Rustic Apple Cake


Welcome to part two of the apple fest! This time, I bring you cake, glorious glorious cake. A cake that originally started out with the infinitely longer title of ‘Cinnamon Apple Cake with Browned Butter Frosting’, but thankfully after reading back over it a few times, I realised that I just couldn’t go through with it. Too long, too dull, & by the time you would’ve finished reading it you probably would’ve forgotten why you clicked over here onto this little corner of the internet. Enter ‘Rustic Apple Cake’. A much more appropriate title that also has the added bonus of bringing some intrigue to the cake – is there a special ingredient that makes this cake extra rustic & chic? Not exactly… but it is decorated with some oh-so-chic leaves from our very own apple tree. That qualifies as rustic, am I right? (Yes.) 


You see, I made this cake twice. The first time was for Boyfriend’s brother’s birthday party, the second was for a dinner Boyfriend & I were throwing. The first time I didn’t give myself enough time to do everything, which resulted in the cake being frosted while still warm & turning into a giant mess, which in turn resulted in Boyfriend calming me down with a large glass of white wine. (Everything was fine after that.) The second time I didn’t give myself enough time either (I never learn). The plan was to whip up a caramel sauce & artfully drizzle it over the sides of the cake before photographing it & getting ready for the dinner. What actually happened was that after realizing I was short on time, I quickly snapped a handful of shots without making the caramel, set the table, & convinced Boyfriend to come out for a speedy drink with me before our guests arrived. This resulted in two things: there was only one good photo of the cake, & the guests arrived before we got home. No big deal, we totally laughed it off & came across as the most laid back hosts ever – success!

Despite failing (twice) to make this cake attractive, it went down a treat both times. To my utter shock, everyone at Boyfriend’s brother’s party loved it – random strangers were coming up to me & complimenting what I could only see as a cake puddle on their plates. After cutting a slice for myself, I felt instantly relieved – the cake was moist, flavorful, dotted with cinnamon, studded with apples, lathered in browned butter frosting, & damn near perfect for the chilly autumnal air whistling through the house. I mean, what more could you ask for? 

One note: the second time I made this cake, I baked the layers a day before I planned on frosting & serving. Although still delicious & flavorful, the layers were a little denser, & nowhere near as light & airy as they were when baked & eaten on the same day. 

Print this recipe!

Serves 10-12 | Inspired & adapted from Linda Lomelino


  • 3 cups plain flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 cups apples, peeled & grated
  • 140g butter, browned & left in the fridge to cool until it starts to firm up
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease two 8-inch cake tins with butter & line the bases with parchment paper. Set aside. Remove 1/3 cup flour & set aside.
  2. Sift together the remaining flour, baking powder, & cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugar, & while the mixer is on medium speed, cream together the sugar and butter until it is light and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  4. With the mixer on medium-low, mix in the eggs one at a time, ensuring to scrape down the sides & thoroughly combine after each addition. 
  5. Working in alternating batches, mix in half of the dry ingredients followed by the milk. Add in the second half of the dry ingredients & mix until just combined.
  6. Toss the diced apples with the flour you set aside at the beginning, & fold into the batter until evenly distributed. 
  7. Divide the batter between the two tins & bake in the preheated oven for 32 to 35 minutes until golden on top & a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their tins. 
  8. While the cakes are baking, make the browned butter frosting. Use an electric whisk to beat the cooled butter until it is creamy & almost white. Add all of the remaining ingredients & beat until well combined & fluffy. Set aside. 
  9. When the cakes are completely cooled (trust me on that one!), slice each in half horizontally, giving you four even layers. Place the first layer on your cake stand & spread an even layer of the frosting across the top. Repeat with the remaining layers. Using an offset spatula, evenly coat the outside of the cake in a lovely layer of frosting. Finish off with some hand picked apple leaves!  

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