What do you do when you are hankering after an apple pie, but also kinda want to eat cake too? Well, of course, you make an apple pie layer cake and quash both of those cravings in one delicious and decadent dessert!
Pie crust and apple pie filling are layered between spiced sponge cake, and then covered with a cinnamon frosting, and topped with a walnut crumble.
This cake is a real showstopper cake for fall – serve it for an autumn afternoon tea, or as dessert at a dinner party.
I’ve got more Autumn Recipes for you to enjoy – right click and open these other recipes in a new tab so that you can read them after this one!
This post is part of the Crafty October series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog – a celebration of everything Halloween and Autumn. Now in its 8th year, the 2019 series is bigger and better, running from September 1st, all the way through All Hallows’ Eve on October 31st!
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Apple Pie Layer Cake
When I think of the flavours of autumn, my mind always goes to ingredients like apples, pumpkins, blackberries, and nuts like walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts to name but a few. I think of warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and I think of dishes like pies, soups, and stews – good old fashioned comfort food! This apple cake definitely applies to my thoughts about fall recipes!
The apple pie layered cake is a labor of love to prepare, coming in at around 3½ hours (including bake time), but when you cut a slice and serve it to family or guests, it will have all been worth it!
The spiced cake used in this recipe is made from scratch, as is the apple pie filling, cinnamon frosting, and walnut crumble. If you want to make your own pastry for the pie crust filling, please be my guest, but I’m not so great at making pastry so always just buy it!
Ingredients used in this recipe
There are five different elements that go into making this cake, and that means five sets of ingredients. Some of the ingredients required do overlap – sugar, spices, that sort of thing, so I’m listing all that is needed in this layer cake recipe below, and the exact quantities will be in the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
You may have many of these ingredients in your pantry or kitchen, and I don’t feel that there are any really specialized ingredients required as they should all be found quite easily in supermarkets. I’ve included the US/UK terms for some of the ingredients too.
- all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- ground cinnamon
- ground nutmeg
- ground cloves
- unsalted sweet cream butter – in the UK, sweet cream butter is our regular butter – buy unsalted. Read A Guide to Different Butters on Great British Chefs.
- white sugar
- light brown sugar
- large eggs
- vanilla extract
Equipment used in this recipe
This recipe uses American cup measurements. Since I use this type of measurement often, I find it handy to have a set of measuring cups in the kitchen.
As well as usual cake making/baking supplies like bowls, measuring cups, spoons, whisk, spatula, etc., you will also need a large saucepan to cook the apple pie filling, and a cookie sheet to bake the pie crust.
A stand mixer (or hand mixer) makes light work of cake making, and I couldn’t be without either in my kitchen!
To build and decorate the cake you will need a 10-inch round cake board and/or cake stand, an offset spatula/palette knife or scraper to apply and smooth out the cake frosting, as well as a piping bag with a round tip to add frosting to the inner layers.
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How to make this layer cake
I’ve got several step-by-step photos to guide you through making an apple pie layer cake, and there is also a slideshow video over on my YouTube channel that you can watch and save to your Playlists for future reference. (Don’t forget to subscribe while you are there!)
Full instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post, but here is a quick outline so you know what to expect from the recipe. I highly recommend always reading a recipe all the way through before starting.
The making of this cake starts with preparing all of the different components.
You will be making the cake first, and while that is cooking you will make the apple pie filling. Then while they are both cooling, you can put the pie crust in the oven to bake, and then prepare the walnut crumble. And finally, you make the cinnamon frosting.
When you have all the different parts made and cooled (where applicable) it’s time to build the cake!
Place one cake layer onto a cake board or cake stand (I usually put a blob of frosting under the cake to hold it in place).
Spread some frosting onto the top of the cake, and then place one of the pie crust on top of the frosting. Now, pipe two large rings of frosting around the pie crust, and fill the middle with some of the apple pie filling.
Place the second layer of cake on top, and repeat the previous steps with the frosting, pie crust, and apples. Then add the final cake layer.
With the remaining frosting cover the entire cake – you may find it easier if you chill the layered cake first so that the frosting inside it sets a bit.
Use an offset spatula/palette knife and/or a scraper to spread out the frosting and to make it smooth all the way around. Then sprinkle the crumble in a ring around the edge of the top, before placing in the refrigerator to chill and set the outer frosting.
When ready to serve, slice and enjoy!
Make It A Meal!
