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Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting is decadent, rich, and full of fall flavor. It’s the most tender and moist apple pecan spice cake that you will ever make. And the brown sugar cream cheese frosting is absolutely delicious!

There’s just something tantalizing about apples that make the ordinary extraordinary.  Take these breakfast recipes for example Apple Crumb Muffins, Caramel Apple Cinnamon Rolls or Crumb Topped Apple Coffee Cake. Apples just make it special. This cake will be no different.

Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

This was easily one of the BEST cakes that I have ever had. Everything about this cake was absolute perfection. The spice cake was so tender and moist and the apples baked inside were amazing! The apple pecan combination brought out such a delicious flavor and texture. BUT lets just talk about the brown sugar cream cheese frosting… you will die. It was the best finishing touch to this perfect cake.

Let this cake be on the top of your list for fall baking. Actually do not wait until it is officially fall. Bake it right now! I think that you will quickly agree that this is one of the best cakes ever.

Apple Spice Cake and Frosting Ingredients

  • Granny Smith Apples: Granny Smiths are the best apples for baking with because of their sturdy texture and crisp tartness
  • Sugar: Sweetens the cake and the apples
  • Oil: Adds moisture
  • Eggs: Eggs are a stabilizer and moisture enhancer
  • Vanilla: Flavor
  • Flour: All purpose or unbleached flour are good strong flours for this cake
  • Baking Powder/ Baking Soda: Both of these together make the cake light and fluffy
  • Cinnamon/ Nutmeg: Love these spices with apples
  • Salt: Brings balance to the sweetness
  • Milk: Helps create a moist and tender cake
  • Pecans: Add that beautiful nutty flavor and crunch

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients

  • Cream Cheese: Low fat or full fat work, bring it to room temperature.
  • Butter: Also bring the butter to room temperature or soften in the microwave for about 10 sec.
  • Vanilla: Blends beautifully with the brown sugar
  • Brown Sugar: Both light or dark brown sugar work here.

Making Apple Pecan Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

  1. Mix: In a large bowl combine apples and sugar. Stir in the oil, eggs and vanilla
  2. Combine: In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  3. Fold: Add the flour mixture to the apple mixture and gently mix.
  4. Stir: Pour in the milk and stir till just combined. Add chopped pecans.
  5. Bake: Pour into greased 9×13 inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 min.
  6. Frosting: Once completely cooled frost:
    1. Beat: Beat the cream cheese till smooth, add in butter and continue to mix till smooth. Scrape the sides as you mix. Add in the vanilla and brown sugar. Beat for 5 min till light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved.

Tips for Perfect Apple Cake

  • Apples: Chop the apples into smaller than bite sized pieces. You want to make sure the apples are small enough to cook through and eat. If they are too big it’ll be harder to eat and cook. I like the the size of my nail as a guide.
  • Toast: I love toasting my nuts before adding them to the cake as well as on top. It adds more nutty flavor. Feel free to leave them out or use walnuts instead.
  • Bake: This is a very dense and moist cake. That’s one of the reasons it’s so good. Make sure you check the center for doneness in several places before taking out. If you pierce an apple it can come out clean when it’s not really done. So check in several places.
  • Beat:  You will want to make sure you beat the frosting for a long time till the sugar is dissolved and it’s light and fluffy, otherwise it’ll be runny and or gritty.
  • Bake A head:  This is such a great cake to make the day before you need it because it gets better with time. Once cooked, cooled and frosted refrigerate till needed.

Keep the Cake

  • Fridge: Keep this cake in the fridge in an airtight container or wrapped with foil or plastic wrap to hold in the moisture. It will keep for up to a week.
  • Freeze: This cake freezes beautifully. Cool the cake completely, but do not frost,  and then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge. Prepare frosting and spread on once thawed.
Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting side view on a white plate.

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Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 6 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
The most tender and moist apple pecan spice cake that you will make.  And the brown sugar cream cheese frosting is absolutely delicious!  
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 Slices


  • 4 cups Granny Smith Apples chopped into small pieces
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup pecans roughly chopped

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 package cream cheese frosting 8 ounce, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 9×13 inch baking pan. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine apples and sugar. Stir in oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • In another mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add the flour mixture to the apple mixture. Add milk and stir until just combined. Add chopped pecans.
  • Pour into prepared 9×13 inch pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely.
  • To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and continue to beat until smooth scraping down sides when needed. Add vanilla and brown sugar. Beat for 5 minutes until it is light and fluffy and the sugar has dissolved. Spread evenly on top of the cake. Refrigerate after frosting.



Calories: 487kcalCarbohydrates: 75gProtein: 4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 295mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 3gSugar: 57gVitamin A: 201IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious. I made it with wheat flour once for friends and it was such a hit that I had to try it with my GF alternative(Bob’s Red Mill) so that I could try it myself. So good!

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE this cake! I’ve made it every fall for the last 3 years and shared it with different family members each time. Everyone always loves it! And I love that it can be made ahead of time. I find that it’s just as yummy, maybe even better, the next day! Thanks for this recipe!