Apple Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

This Apple Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Topping is a semi-homemade dream. Boxed spice cake mix is combined with apples, nuts, and spices, topped with a brown sugar mix, and baked until moist, tender, and crunchy on top.

slice of apple cake topped with cinnamon sugar on a plate.

You guys, this cake is apple-licious! We’ve been making it for a few years now, and it’s always a huge hit whenever we serve it. We love cake, and we can go overboard at times. You’ve probably seen some of our more involved cakes on the site. However, sometimes, making something delicious and pretty is nice without spending a million hours in the kitchen. That’s why we love this cake. It’s quick, easy, and absolutely delicious.

slice of apple cake topped with cinnamon sugar on a plate.

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It only uses a few basic baking ingredients.
  • It’s a quick and easy semi-homemade recipe.
  • The apples and spice cake are perfect together.
  • The brown sugar topping adds extra sweetness and crunch.


Everything you need to make this recipe is either in your kitchen or a quick trip to the grocery store away. That’s how simple this ingredient list is. There’s nothing fancy whatsoever!

All the ingredients are listed here, but you’ll find their exact amounts in the recipe card at the end of the post.

For the Cake

  • Spice cake mix
  • Milk
  • Unsalted sweet cream butter
  • Large eggs
  • Chopped apples
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Sugar
  • Apple pie spice

For the Brown Sugar Crust

  • Light brown sugar
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Unsalted sweet cream butter – melted
  • Sugar for sprinkling on top

🔪 How to Make Apple Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

Making this cake is super easy, and don’t we all love that? You’ll just add some extra ingredients to spice cake mix, mix a scant handful of ingredients, and bake it all. That’s all there is to it, and when you’re done, you’ll have one of the most delicious apple cakes you’ve ever eaten.

Step 1: Prep

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

diced apples being coated in cinnamon sugar in a large bowl.

Step 2: Make the Apples

Mix the apples, ground cinnamon, sugar, and apple pie spice in a medium bowl and set aside.

apples being added to cake batter in large mixing bowl.

Step 3: Make the Cake Batter

Beat the cake mix, milk, butter, and eggs until combined in a large bowl. Then, fold in the chopped apple mixture.

brown sugar topping being mixed in bowl.

Step 4: Make the Topping

Whisk the brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and melted butter in a medium bowl until it forms a crumble.

finished apple cake in a glass casserole dish ready for you the oven.

Step 5: Bake

Pour the batter into the baking dish and spread the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top of the batter. Then, bake for 30 to 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 6: Cool and Top

Cool the cake completely, then sprinkle the sugar on top. Enjoy!


  • Apples: Use your favorite apples in this recipe. Granny Smith adds tartness, while varieties like Honey Crisp add sweetness.
  • Caramel: Try folding in chopped caramel for caramel apple spice cake.
  • Butterscotch Chips: Fold in butterscotch chips for even more flavor.
  • Nuts: Try adding chopped walnuts or pecans.

If you love all things apple cake, then check out this apple dapple cake recipe.

🥄 Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • 9×13 baking dish
slice of apple cake topped with cinnamon sugar on a plate.

🥫 Storage

Store this apple cake in an air-tight container at room temperature for 2 to 3 days. You can also refrigerate it for up to 4 days. However, it might dry out a bit. For longer storage, wrap the cake tightly in a double layer of plastic wrap, then foil, and freeze it for up to 3 months.

What to Serve with Apple Cake

The flavors of this apple cake are perfect with a glass of milk for the kids or a cup of coffee or tea for the grownups. For a more adult pairing, try it with a dessert wine or hard apple cider.

You can also serve this cake with ice cream, fresh fruit, or whipped cream.

💭 Tips

  • Mix your cake batter until combined, but no further. This helps keep the cake tender.
  • Fold in the apple mixture rather than stirring it in to prevent creating excess gluten.
  • Spray your baking dish evenly with a light coating of non-stick spray. Don’t go overboard!
  • Let your apple mixture sit for a few minutes to begin to macerate and release its juices.

⁉️ FAQ

Do you have questions about this recipe? Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions.

What are the best apples for apple cake?

Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Jonathan, and Pacific Rose are all excellent choices for apple cake.

Why was my apple cake dry?

If you mismeasured your flour, you could have added too many dry ingredients to the batter. Overbaking can lead to dry cake, as well.

How do you measure flour correctly?

Spoon the flour loosely into your measuring cup, then level it off with a knife. This keeps the flour from compacting, ensuring proper measurement.

🍽 More Recipes

Do you enjoy cake? Then try these delicious recipes:

🧾Recipe Card

Want to make this recipe? Print the recipe card below, or pin this recipe to find it later.

slice of apple cake topped with cinnamon sugar on a plate.

Apple Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Topping

This apple cake with cinnamon sugar topping takes boxed spice cake mix to the next level with a brown sugar crust for extra crunch and flavor.
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12 Slices
Calories: 380kcal


  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • 9×13 baking dish


  • 15.25 ounces spice cake mix
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 cup chopped apples
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple pie spice

Brown Sugar Crust

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted sweet cream butter melted
  • ½ cup sugar for sprinkle on top
  • cinnamon for sprinkling on top with sugar – optional


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 13×9 baking dish with pam baking spray.
  • In a medium mix until combined the chopped apples, 1 tbsp ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp sugar,
  • and 1 tbsp apple pie spice.
  • Using a large bowl, beat together until combined the cake mix, milk, butter, and eggs until
  • combined.
  • Fold in the chopped apples.
  • Pour the batter into the baking dish and set aside.
  • Using a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon and melted.
  • butter until crumble.
  • Spread the mixture over the top of the batter.
  • Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool completely.
  • Before serving, sprinkle the 1/2C sugar and a light dusting of cinnamon on top if desired.


Any nutritional data I provide is an approximation and actual dietary information can vary based on ingredients and proportion sizes.


Serving: 1Slice | Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 69mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 204mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 392IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 2mg

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