healthy, athletic, and fit. His kitchen is always stocked with fresh fruits, nuts, salads, superfoods, etc.
So the occasional apple shows up in either an apple crumble or crisp, or more consistently, in the apple fritter. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t even know what an apple fritter is. Where would we be without our parents?
When I recently found myself scrolling through the eternal feed of Instagram, my eye caught a picture of an apple fritter cake. We are talking mere minutes before I found myself in the kitchen. Baker’s gotta bake. So I made this incredible take on a classic apple fritter. The good news? It’s not fried, like a traditional apple fritter. The bad news? It’s still brimming with calories. But each one of them, worth it. SO worth it.
The cake is a concoction of layers. First layer is super moist cake that’s rich with sour cream. It’s topped with a layer of sweet apples that have been sautéed to create a cinnamon-y syrup. Then a sprinkling of brown sugar and more cinnamon. The rest of the cake batter gets spread on and another sprinkle of cinnamon sugar and then it’s ready to bake. Once out of the oven, the glaze gets drizzled onto the still warm cake, creating that signature apple fritter finish.
This cake is absolutely worth your time to make. I guarantee it. And if you’re pinched for time, go try an actual apple fritter at your local donut stop.
Apple Fritter Cake
This cake has all the elements of a delicious apple fritter donut but it's not fried and it's easy to make! It's moist, sweet, cinnamon-y, and the cake gets drizzled with glaze while still warm, giving it the signature apple fritter finish. If you're craving an apple fritter donut but your donut shop is closed and you don't have the patience for a donut making project, this apple fritter cake ticks all the boxes!
- 2 cups Apples, peeled and cut into cubes (~2 apples)
- 1/4 cup Sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 1 tbsp. Cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. Water
- 1/3 cup Brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
- 5 tbsp. Butter, softened
- 3/4 cup Sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Sour cream or plain yogurt
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 Eggs
- 2 1/4 cups Flour
- 1 tsp. Baking powder
- 1 tsp. Baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
- 2 cups Powdered sugar (sifted, if lumpy)
- 4-5 tbsp. Milk or water
- 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Begin by combining apples in a medium saucepan with the sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch and water. Heat on medium heat for just a couple minutes until the liquid thickens. Keep an eye on the mixture, stirring often to keep it from clumping or turning gooey. Once slightly thickened, set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar and cinnamon together. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking pan; set aside.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer or using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Adjust the mixer to low speed and alternate between adding the flour mixture and the sour cream to the butter mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture. Mix just until combined. (Over-mixing will result in a tougher cake texture).
Spread half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Add the apple mixture evenly on top of the batter. Then sprinkle a little over half of the brown sugar over the apple mixture. Cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle with remaining brown sugar on top. (It's okay if there are some gaps; it doesn't have to be perfect).
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set.
While the cake bakes, make the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla.
When cake is finished, immediately poke a few dozen holes into it with a butter knife. Pour the glaze completely over the cake. Let the glaze set for about 20 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups.