Spiced Apple Streusel Brown Sugar Bundt Cake with Cinnamon Icing. If fall was a cake, this is what it would taste like.
A moist, brown sugar bundt cake with warm fall spices, a brown sugar, pecan and apple streusel filling and a vanilla cinnamon icing. This cake has it all. We went apple picking the other day and got some gorgeous Honeycrisp apples that I knew I wanted to use for this bundt cake.
I love the way my house smells in fall with all the different spices I bake with, the smell of cinnamon and apples is one of my favorite kitchen smells and its a nice way to ease into pants wearing season from our hot pants optional Vegas summers.
This brown sugar bundt cake was on my blog years ago and I finally decided to refresh the post with new images. I also discovered a few issues with the recipe and went back the kitchen to test it a few times to tweak it so it would come out perfectly every time. It was originally an apple bundt cake but I decided to rename as well as refresh the images and recipe.
I have made this cake a variety of ways with where I add the streusel to the cake and this post is going to show you two methods. Both ways are fantastic.
One is with all the filling in the middle of the cake, one splits the filling so some streusel is added to the “top” which ends up as the bottom of the cake for a nice crunch. Again, both ways are excellent.
Let’s start with the streusel. The brown sugar streusel ingredients are as follows:
- Brown sugar – you can use light or dark, I use light
- All purpose flour – helps bind the streusel together
- Cinnamon – ground cinnamon
- Nutmeg – a fave falls spice that pairs well with cinnamon and apples
- Salt – always always always use salt with anything sweet, it balances the flavor. I always use Diamond Kosher salt unless otherwise specified.
- Butter – cold, cut into small cubes. Always unsalted unless stated otherwise.
- Pecans -raw or toasted, chopped
- Apples – peeled and diced very small. Can use any variety you like, I used Honeycrisp and Granny Smith.
- Lemon juice – to keep the apples from browning before baking
How you you make streusel?
For the apple brown sugar streusel I add everything but the apples and pecans to the mixing bowl and combine it all well with either fork, a pastry blender or my hands ( hands tend to heat up the butter so be careful with this method) until it resembles wet sand. Then I stir in the pecans and keep chilled until ready to use.
The apples get mixed with lemon juice to keep from browning, I drain off the excess lemon juice before adding the apples to the filling.
I prepare the bundt pan with homemade cake release ( an equal mix of oil, flour and shortening) which I brush on liberally and then I also dust with flour. I found just using the cake release alone would still cause my bundt cakes to stick in more intricate pans, but adding another layer of flour helps it release nicely. Nothing is worse than a bundt cake that half of it sticks to the pan once inverted after baking. Still tastes great, but don’t look great.
I fill the prepared bundt pan about two thirds of the way with the batter. Then, I add in half the streusel, the apples ( I use about a cup and a half of apples, I diced up more than that for these photos) and then the rest of the streusel. This is if you are using ALL of the streusel in the filling.
If you want to save some of the streusel for the top – use about one third on the batter then the apples then another third. Save a third for sprinkling over the top of the batter.
As you can see above are the two bundt cakes with what they look like depending on how you add the streusel. The bundt cake with some of the streusel added on top before baking has a slightly different look and texture. It has a little more of a crunch to it. BOTH ways are amazingly delicious and will work out great no matter which one you choose.
Brown sugar bundt cake perfection! I made this originally with a mix of white and brown sugars but when I made again I went with all brown sugar and it just works out so much better. This brown sugar bundt cake has a richer flavor to it and is so perfect with the apples.
Instead of listing all the ingredients for the bundt cake I am going to talk about just a few ingredients.
All Purpose Flour:
- We all use different brands of flours and they all weight slightly different amounts in grams. I go by 130 grams for one cup which seems to be the average of many brands. I always weight out my flour instead of spooning into a measuring cup and leveling or scooping out the flour from the bag or container. These methods will pack in way more flour and your cake will come out dense and dry. Digital food scales are relatively inexpensive and will allow you to achieve baking success time and time again with consistency.
- I use unfiltered apple cider. I actually found an unfiltered Honeycrisp apple cider by Martinelli’s which was fantastic since I used Honeycrisp apples in the cake. By all means DO NOT use apple cider vinegar. Your cake will not taste the same. You want to use apple cider – the kind you would pour into a glass and drink.
- Greek or thicker/strained yogurt is used instead of a milk or buttermilk. It adds tanginess and well as moisture without making the batter too thin. Runny batter will cause the streusel to sink to the bottom and we don’t want that. You want the streusel to stay inside the cake. You can substitute sour cream if you like. Just don’t substitute regular, thinner yogurt or any thinner liquid.
