Apple Dapple Cake

This old-fashioned apple dapple cake recipe is the darling of fall baking. Every moist bite is positively infused with chunks of juicy apple, toasted pecans, and an amazingly sweet and buttery brown sugar glaze.

Apple Dapple Cake hero image

Mama has been making this old-fashioned apple dapple cake for as long as I can remember. It’s always signaled the arrival of apple season for us! So this apple season, pick some fresh apples and bake this easy apple cake recipe. All you need is typical baking ingredients (flour, salt, baking soda, sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, milk, and butter), plus some chopped pecans for extra crunch.

The wonderful thing about Mama’s vintage apple dapple cake recipe (and I do mean WONDERFUL) is that the resulting flavor is a perfect blend of fresh apples and buttery brown sugar. With the special caramel-like brown sugar soaking sauce poured over the cake and allowed to soak in before removing the cake from the pan, it is by far the moistest and densest cake I’ve ever baked.

As if the flavor (and smell) were not enough, the slices are gorgeous too. Thick slices showcase bits of apple and the slightly granular texture around the edges of the tender crust is brought on by the brown sugar. Don’t you just love the taste of brown sugar? I mean, all on its own, I just love brown sugar. Whenever I am baking with it, I can’t help but get a pinch out for myself. Lucky is the day when I find a few precious lumps within the bag!

If you’ve ever wanted to win someone over through their stomach, THIS cake is a home run.

Apple Dapple Cake ingredients

Recipe Ingredients

  • Apples
  • All-purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Baking soda
  • Granulated sugar
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Pecans
  • Brown sugar
  • Milk
  • Unsalted butter

How to Make Apple Dapple Cake

Mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

In your mixing bowl, place oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix until blended.

You can do this by hand or using an electric mixer. Go with your mood.

Sift flour, baking soda, and salt into separate mixing bowl.

In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt.

Combine wet and dry ingredients.

Add this to your wet ingredients and mix until blended again.

The cake batter will become a thick dough.

Like this.

It’s a nice thick dough at this point.

Peel and chop apples into little chunks. 

Peel and chop apples into little chunks. 

Add chopped apples and pecans to the apple dapple cake batter.

Add chopped apples and pecans to the cake batter.

Apple dapple cake batter all mixed together.

Stir those together until they are fully incorporated. 

Prepare your pan either by greasing with shortening and flouring or by using one of those handy, dandy cooking sprays.

Press batter into bundt pan and bake.

Spoon your apple dapple cake batter into your pan.

My mother uses a tube pan but whenever I bake this I just use a bundt pan. Either one is fine.

Bake this in the oven at 350 for one hour.

Place milk, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepot.

Making the Brown Sugar Sauce

About 10 minutes before your cake is done, you need to make this AMAZING sauce to pour over the cake while it is still hot in the pan.

Place milk, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepot.

Boil sauce on stovetop.

Stir this together on the stove eye at medium to medium-high heat, bringing to a gentle boil.

Once it starts boiling gently, keep stirring and cook for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Remove hot delicious cake from the oven.

Baked apple dapple cake

Look at that beauty!

Pour sauce over hot cake.

While the apple dapple cake is still piping hot in the pan, pour the sauce over it and let it all sit until it soaks it up.


Let cake completely cool in the pan.


The sauce will soak up, just be patient. 

Leave the cake in the pan until it has cooled completely.

Apple Dapple Cake

Have you ever seen a more beautiful apple cake?

Apple dapple cake slices.

I hope you get to make it soon! 

Might oughta make two 😉.


  • Store leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
  • You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months. Double wrap them in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil to avoid freezer burn and thaw in the fridge or at room temperature before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • For extra flavor, add 2 teaspoons of your favorite seasoning. That might be 1.5 teaspoons of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of nutmeg, apple pie spice, or pumpkin pie spice. All work well with this apple cake recipe.
  • If you want to add more texture, some apple dapple cake recipes include 1 cup of flaked coconut and 1 cup of raisins as well. Fold them in when you add the chopped apple and pecans.
  • Speaking of, feel free to substitute the chopped pecans for chopped walnuts instead. If you like, toast them for about 5 minutes in the oven beforehand for extra crunch and texture.
  • Another substitution you can make is to swap the milk in the glaze for heavy cream.

Recipe FAQs

What kind of apples should I use?

As pictured, I always use Granny Smith apples due to how the tart flavor combines well with the sweetness of this dish. You can also use Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Jonathan, Jonagold, or even Golden Delicious works.

Where does apple dapple cake originate?

