Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake

Apple Cinnamon Cake in Pan

This simple, delicious apple cake may be my new favorite fall dessert.  It is moist, tender, packed with tart apples and cinnamon, and very easy to prepare.  What’s not to love?

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake Cooling

On a whim, I decided to update the popular Blueberry-Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with fall flavors by swapping in apples, cinnamon and extra vanilla for the blueberries and strawberries.  But the result of the experiment was so much better than the original, I’m not sure if I’ll ever make the other version of this cake again.  It’s that good.

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake, Cut

Although the cake is excellent on its own, you could dress it up by drizzling slices with a salted caramel sauce and serving with dollops of freshly whipped cream.  At the moment,  I really can’t think of anything more appealing than that.

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake, Detail

I really hope you give this cake a try, but if not, you should drop by my house.  I have a feeling it’s going to be a weekly standard for the next couple of months.

Apple Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake
Adapted from Gourmet

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup peeled and chopped baking apple (I used granny smith)
heaping tablespoon of raw sugar (demerara, turbinado or Sugar in the Raw)
extra cinnamon for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, butter and flour an 8-inch round cake pan* (or spray with Baker’s Joy or equivalent).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside.  In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy, about two minutes.  Add vanilla and egg and beat well.  With the mixer set to low speed, beat in 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Add half the buttermilk and continue beating on low speed until incorporated.  Scraping down sides of bowl as necessary, beat in another 1/3 of flour mixture then remaining buttermilk.  Finally beat in the last 1/3 of the flour mixture until just combined.

3. Scrape batter into the cake pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.  Scatter apple pieces evenly over the top of the cake batter then sprinkle evenly with raw sugar.  Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.

4. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.  Cool in the pan for ten minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool until warm.  Invert onto a plate.  Serve plain, or with whipped cream and salted caramel sauce.

*You may use a 9-inch cake pan, if you don’t have an 8-inch one.  The cake will be a bit thinner than it appears in my photos and will bake slightly faster.

Yield: 8 servings

Around the Web:

  1. The Teacher Cooks

    This looks like a great cake for the holidays! thanks! Class should love this.

    10:17 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  2. My Year on the Grill

    I love buttermilk, this looks amazing

    10:19 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  3. Debbie

    This cake sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing the recipe with photos. It always helps me to see what it’s supposed to look like. 🙂 I’ll try it this week and let you know how it comes out.


    10:30 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  4. Zebbie

    This looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it out myself.

    I was wondering when our fearless leader would be posting a new BBA blog entry…I’ve missed your input as I was letting you go first before I attempted the next bread! 🙂

    Hope to see one soon!

    11:12 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  5. Alta

    Yum! Gotta try this.

    11:20 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  6. debbie

    Wow, this looks good! I was going to say I’d save it for next Rosh Hashanah, but a) it’s got buttermilk, so my kosher family couldn’t eat it after meat; and b) who wants to wait that long?

    11:46 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  7. Laura

    The cake looks so yummy, and I bet very versatile in terms of spices. Thanks for sharing, I will give it a try soon.

    11:50 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  8. grace

    i’ve seen many, many versions of this cake and truth be told, none of them looked that great to me. this creation, however, gets my saliva glands going! beautiful cake! 🙂

    11:53 am  Nov 2nd, 2009
  9. small kitch cara

    You can never have too many apple cakes this time of year! I’ve been getting tired of my standard recipe and can’t wait to try this.

    12:11 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  10. Inmaculada (Adi)

    I wish I could drop by your house. I´m sure it would be such a nice time, hahaha, but coming from Spain is just a little too much for a cupa coffee and a piece of this wonderful cake… so I think I will give it a try or two or three… I do love your recipe. Thanks so much.

    12:55 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  11. Rebecca

    I can’t wait to try this, and I have a dinner to go to on Sunday and I’m in charge of dessert. Thanks for giving me an idea!

    1:14 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  12. Ariana from Chicago

    Perfect! I’ve got leftover buttermilk and I love 1 pan simple cakes for coffee time with family. Thank you!

    2:44 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  13. kickpleat

    I’m a fan of anything apple. I’ve got a load of apples in my fridge right now, so this cake looks perfect.

    5:05 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  14. Ciaochowlinda

    Love all those fall flavors. Looks like one delicious cake.

    5:26 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  15. Glenda

    I made this apple dessert for a Women’s Ministries Meeting and it was a hit. It was so simple. Thanks for this great web-site. May the Lord Bless you.

    8:31 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  16. Charles Thompson

    Looks delicious!!!!!

    9:08 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  17. Kasumi

    Ok, so I just stopped shoveling this in my mouth. Yum!! I ran out of cream before I got to the salted caramel (was a half a cup short of milk for my bechamel). You can bet there will be more chances to add that though!! Thank you for sharing such a spectacular (and spectacularly easy) treat.

