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Article: Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Brown Butter Streusel

Cream colored cake topped with whipped cream and brown butter streusel running down the side

Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Brown Butter Streusel

This Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Brown Butter Streusel is packed with fresh apple chunks, covered in a cinnamon spice buttercream, and sprinkled with some irresistible brown butter oats.

Perfect for any occasion, big or small this apple cinnamon layer cake is one everyone will love. The cake with brown butter streusel is packed with fresh apple chunks, covered in a cinnamon spice buttercream and sprinkled with some brown butter oats. In this recipe, there are numerous opportunities for customization to be done. This cake is warm and full of flavor, so the perfect dessert for a Fall festival or party. 

Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings
Difficulty: Medium


  • 1 Cup granulated sugar
  • 1¾ Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ Cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ Cup sour cream
  • ¼ Cup vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp apple pie spice
  • ⅔ Cup whole milk
  • 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced small

For the Brown Butter Streusel:

  • ¼ Cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ Cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ Cup oats
  • ¼ Cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice

For the Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1½ Cup (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 Cup powdered sugar
  • 2 - 3 Tbsp whole milk, as needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice
  • pinch of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter & flour two, 6" cake pans.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and apple pie spice. Add in the butter, and beat on low until it's incorporated and has a sandy texture.
  3. In a small bowl, wisk together the oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla, then add them to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour in the milk and beat on medium-low until smooth and creamy. Finally, stir in the apple pieces.
  5. Divide batter evenly among the two pans and bake for 40 - 45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with just a few crumbs. Let cakes cool completely before decorating.
  6. While you wait on the cakes, prepare the brown butter streusel.
  7. First, brown the butter. Place the ½ stick of butter in a small nonstick pot and heat over medium. After the butter melts, it will start bubbling and foaming. Let cook, stirring occasionally, until it turns a light golden brown and starts to smell toasted and nutty. Remove immediately from heat to avoid burning. Stir in the brown sugar and apple pie spice, then add in oats and flour. The mixture will be a little clumpy! Set aside for now.
  8. When ready to assemble, prepare the buttercream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter until smooth and fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Add in some milk as needed if it's too thick. Finally, mix in the vanilla, apple pie spice and pinch of salt.
  9. To assemble the cake, divide the 2 cake layers in half to create 4 thin layers. Place one cake piece on your cake stand or platter and pipe frosting all over. Smooth with an offset spatula if desired and sprinkle on some of the streusel mixture. Repeat with all.
  10. Pipe frosting all over the outside of the cake and smooth using a bench scraper. Decorate around the top using a large star 1M tip and sprinkle additional streusel in the center. If desired, decorate the outside with some caramel drips. Place prepared caramel in a squeeze bottle, and apply where you'd like. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until needed. Enjoy!

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