Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

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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.

More Apple Recipes to Savor

Apple Pecan Spice Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting

5 from 6 votes
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
Author Alyssa Rivers
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.



Serves: 12

Calories487kcal (24%)Carbohydrates75g (25%)Protein4g (8%)Fat20g (31%)Saturated Fat11g (55%)Cholesterol38mg (13%)Sodium295mg (12%)Potassium216mg (6%)Fiber3g (12%)Sugar57g (63%)Vitamin A201IU (4%)Vitamin C2mg (2%)Calcium76mg (8%)Iron2mg (11%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword apple pecan spice cake, apple pecan spice cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting, cake recipe, spice cake
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. Hey tnx for your nice recipe i made it and i loved the texture but i feel its too sweet…i taste it warm Of course…salt taste was clear too…can i reduce sugar and salt?

  2. Hi this recipe sounds great. I made some awesome Spicy Apple Butter and wanted to substitute the butter for the apples. Any Idea about that conversion?

  3. Do you think I could make the cake, cool it, freeze it and frost it next week? I’m a bit worried about the apples?

  4. I finally got around to making this recipe over the weekend….so delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  5. I made this yesterday. It is the best apple cake i have ever eaten. My coffee clutch friends raved over it.
    Thanks for sharing

  6. Where in the store do I find the “package” of cream cheese frosting? The store just has the 16 oz cans. I need to make this tomorrow. It looks so good and I just bought some cinnamon-rum gelato that I’ll serve with it! Yum

    1. Anita, Ingredients for making the cream cheese frosting follow beneath that heading in the ingredients list

  7. I think in the ingredients you mean 1 package of cream cheese (not cream cheese frosting). I’m pinning this for a cookout we are going to on Labor Day weekend. Looks delicious!

  8. This looks absolutely delicious and am most anxious to make it. Do you peel the apples first before chopping or just leave the skin on?

      1. I did the same thing. Definitely peel the apples of anyone is reading this. The skin doesn’t break down. I also needed to bake for about 50 mins.

      2. Rani, I noticed video for this recipe did show the peelings left on; however, in cakes or pie recipes, apples are usually peeled.

    1. I didn’t peel the apples. The peels didn’t bother me. Extra fiber and less work are bonuses for me. You gotta make up your own mind. For me, I like the texture too.

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