    9:18 pm  Nov 2nd, 2009
  18. anushruti

    This looks gorgeous Nicole!

    12:51 am  Nov 3rd, 2009
  19. Leslie

    I made this cake last night with fresh pears and it was excellent.

    9:22 am  Nov 3rd, 2009
  20. Christa @ Antz on a Blog

    Looks so amazing! I can’t wait to make it!

    12:48 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  21. Andy

    Mmmm. That looks lovely! I once tried making something similar but the results were a little bit too dry so I’ll definitely give this recipe a go.

    2:05 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  22. Adelaide

    I made this last night for my husband. He has already eaten it all.

    2:44 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  23. Maria

    I made this last night as well, using Golden Delicious apples. It was completely gone by morning! Delicious.

    3:22 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  24. Paula

    That’s a great looking cake!! perfect for this time of the year 🙂

    6:08 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  25. alison

    great minds think alike, nicole! i had tons of apples and pears in the house from the orchard and used a large one of each (peeled and diced) because i couldn’t make up my mind on one so that’s why i overloaded it with fruit.. it actually turned out great, but not perfect in my mind for reasons stated on the original buttermilk cake recipe. i think putting a circle of parchment in the pan may have alleviated my minor inversion issue with a piece of fruit having sank to the bottom of the pan. i didn’t add cinnamon to mine–i attended a classic french culinary school and they think americans are crazy for using so much cinnamon so my apple recipes tend to be without–but this cake really would be lovely with it.

    6:12 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  26. cheffresco

    Mmm looks so yummy. Nice fall recipe. Where do you live again? I want to come get a slice! 🙂

    8:25 pm  Nov 3rd, 2009
  27. Patricia Scarpin

    I absolutely love baking with apples, and this cake looks fantastic!

    4:42 am  Nov 4th, 2009
  28. Bellini Valli

    This promises to become a favourite.

    5:51 am  Nov 4th, 2009
  29. Lisa S.

    Made this last night, family loved it! It tasted delicous even warm. Took it some to work and shared it, they loved it too! It’s a definite keeper. I signed up to receive emails and love it very much. I look forward to the next recipe.

    1:59 pm  Nov 4th, 2009
  30. Mrs. L

    This sounds like a perfect fall dessert. I need to make this soon!

    3:38 pm  Nov 4th, 2009
  31. Jenny

    This sounds and looks delicious! I’ll have to make this when my family comes into town.

    4:11 pm  Nov 4th, 2009
  32. Wizzythestick

    What’s your address? I am so dropping by for a piece of this cake:-)

    6:29 pm  Nov 4th, 2009
  33. Steph

    I love your fall twist on this cake. The best part is how wonderful it looks and must taste and it doesn’t even need frosting!

    7:35 pm  Nov 4th, 2009
  34. Anali

    This looks great! I baked a very similar cake recently. Now a fall favorite!

    11:00 pm  Nov 4th, 2009
  35. Alicia

    mmm sounds like my kind of cake – maybe I will stop over at your place 😉

    5:15 am  Nov 5th, 2009
  36. bergamot

    this looks good… i just love cinnamon

    8:43 am  Nov 6th, 2009
  37. Ayla

    Mine is in the oven now…I just got out of college and have seriously never baked in my life, so thank you for the inspiration! I’ve been reading your site for a few weeks – what can I say, I like looking at photos of good food – and finally decided to venture a few recipes. I made the lemon sugar cookies yesterday and peeps approved.

    6:57 pm  Nov 6th, 2009
  38. Claire

    Made this last night when some friends came over for drinks and a board game, and it was well recieved! It was very moist and tasted like autumn! Served it with some warm caramel sauce and whipped cream… Mmmmm. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    10:34 am  Nov 7th, 2009
  39. georgina

    Made this cake today and added chopped walnuts with the apples. I hope it tastes as good as it looks and smells! I’m going to serve it warm with a scoop of Haagen Dazs Dulce de leche ice cream 🙂

    4:16 pm  Nov 7th, 2009
  40. William

    This is an excellent recipe. I used it last night and we all enjoyed it immensely. Highly recommended. Think I might add some chopped almonds next time.

    8:45 am  Nov 8th, 2009
  41. yes

    baked it today, as i was expecting some guests over. it smelled so good that i couldn’t resist a piece as soon as i got it out the oven. and OH MY GOD was it delicious or what!!
    when the guests arrived, the rest of the cake only survived for 3-4 minutes, too.
    recipe is a keeper for years and years to come.. though i don’t think i’ve ever baked with buttermilk before:) thanks!

    2:32 pm  Nov 8th, 2009
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  43. Very Good!

    Made this yesterday and it was very good! Had no buttermilk around, Betty Crocker suggested plain yogurt as substitute and it worked out just fine.

