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Apple Dapple Cake is loaded with diced apples and topped with a buttery, brown sugar icing. It’s moist, nutty and simply heavenly!!!

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piece of apple cake with a brown sugar icing on a wooden board

One might say that baking with apples is for the season of fall. Well, if baking with apples year-round is wrong, I sure as heck don’t wanna be right!! 😉

But seriously, this classic Apple Dapple Cake is AMAZING. It’s got just the right amount of moistness, making it more dense than fluffy, but still tender and delicate. The addition of cinnamon and vanilla gives it a little warmth and depth of flavor without being overpowering.

A slice of apple dapple cake on a white plate with whipped topping on the side.

I found this vintage recipe in an old church cookbook my mother-in-law let me borrow. The page was partially folded and it had a big asterisks with “very good!” written next to it. I’d say “very good” puts it mildly, but I suppose you’ll have to decide for yourself! 🙂

What is an Apple Dapple Cake??

It’s an easy apple cake with a caramel glaze spread on top and apples and nuts “dappled” throughout the cake.  Some say it’s a cake that originated in the south while others say it comes from the Amish or Jewish heritage.  Though sometimes it’s baked in a bundt pan or tube pan, it really doesn’t matter what shape and size because either way, it’s full of apple flavor and SO yummy! 

ingredients needed to make apple dapple cake

Apple Dapple Cake Ingredients

  • Apples – A few of my favorite options are granny smith apples, Pink Lady, Jonagold and Braeburn apples (however, use what you’ve got on hand!)
  • Nuts – Walnuts or pecans are my go-to nuts to use in this delicious cake
  • Large Eggs
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Vanilla Extract 
  • Sugar
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Cinnamon – You can use apple pie spice in place of the cinnamon if you’d like
  • Icing Ingredients – Butter (I prefer salted over unsalted butter), brown sugar (dark or light brown sugar works great), powdered sugar, milk (or heavy cream) and vanilla
gold fork with a bite of apple cake

How to Make Apple Dapple Cake

First, you’re going to stir together the apples, walnuts and sugar in a large mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The sugar will help bring the moisture out of the apples, so once the sits for 30 minutes, you’ll be able to see that the sugar will be mostly dissolved and there will be some liquid in the bowl.

The rest of the cake is made in a pretty traditional way. You’ll add the remaining wet ingredients (oil, eggs and vanilla) and then the dry ingredients. It’ll be a fairly thick cake batter, which you’ll pour into a greased 9×13″ pan.

apple cake batter in a silver 9x13" pan

Now it’s time to bake!! The cake will bake for 40-50 minutes.  The cooking time will depend on your oven and the type of pan you’re using (metal pans tend to heat more quickly).  

To test if the cake is done, you’ll poke a toothpick in the very center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out with gooey batter on it, it needs more time. If it’s got some moist crumbs on it or is clean, it’s done.  Let the cake cool just a bit while you make the icing.

an apple cake baked in a 9x13" pan

You’ll combine the butter (I always use salted butter), brown sugar and milk in a small saucepan and heat until the brown sugar has dissolved. Then you’ll stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Simple, huh?! Pour the brown sugar glaze on top of the cake, spread to the edge of the cake, and that’s it!!

Apple Dapple Cake with brown sugar icing on top.

How to Store Apple Dapple Cake

This cake has quite a bit of moisture in it, so if you’re not serving it in within the next 24-48 hours, I recommend keeping it refrigerated (for up to 5 days).  You can keep it in the baking pan with a lid or plastic wrap/aluminum foil or transfer leftover pieces to an airtight container.  You can also freeze this cake for up to 3 months!

How to Serve This Easy Apple Cake

I like the apple dapple cake best served warm or at room temperature.  Therefore, if you have it refrigerated, be sure to take it out about an hour before serving. I typically serve this cake as-is (it really doesn’t need anything!) but you can add a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a special treat!

piece of cake with apples in the background

Other Delicious Apple Recipes

Apple Crumble Pie

Caramel Apple Cobbler

Fireball Whiskey Apple Dumplings

Salted Caramel Apple Crisp Bars

Frosted Apple Cookies

gold fork cutting into a piece of apple dapple cake


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piece of apple dapple cake on a wooden board with a glass of milk in the background
5 from 1 vote

Apple Dapple Cake

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Rest Time (apples) 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Apple Dapple Cake is loaded with diced apples and topped with a buttery, brown sugar icing. It's moist, nutty and simply heavenly!!!



  • 4 cups peeled and diced apples
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


For the Cake

  • In a large bowl, stir together the peeled and diced apples, walnuts and the sugar; let sit for 30 minutes (this will bring some of the natural juices out of the apples).
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13" pan; set aside.
  • Pour in the vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla; stir well.
  • Add the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs).

For the Icing

  • In a saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar and milk.
  • Place on the stove-top on medium heat and cook until the brown sugar is dissolved.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla.
  • Pour the warm icing over the cake (cake doesn't need to be completely cooled).
  • Cut into squares and enjoy!


The baking time will depend on your oven and on the pan you use.  A metal pan will heat up quicker than a glass pan and therefore take less time to bake.  Either is fine, just take note when you set your timer!
Apple Dapple Cake is even better the next day in my opinion!!  The moisture from the apples really settles into the cake, making it moist and flavorful!


Calories: 355kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 3.6g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3.6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7.8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 22.7mg | Sodium: 136mg | Potassium: 79mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 106.67IU | Vitamin C: 0.9mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 0.6mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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frosted apple cake in a 9x13" pan, cut into squares

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. It was delicious. I added a bit more cinnamon than the recipe called for.