Looking for some mealtime inspiration to go with this apple dessert? I’ve got you covered!
- Appetizer: Spicy Pumpkin and Butter Bean Soup
- Main Dish: Roasted Pork Loin with Apple + Onions
- Side Dish: Roasted Apple Cauliflower Mash with Crispy Brussels Sprouts
- Beverage: Apple Cider Margarita
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy! Please feel free to check them out too.
More Recipes Using Apples
- Caramel Apple Bread Pudding Recipe
- River Cottage Soda Bread with Blackberries & Apple
- Gluten-Free + Paleo Spiced Apple Loaf
More Cake Recipes
Once you’ve made this apple pie cake, I know you’ll be looking for more cake recipes to make, here are some to take a look at and try out.
- Hawaiian Pineapple Coconut Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
- How To Make A Chocolate Explosion Cake
- Chocolate Cherry Cream Cake
For the Spiced Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- 3 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (coarse sea salt)
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1½ cups buttermilk
- 1 cup unsalted sweet cream butter*, softened
- 1 cup white sugar (caster sugar)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 3 (9-inch) round cake pans
- 1 (10-inch) cake board
For the Apple Pie Filling
- 5 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 4 tsp lemon juice
- ½ cup white sugar (caster sugar)
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 4 tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ¼ tsp kosher salt (coarse sea salt)
- 2 cups water
For the Pie Crust
- 2 (9in) round store-bought pie crust (ready-rolled pastry cut into rounds)
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the Cinnamon Frosting
- 3 cups unsalted sweet cream butter*, softened
- 6 cups powder sugar (icing sugar)
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 3-6 tbsp heavy whipping cream (double cream)
- 1 large piping bag with a round tip
For the Walnut Crumble
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour (plain flour)
- ½ cup oatmeal (porridge oats)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- ½ tsp kosher salt (coarse sea salt)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter*, cold
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- To make the spiced cake: Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and grease three 9-inch baking pans with baking spray or butter.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, and ground spices into a large bowl. Add the salt and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract together in a bowl and set aside.
- Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs one at a time until combined before adding another egg.
- Alternate adding the flour mix and buttermilk mixture to the butter, sugar, and eggs combining well between each addition.
- Divide the batter between the 3 pans and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- To make the apple pie filling: Toss the chopped apples with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Place the sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and water into a large saucepan and bring to a slow boil on medium heat.
- Once water is boiling, add the apples and bring back to a boil for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the stove and allow it to cool completely. The sauce will start to thicken as it cools.
- To make the pie layer: Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the pie crusts onto the cookie sheets and brush with beaten egg. Bake in the oven (same temperature as cake) for 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely.
- To make the walnut crumble: Keep the oven heated at the same temperature as before and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, chopped walnuts, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until combined.
- Cut the butter into cubes and place them into the flour mixture. Use the tips of your fingers to rub the in the butter to make the crumble.
- Pour the crumble mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and mix the crumble before returning to the oven for a further 8 minutes. Remove and cool completely. When cooled, break up into pieces.
- To make the cinnamon frosting: Beat all of the ingredients together with an electric mixer until fluffy, smooth and forms stiff peaks - about 5 minutes. You can add more powdered sugar or cream to adjust the mixture as required.
- Scoop about 2 cups of the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and set aside.
- To build the cake: Place the first layer of cake onto a 10-inch cake board (and onto a cake stand if using). Scoop about 1 cup of frosting onto the cake layer and spread evenly.
- Place a pie crust onto frosting then pipe two large, stacked rings around the pie crust.
- Fill in the middle with half of the apple pie filling. Place the second cake layer on top.
- Repeat steps with the second cake layer, and add the third cake layer to finish.
- Using the remaining frosting to cover the entire cake. You may find it easier to chill the cake first so that the frosting inside hardens.
- Create a ring of crumble around the top edge of the cake and refrigerate before serving.
- Cut into slices and enjoy!
*in the UK this is our regular butter. Buy a pack of unsalted butter!
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 2495Total Fat: 129gSaturated Fat: 74gTrans Fat: 4gUnsaturated Fat: 45gCholesterol: 429mgSodium: 2226mgCarbohydrates: 328gFiber: 9gSugar: 249gProtein: 18g
The Crafty October series on The Purple Pumpkin Blog is filled with free printables, crafts, recipes, and more for Halloween and Fall! You can check out Crafty October from 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013 and 2012 for tons of awesome Halloween ideas and inspiration!