Layered Apple Harvest Cake

September marks the beginning of apple season and as a baker that makes me so happy! I have a surplus of apples on hand so you can expect lots of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp confections this month.

I'm kicking things off with a recipe that is old fashioned in the best way possible. It's a cake your grandmother might've made. I call it Layered Apple Harvest Cake, because it's usual name - 'Apple Bundt Cake' - seems a bit generic and says too little about it.

Granny Smith apples are so lovely for baking because they are dry and tart. They don't give off too much moisture during baking and under heat they become sweet and soft, but still hold their shape. I recommend using them for this recipe.

I used a mandoline to slice my apples (which gives me pause because it is scary sharp!) but you can use a non-serrated knife. I set my mandolin blade at 3mm, which is plenty thin enough. In fact, I might go a little thicker next time.

The apples are tossed with cinnamon-sugar and then alternately layered with the cake batter. This is a high sugar cake batter, and you'll notice when mixing it how thick and heavy it is. All of that sugar contributes to a deeply caramelized exterior.

It's difficult to see the apple layers once the cake is sliced, but as your fork finds them they separate into delicate layers. It's so heavenly!

Happy Apple Season! 

Layered Apple Harvest Cake
One 10-inch cake

Be sure to grease the pan well with flour-based baking spray. The cake batter has a lot of sugar in it to yield a deep caramelized exterior, but that also makes it prone to stick!

3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (500g) sugar, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups (480ml) light olive oil (or veg. oil)
1/3 cup (80 ml) apple juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 lb. 6 ounces thin apples slices
      (about 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced)
1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Cream cheese glaze
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups (230g) confectioners’ sugar
Milk or cream, as needed
1/3 cup (40g) broken pecan halves

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-inch tube pan (or large bundt pan) with flour-based baking spray.

Place flour, 2 cups of sugar and the next 7 ingredients in the order given in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at medium speed until well blended. Scrape down the bowl as needed and mix again.

Combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl; add the apples slices and toss to coat.

Place 2 cups of cake batter in the bottom of the prepared pan. Layer half of the apples on top. Pour 1 1/2 cups batter on top of the apples. Layer the remaining apples over the batter. Pour the remaining batter on top of the apples. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick tester inserted in the cake comes out clean. When the cake is done, turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Make the glaze: Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until combined. Add milk or cream gradually until the mixture becomes thin (I used about 1/4 cup). Pour the glaze over the cake and sprinkle with broken pecans.

Store cake loosely covered with plastic wrap.

link Layered Apple Harvest Cake By Published: Layered Apple Harvest Bundt Cake Recipe


  1. What a great fall dessert!

  2. Can this be made in a speingform pan? Don't have a suitable bundt pan but dying to try out the recipe. Looks delicious.

    1. Hi! Yes, I think it will work fine in a springform pan - just be sure to keep an eye on it as it bakes. If using a 9-inch springform, it will definitely need to be baked longer.

      Thanks for asking!

  3. Looks delicious. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love apples, and I like apple pie, but I have never cared for apple cake. I think I just don't like the big chunks of apples in the cake. The thinly sliced apples in this recipe intrigue me. I may have to try it!

  5. Can you mix the apples into the batter instead of having them as a layer in the middle?

    1. Hi Catherine! Yes! I think that's a great idea. I recommend paying extra attention to thorougly greasing and flouring the pan (or using flour baking spray) because any apples that touch the edges of the pan will caramelize and be prone to stick. Just make sure you don't miss any spots. Thanks for asking!

  6. This looks really good, and easy! Can you tell us what brand mandolin you like? I do not have one, and am considering....
    Thanks in advance. Love apples!

    1. Hi! Well, I only occasionally use a mandoline, so I'm feel I'm almost not qualified to answer this question. I have a very old Swissmar brand mandoline that does a great job when I use it.

      Pros: sharp as a mother-in-law's tongue, lots of blades including julienne. Cons: Plastic and bulky. Hard to store.

      The newer Swissmar models seem to be less bulky and have better storage options. I hope this helps a little!

  7. Love this. I'm definitely trying it soon

  8. Gosh, this looks amazing! I love Granny Smith's. Not just in cakes but as-is too. Deliciously tart ^^ Good thing you took your time with the mandoline. I do now so too. I cut a piece off my thumb a few weeks (sorry #tmi). In addition, it got weirdly infected. Few weeks later and my thumb is still not fully back to normal -___- You'd be surprised what you need thumbs for (=a lot of things!!)

    1. Ouch! A sore thumb is the worst! Most mandolines come with a safety food holder but it's so awkward to use. I often use my fingers (which is asking for trouble). I've heard about cut-proof gloves. Maybe that's a good option to look into.

  9. Good thing we're going apple picking this weekend because we NEED to make this! Yum!

  10. oooh, what a beautiful cake! I adore the idea of adding the thinly sliced apples in layers, I am stealing that idea although i'm petrified of a mandolin so mine may be a little chunkier!

  11. What a gorgeous cake! The photo makes us feel like we can touch it! Thanks for sharing this amazing recipe with us!

  12. After seeing this recipe and drooling over it, I bought all the ingredients to make it last week and then promptly caught a nasty chest cold. I've been craving cake ever since and now that I'm starting to feel a bit better I'm excited to get to making this! I'm hopeful that tomorrow will be cake making day! I'll report back when i'm done! :D

  13. Cake just went in the oven. I'm a bit worried though. The recipe calls for 2 cups (200 grams) of vegetable oil. According to my scales 200grams is only 1 cup of vegetable oil. I went with the smaller amount because 2 cups sounded like a huge amount. I hope I haven't messed it up. Will let you know how it comes out of the oven.

  14. Well, I can report back that it came out perfectly! 200grams of oil seems to have worked out nicely. It's a delicious cake. I have just eaten two whole slices, haha. Here's the finished cake. https://www.instagram.com/p/BKZgZEgD-hG/ Not as pretty but certainly tastes great. Thank you so much for this recipe! Will definitely make this again. :D

  15. I just back from the apple orchard and would like to have this cake for our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. I am strapped for time so was wondering if this would be OK baked in advance and then frozen until the day of the dinner?

  16. WOW!! This cakes is fabulous! It turned out great! Thank you so much!


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