Step back in time with this old-fashioned apple cake recipe. Moist apple cake scaled perfectly for 2 or 3 people. Easy and just sweet enough for an afternoon snack. The soft chunks of apple melt in your mouth.

You might also like this small-batch courgette (zucchini) cake or this yummy mini pound cake and you should try these mini cinnamon bundt cakes.

old fashioned apple cake

This fresh apple cake is tasty and it’s also extra easy to make. No mixers are needed.

Ingredient Notes

  • Cake Flour: it really does make a difference, cake flour has less protein and creates less gluten which produced a nice soft crumb.
  • Baking Soda: don’t forget the baking soda, you need this for a nice rise to the apple cake.
  • Salt: the salt not only enhances the flavor it helps with the texture.
  • Butter: In this recipe, I opt for salted butter, you can also substitute a neutral flavor vegetable oil.
  • Sugar: Granulated sugar for the cake and Confectioners sugar for dusting on the finished cake.
  • Egg: One whole egg
  • Vanilla Extract: use pure vanilla extract or paste.
  • Lemon Juice: freshly squeezed lemon has a better flavor
  • Sour Cream: the sour cream adds a little more moistness to the cake and replaces milk. I always have sour cream in the fridge, but not much milk around the house. You can also substitute the sour cream with plain yogurt.
  • Apple: I always have apples in the house and will cook with whatever I have on hand. A tart apple like granny smith is always a good choice. You can also substitute fresh Pears, especially if you are the holiday recipient of Harry & David Pears and don’t know what to do with all those Pears.
  • Cinnamon: a classic baking spice that you can adjust according to your own taste. If you like you can also shake a little nutmeg and ginger or go heavier with the cinnamon.


I like this apple cake dusted with powder sugar, however, you can substitute a cream cheese frosting.

Add the ingredients into a medium bowl and using a hand mixer on low mix together 4 ounces of cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of butter, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of powder sugar. Taste the frosting and add more sugar to your personal taste.

Easy Recipe Instructions

Mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix them together.

Fold in the chopped apples.

Pour batter into the baking dish.

Bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit n the bottom rack of the toaster oven for 45-50 minutes. This setting is for my Breville Smart Oven, I did not use the convection setting.

If using a regular oven. bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit and check after 35 minutes.

Let cool and remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar. This is the small Emile Henry Baking Dish I use for the apple cake.

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old fashioned apple cake

Old Fashioned Fresh Apple Cake

Step back in time with this old-fashioned fresh apple cake recipe. It's moist and just sweet enough for an afternoon snack.
4.78 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 slices
Calories: 430kcal
Author:Sydney Dawes



  • ¾ cup cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter softened
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • ¾ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 large apple peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar


  • Preheat toaster oven to 300 degrees. Line the bottom of a 5 x 7 baking dish with parchment paper and lightly spray the dish with oil.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, sour cream, and egg, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vanilla and lemon juice.
  • Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient until just combined.
  • Dice the apples and sprinkle with the cinnamon then fold the apples into the batter.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan to even out the batter.
  • Bake on the lower rack of a toaster oven for 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool before removing from pan.
  • Remove from pan and lightly dust with the confectioner sugar.
  • Slice into six smaller or four larger servings.


Choose the Right Apples: You need apples that hold up under heat like Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn apples. 
Proper Preparation of Apples: Peel, core, and slice your apples properly. Thin, even slices will cook uniformly, contributing to a more consistent flavor and texture.
Spice Mix: An apple cake isn’t complete without the warming flavors of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Some recipes might also include allspice or cloves. Be sure to blend these spices thoroughly into your dry ingredients to ensure even distribution in your batter.
Balancing Moisture: Apple cakes should be moist but not soggy. If your apples are excessively juicy, consider tossing them in a bit of flour before adding them to the batter. This can help absorb some of the excess liquid.
Don’t Overmix: Overmixing can result in a tough, dense cake. The wet and dry ingredients should be just incorporated, and there should be no large pockets or streaks of flour, but a few small lumps are okay.
Baking Time: To avoid overbaking, check for doneness about 10 minutes before the recommended baking time ends.
Cooling: Cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 10-15 minutes before removing. It may fall apart if you try to remove it immediately after baking.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 218mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 30g
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Cut the apple cake into 4 or six slices and serve just as is.

How to store fresh apple cake?

This recipe is made with fresh apples, so you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator.  Cover with saran wrap or place in a covered container. The cake can be stored for 2-3 days.


  • This small version of old-fashioned fresh apple cake is perfect to bake in paper pans and wrap up for holiday gifts.
  • Substitute the apples with fresh pears.
  • Add some nutmeg and ginger to the recipe for a holiday flavor.

More toaster oven desserts to try are my scrumptious Raspberry Cream Cheese Muffins .

4.78 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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