    5:08 pm  Nov 9th, 2009
  44. Shannon

    Nicole, this cake is amazing. I made it today for our dessert tonight and my husband RAVED!

    7:18 pm  Nov 9th, 2009
  45. Flo Makanai

    Nicole, I recently made that cake “my way” (no gluten, no dairy products, and the apple came from my sister’s orchard in Brittany) for my family (we live 60 kms south of Paris, France) and we loved it!
    Thanks a lot!!!

    2:53 pm  Nov 10th, 2009
  46. Moocy

    I made this today and the whole wheat apple muffin recipe you posted a few days ago and both came out wonderfully! It’s great to find some new yummy ways to use of the last of the apples I picked. Thanks for the great recipes!

    4:10 pm  Nov 11th, 2009
  47. Alelunetta

    Looks lovely!! In Italy we don’t have buttermilk! Can I use yoghurt instead or something else like cream+milk …?

    7:04 am  Nov 13th, 2009
  48. Nicole

    For a buttermilk substitution, add 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice to a scant 1/2 cup of milk and let it sit for five minutes to thicken. You could also use plain yogurt thinned with a bit of milk.

    7:43 am  Nov 13th, 2009
  49. Crystal

    It tastes as good as it looks! Yum.
    Thanks for posting it.

    10:38 am  Nov 14th, 2009
  50. That's Yummy

    Beautiful! The pics make me wanna jump through my screen and eat that entire cake! I am definitely adding this to my baking roster! Thanks!

    4:18 pm  Nov 14th, 2009
  51. Dawn

    I love the pix and really want to cook this dessert cake, but here in country NSW Australia we are having a hot (38deg c predicted) day and cold mangoes are all I can think about cooking! Thanks for a great read.

    4:57 pm  Nov 15th, 2009
  52. Debbie

    Great tasting cake and very easy to make…….thanks!… this one is going in the recipe box

    1:12 pm  Nov 20th, 2009
  53. Rosie DeQuattro

    I love the simplicity of this cake. Glad you gave some credit to Gourmet; poor Gourmet–sorry to see it go away. Thanks for the recipe.

    1:53 pm  Nov 21st, 2009
  54. dinah

    Nicole, do you think you you can help? I am allergic to eggs… can I substitute this with more buttermilk maybe? really want to make this… look fw to hearing from you.

    9:09 am  Nov 26th, 2009
  55. Muum

    had a bite of some today! my daughter made it, and sent me here to get the recipe! yummy!

    9:52 pm  Dec 9th, 2009
  56. Claire

    Totally delicious cake, thank you for the recipe!

    @ dinah : You should look into using flax seed dissolved in a bit of water to substitute eggs…I’ve heard that works well. Look it up and try it out!

    5:39 pm  Dec 17th, 2009
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  58. Sabina

    I doubled the apples because you can’t have too much fruit – 1 cup in the dough, 1 cup sprinkled on top. I didn’t have buttermilk, just skim milk and it still turned out delicious. It was devoured within a day….mostly by myself. For the record, I did share a little with my husband.

    1:54 pm  Jan 1st, 2010
  59. Chaya

    I just made this for my husband so it is gluten free. It looks like yours which means it came out well and it good.

    I am blogging it, at Have A Cake.

    3:01 pm  May 14th, 2010
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  61. kristin

    I made this last year in the fall several times and am so excited that it’s that time of the year again! I have two in the oven now for Bible study tomorrow night and I can’t wait to share them – this cake is so good. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing it!

    4:32 pm  Oct 10th, 2010
  62. William

    Just to let you know that this cake is fast becoming a family favourite. Truly delicious, everyone I know likes it.

    3:50 am  Oct 11th, 2010
  63. Debbie

    It’s baking right now and my house smells like heaven!

    2:07 pm  Oct 21st, 2010
  64. Tracey

    I just baked this cake today and it is absolutely wonderful!! So simple, yet so delicious. Thanks for sharing – it was the perfect apple treat 🙂

    1:22 pm  Nov 2nd, 2010
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  67. Medallion

    Do you think that you could post some pictures of the processes? So I know how you achieved the beautiful product at the end. Thanks.

    10:42 am  Dec 31st, 2011
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  69. Kathy

    This cake is stunning, definitely worth a go if you love apples and cinnamon. The buttermilk makes it so moist!

    5:34 pm  Mar 3rd, 2012
  70. Courtney G.

    I just made this tonight!! So good!!!

    3:49 pm  Sep 9th, 2012
  71. Deirdre

    I made these bad boys for work as my Christmas gift and they were a HUGE hit!!!

    I added walnuts to the recpie and instead of raw sugar on top, I subsituted it with brown sugar = SO GOOD

    9:04 am  Dec 21st, 2012
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