When I first made this bundt cake I had a cream cheese icing to go with it and when I made it again I decided to go with a more simple icing of confectioners sugar mixed with cinnamon, vanilla, lemon juice and a little heavy cream. Its a wonderful icing and I make it on the thick side so it only covers the top and slightly to the sides, doesn’t drip all the way down. This is why it is super important to cool the cake completely before icing. You can even ice the cake the day after you bake it.
Gotta get that pour shot!
How do you make a bundt cake?
Bundt cakes are really easy to make since you are only using one pan, not cutting and layering etc.
I did not take any process photos of the brown sugar bundt cake batter since it is a fairly straight forward cake batter that I have detailed in the recipe card on how to make. You can use either a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl and hand mixer.
This cake recipe uses a reverse creaming method where the butter is added to the flour instead of the butter and sugar being mixed together first. I like using this method for bundt cakes, the batter comes together quickly.
A few more notes about his spiced apple streusel brown sugar bundt cake before the recipe:
- Please read through the blog post and the recipe card well before baking. Gather all your ingredients first, making sure certain items are to room temp (65-90 deg F) before baking.
- I made this recipe in a full size, 12 cup bundt cake pan. If you use a smaller one you will risk overfilling it and having it spill over when baking.
- You can make the streusel a day ahead of time and keep chilled until ready to use. Same with dicing the apples, I will keep them in bowl with lemon juice to keep from browning, just pour off the lemon juice before adding to the pan.
- This bundt cake keeps well at room temperature in an airtight container for a few days or refrigerated.
For the Streusel Filling:
- 1 cup light brown sugar (208 g)
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour (97 g)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (85g)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ¾ c chopped pecans (70 grams)
- 1 1/2 cups of finely diced and peeled apples (Pink Lady, Gala, Granny Smith) (170 grams)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
For the Bundt Cake:
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup greek yogurt (226 grams), room temperature
- 2/3 cup apple cider (157 ml) (Apple cider - NOT apple cider vinegar), room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour (422 grams)
- 1 3/4 cups light brown sugar (364 grams)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3/4 cup butter (12 tablespoons/168grams), cut into tablespoon sized pieces, room temperature
For the Icing:
- 1 ½ cups Powdered Sugar/confectioners sugar (180 grams)
- 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the Streusel First:
In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour, spices and butter and mix well with a fork until butter is completely combined. Stir in chopped pecans.Keep chilled until ready to use.
Peel and finely dice the apples and place in a separate bowl, add a tablespoon of lemon juice and stir. Keep both the streusel and apples chilled until ready to use.
Prepare Bundt Cake Pan and Oven:
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Butter a 12 cup bundt pan very well and then coat with flour, tap the sides and shake out the excess flour. Or use cake release and add flour.
In a medium bowl whisk the eggs well, then add the Greek yogurt, apple cider the vanilla extract and mix well again. Set aside.
Make the Bundt Cake:
In a bowl of a stand mixer, or large bowl if using a hand mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda and salt. Turn mixer on low and mix until just combined. Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time and mix on low until well combined. It will resemble wet sand. Slowly add in the egg mixture and beat on low, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Once all is combined, raise speed to medium and mix for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl again to make sure it is well mixed.
Pour two-thirds of the batter into the bundt pan, making sure it is spread evenly. Add in either one-third to half the streusel, then the apples and then the remaining third or rest of the streusel. If filling with all the streusel add the with remaining batter and carefully spread it so no streusel is showing. If adding streusel to the top, fill the top with the remaining batter then sprinkle the rest of the streusel over the top.
Bake for 70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. If the top is starting to brown too much and the middle isn’t done yet cover with a piece of foil until done.
Let cool in the pan for 10 min then flip onto a wire cooling rack a cake plate or serving platter and carefully remove bundt pan. Let cool completely before icing. Around 4 hours. You can wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature overnight before icing.
Make the Icing and Serve:
To make the icing combine all the ingredients and mix well using a whisk until smooth. Drizzle or pour over the top of the cake. Serve cake at room temperature. This cake keeps well in an airtight container at room temperature for three to four days.
If it’s your first time making this recipe then make sure you read all of the information in the main post as it includes lots of additional tips, as well as the answers to some common questions.
If you have any further questions then do let me know in the comments and or email me [email protected] and I’ll do my best to help.
If you choose to make substitutions to the recipe that I have not tested yet please do so at your own risk. I cannot guarantee the same results if you change a lot of the ingredients or method. However, if any of your changes are successful I would love to hear about it and will add to my recipe notes for other readers to try as well.