Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake

Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake

As a general rule, I get a bit annoyed when people title or identify their food as “The Best”.  This is likely because I inherently resist being told that I must/should/have to do anything, so I am less inclined to try whatever it is you deem “The Best,” even if it is to my detriment.  Accordingly, for all of you stubborn folks like me,  I don’t want to identify this apple cake as The Best Apple Cake because then you may never try it.  It is, however, my favorite apple cake, so we’ll go with that.  Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake.  

Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake

There is no salted caramel frosting or rum whipped cream on this cake (although both of those sound pretty good, so we may return to that another day for another cake).  Here we just have apples, cinnamon, and a cream cheese batter.  The beauty of this cake is its simplicity.  I have been making it for years and years and chances are if you ever come to my house between September and November you are basically guaranteed to have this cake.  I make it so often because it never disappoints.  

Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake

As you mix it, you will think that there is too much apple.  

There isn’t.  

The apple to batter ratio, once baked, is perfect.  

You may think that you need to top it with a glaze or crumble of some sort to jazz it up.  

You don’t, and don’t even think about trying it under the delusional guise of improving upon an already fantastic cake.

One of the most glorious, and I really mean Glorious with a Capital G, parts of this cake is the top because you sprinkle it with a nice helping of cinnamon and sugar prior to baking, which makes the entire top of the cake form a cinnamon-sugary crust that actually cracks when you cut into it.  That crust softens as the cake sits, so for that reason I love to serve this not long after baking, but if you want to make it a day ahead, it will still be delicious.  Three days later, yes, still delicious.  Although chances are, it won’t last for 3 days.  This is one of those cakes that every time you walk by, you can’t help but cut a little sliver here, a tiny wedge there…and before you know it, you have single-handedly consumed half of the cake all by yourself.   What?  No, I’m not speaking from personal experience (she says in a flustered tone).  

Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake

Definitely choose a good baking apple.  I have tried several different types of apples, but I always seem to go back to Granny Smith because they hold their shape so well and I also like that they are a bit tart and not too sweet.    I never peel apples when I’m baking with them, but you can if you want.   I typically make it exactly as called for in the original recipe with the exception that I use the entire 8 oz. of cream cheese, not the 6 oz. called for.  The purpose of this is none other than one time I completely forgot and put in the whole block and it turned out great, so I just started putting it all in the batter every time and it makes preparing the ingredients even faster.  I’ve also substituted greek yogurt for the cream cheese and the texture isn’t quite the same so it is not how I prefer to make it, but in a pinch, it will do.    

Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake

I wish I had more photos of this cake, but to be perfectly honest, we just ate it too fast, as we do every time I bake it.  Try it, it might become your favorite too.  :)

Favorite Apple Cinnamon Cake
Serves 12
Cinnamon and sugar coated apples baked in a cream cheese batter with a crispy cinnamon and sugar crust on top.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
1 hr 10 min
  1. 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  2. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1.5 cups white sugar
  4. 1 tsp. vanilla
  5. 2 large eggs
  6. 1.5 cups flour
  7. 1.5 tsp. baking powder
  8. 1/4 tsp. salt
  9. 1/4 cup white sugar
  10. 2 tsp. cinnamon
  11. 3 cups diced baking apple, such as Granny Smith
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. 2. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add 1.5 cups sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add in eggs, one at a time, mixing until well-incorporated.
  3. 3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder. Add flour mixture to cream cheese mixture and stir by hand until combined.
  4. 4. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Reserve 2 T. of cinnamon sugar and set aside. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the diced apples and stir gently until all of the apples are coated.
  5. 4. Gently fold the apples into the batter and spoon batter into prepared springform pan. Top batter with reserved 2 T. cinnamon and sugar mixture.
  6. 5. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. 6. Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving.
Adapted from (just barely) Cooking Light
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  1. Marcia Zeigler

    Allison you are right it is a delicious apple cake! Maybe we should add it to your list of things to bring for Thanksgiving since we will have lots of people eating for days! And the top crust is what makes it absolutely the best! I want a piece right now.

    • AlwaysDaydreaming

      Yes, I kind of want some now too!

  2. Jessica

    Searching the refrigerator now to see if they’re is *any possible way* I can scrape together enough cream cheese product to make this tonight. Pray!!!

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