The origin of apple dapple cake is unknown, as Amish, Southern, and Jewish cultures all make their own version that are very similar to this recipe.

Apple Dapple Cake

This old-fashioned apple dapple cake recipe includes chunks of juicy apple, toasted pecans, and an amazing buttery brown sugar sauce.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 612kcal


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups fresh apples, peeled and finely chopped


  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks)


  • Spray a bundt cake pan or a tube pan liberally with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Mix together oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl.
    1 cup vegetable oil, 2 cups granulated sugar, 3 eggs, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, and baking soda. Then add this to the wet ingredients before folding in the pecans and diced apples.
    3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 cup chopped pecans, 3 cups fresh apples, peeled and finely chopped
  • Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
  • Place sauce ingredients into a small saucepot over medium-high heat. Stir constantly and bring it to a gentle boil. After it begins gently boiling, continue to stir and allow to cook for about 3 minutes.
    1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup butter
  • Pour the sauce over the hot cake while it's still in the pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing it from the pan.


Calories: 612kcal
Tried this recipe?Mention @southernplate or tag #southernplate!



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  1. And those featured recipes! Wow – the doctored-up apple pie and the apple cream cheese cobbler – they both look so good! I cna’t wait to get my hands on a bumper crop of apples. Yummmm!!!

  2. That cake looks amazing! You talking about brown sugar reminded me of my own dear children. Zaylee will open the pantry, pull down the container of brown sugar and open the lid, and then she and Thomas will just dig in and help themselves to huge handfuls of brown sugar! At least, they did until my genius husband thought to start storing it on the top shelf. Why didn’t I think of that…

  3. April: Thank you! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Oh lord how I love this cake. I think I gained a few pounds just thinking about it, but it is very much worth it!!!

    Cheryl: Welcome to Southern Plate!! It is wonderful to have you here! Folks, I went to have a gander at that German apple cake she mentioned and WOWEEEE!. Yup, I’m in for a BIG slice of that!!!

    Su: Hey! That was actually my mother’s Kitchenaid mixer but I have its twin! I got mine for my thirtieth birthday. It was a HUGE surprise to me. My grandmothers and parents all went in on it. I was beyond surprised and thrilled! Both of ours are as red as can be! Next to my slow cooker, it is my favorite kitchen appliance!

    Hey Bill! I know you will love this cake, I just know it! If you end up buying a pan, I would go for a bundt just because they are less hassle and you’ll find more uses for them than a tube pan (can you tell I don’t really like tube pans?). I have two bundt pans and my favorite is my Wilton brand one. They sell them at Wal Mart and it is a nice heavy pan compared to my other bundt. The Wilton bakes cakes evenly and the finish on the pan itself is excellent. Of course, NordicWare makes amazing pans, too.

    Hope you find your Mama’s! Let me know how this turns out! I am just enjoying the dickens out of your blog!

  4. Awesome cake! I gotta make it for the dadster now. Thanks for posting my recipe and my blog link, that was way cool of you. I think I have everything I need to make that cake..’cept for the cake pan..sniff..

    My dear departed mama’s bundt pan should be around here somewhere.. If I find it, it shouldn’t take more than 3 or 4 rounds in the dishwasher to get the dust off..

  5. Your cake looks delicious Christy! Especially with the buttery sugary sauce all over it. I will have to make it, but I’ll probably omit the pecans just because I’m not a fan of nuts overall.
    And you have a beautiful KitchenAid mixer! I wish I had one, but at $800, I’m not too sure…. 🙁

    1. I plan on making this for my son’s birthday party! Should the cake be stored at room temperature, or in the fridge?

      1. I just made this cake and it is now cooling.
        The caramel sauce is delicious. I tasted it!!
        Can’t wait to try the cake..
        Pretty easyto make with simple ingredients.

  6. Holy apple cake that looks GOOD! I’m so excited about all the apple recipes this week. My husband isn’t big on desserts unless it’s got apples in it so he’s going to have a happy tummy. Adding this cake to my list of “must make”.

    1. 5 stars
      This cake is good, moist. I did add 1 tsp cinnamon. I like cinnamon with anything apple. Love the sauce but since my husband is diabetic I did not pour it over the cake. I did save it to reheat for slices later. It did reheat well in the microwave

    2. I also have a recipe for fresh apple cake that is almost the same thing..Keep it covered snd the long it last the better it gets..IF you manage to keep it that long.
      Wrapped properly it freezes well also..One of my favorite cakes!! It makes wonderful gifts!! Anyone would be happy to receive one for Thanksgiving or Christmas!

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