This Apple Butter Spice Cake is a delicious take on an apple spice cake using apple butter for a rich, tender cake with amazing flavor. Top it all off with a tangy, homemade cream cheese frosting for the ultimate easy fall cake.
Apple Butter Cake Recipe
I love love love anything and everything apple butter. The rich, sweet and gently spiced flavor makes the start of nippy fall mornings just a bit more bearable as it’s spread on everything from toast to scones, or even stirred into some oatmeal.
A couple years ago, I shared my favorite apple spice cake recipe – I made it as a pretty, layer cake but it can be made as a sheet cake as well. The texture on that cake is light and fluffy, but for this recipe I wanted something with a bit more “chew” – an indulgent, flavorful apple spice cake just begging for you to dig your fork into it. It definitely gives my apple spice layer cake a run for it’s money!
The apple butter helps create that thick, spongy texture and also gives this cake a deep, warm, almost caramelized flavor that simply can’t be recreated with applesauce or chopped apples.
While you probably could make this apple butter cake into a layer cake, I think it works best as a sheet cake. It keeps the preparation simple and really, one square is all you need to feel completely satisfied. Pair it with your favorite fall drink for the ultimate fall dessert experience.
We really enjoyed this cake with a not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting spread on top, but if you want to keep things a bit lighter, you can serve plain or with a light sprinkle of powdered icing sugar.
If you can’t find apple butter locally, we have a recipe to make apple butter in the Instant Pot using just a few ingredients.
I personally do not recommend replacing the apple butter with apple sauce as the consistency and flavor won’t be the same, but you can cook regular applesauce down to make apple butter – just cook on the stovetop until sticky and dark-colored, stirring occasionally to prevent burning. Alternatively, if you want to mix things up you can use a pumpkin butter.
This cake also freezes extremely well, just wrap the unfrosted cake tightly with plastic wrap and then place in a freezer-safe ziptop bag or your favorite freezer containers. (This set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain.) Freezing this cake is perfect for planning ahead for fall entertaining – just thaw completely at room temperature a few hours before you plan to serve it and make the cream cheese frosting. (I personally do not recommend freezing the cream cheese frosting as it won’t thaw nicely.)
More Desserts Using Apple Butter
- Apple Butter Scones
- Apple Butter Cornbread from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
- Apple Butter Snickerdoodles
- Cherry Apple Butter Bars from Lemon Tree Dwelling
- Apple Butter Cheesecake Blondies from Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt
Apple Butter Cake Ingredients
- Butter, softened
- White Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Apple Butter
- Vanilla Extract
- All-Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Apple Pie Spice <– grab our Homemade Apple Pie Spice recipe here
Optional Cream Cheese Frosting:
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: if you can’t find apple butter, you can swap in pumpkin butter, or cook applesauce down on the stovetop until thick and darkly colored.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Electric mixer <– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
- 9″ x 13″ Casserole Dish <– I love these Pyrex dishes with fitted lids for easy transportation to parties or leftover storage
- Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Mixing bowls
How to Make Apple Butter Cake
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Grease and line a 9″ x 13″ cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
Add apple butter and vanilla extract, beating until combined.
In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and apple pie seasoning.
Add half of the dry mixture to the apple butter mixture, incorporate thoroughly, then incorporate the remaining half until just combined.
Fold mixture into the prepared cake pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
If making the vanilla cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar for 2 minutes until completely smooth. Add vanilla and milk if desired to thin out the frosting.
Spread the vanilla cream cheese frosting on the apple butter cake.
Grab your free printable for our apple butter spice cake recipe:
- 2/3 cup butter
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups apple butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, to taste
- 1 teaspoon apple pie seasoning, to taste
Optional Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1/2 cup cream cheese
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 cups powdered icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Milk or cream, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350ºF
- Grease and line a 9" x 13" cake pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars with an electric mixer. Beat for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add apple butter and vanilla extract, beating until combined.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and apple pie seasoning.
- Add half of the dry mixture to the apple butter mixture, incorporate thoroughly, then incorporate the remaining half until just combined.
- Fold mixture into the prepared cake pan.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick or cake tester comes out clean.
- If making the vanilla cream cheese frosting, beat together the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar for 2 minutes until completely smooth. Add vanilla and milk if desired to thin out the frosting.
- Spread the vanilla cream cheese frosting on the apple butter cake.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 524Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 568mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 2gSugar: 59gProtein: 5g
This apple butter spice cake is perfect for easy fall entertaining – whether you’re serving it after supper or as an afternoon treat with your favorite fall drinks.