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Cinnamon Apple Cake

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This Old Fashioned Cinnamon Apple Cake with Crackle Glaze is tender, studded with apples and walnuts, and is topped with the most delicious cinnamon glaze!

Apple Cake with Cinnamon Crackle Glaze

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Most of my food memories center around my grandma. Her chicken salad? Is legendary. Waldo burgers. Brats & Sauerkraut. Hawaiian Rice Pudding. This list goes on and on.

Needless to say, she is my foodie inspiration! This Cinnamon Apple Cake is straight out of her recipe box, so you know it’s good!

This is one of the few ‘from scratch’ cakes here at Shaken Together. If I don’t default to a box mix, then you know that this is a treasured, tried and true recipe.


  • brown sugar
  • granulated sugar
  • vegetable oil
  • eggs
  • all purpose flour
  • cinnamon
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • walnut pieces
  • apples
  • unsalted butter
  • milk
  • vanilla extract

Step by step

  1. Cream together the sugars, egg, and oil until blended then add in dry ingredients and mix.
  2. Fold in walnuts and diced apples.
  3. Bake the cake.
  4. Before it is finished combine the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and heat until thickened.
  5. Pour glaze over warm cake allow t o cool before serving.

Just look at this apple and walnut studded batter … you can see the rich brown flecks of cinnamon and loads and loads of fruit and nuts. This has holiday baking written allllll over it!

This cake bakes up all golden brown with nooks and crannies for the cinnamon crackle glaze to settle into …

You heard that right. This cake does not get all dolled up with a thick frosting. Nope. There is a simple cook-and-pour cinnamon glaze that gets poured right over the warm cake. Oh, this is my favorite part!

pouring glaze over cake

Once cooled, that glaze is going to crackle the second your fork hits it …

If you can wait for it to cool, that is. That’s probably my least favorite part 😉

Trust me when I say that one piece of Grandma’s Cinnamon Apple Cake will not be enough. And vanilla (or even butter pecan) ice cream is highly recommended!

Tips for best results

  • Chose a firm baking apple such as Granny Smith, Jonathan or Jonagold, Cortland, Braeburn, or Honeycrisp.
  • For a finer texture, the apples can be shredded instead of diced.
  • Because the cake and glaze have similar ingredients, measure the ingredients for the glaze right into your saucepan as you measure them for the cake.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to three days.
  • To freeze this Apple Cinnamon Cake, wrap in foil or plastic wrap and store in a freezer-safe container up to three months. Thaw overnight on the counter.


Can I leave out the walnuts?

You can leave out the nuts if you prefer, the cake will still taste amazing!

Can I use salted butter?

I highly recommend unsalted butter for the glaze as salted butter will alter the final taste.

Do I need to peel the apples?

I wash my apples well and leave the peel on but you can peel the apples first if you prefer.

Can I make this ahead of time?

This cake tastes great even if made a day or two ahead. After the glaze cools, wrap the cake tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Serve cold or allow to come to room temperature for an hour or two before serving.

piece of Grandma's Apple Cake with Cinnamon Crackle Glaze

You might also like these apple recipes:

If you try this Apple Cinnamon Cake recipe, please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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cinnamon apple cake with crackle glaze

Cinnamon Apple Cake with Cinnamon Crackle Glaze

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4.7 from 9 reviews


My Grandma’s Apple Cake with Cinnamon Crackle Glaze is tender, studded with fruit and nuts and is topped with the most delicious cinnamon glaze!



For the cake:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups apples (diced)

For the glaze

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Pure Vanilla extract


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. With a hand mixer or in the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together sugars, eggs and oil until well blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fold in apples and nuts.
  6. Pour the batter into baking pan. (It will be thick with the apples and nuts very visible.)
  7. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the glaze

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir or whisk together all ingredients.
  2. Allow glaze to thicken slightly – stirring frequently – and pour it over the warm cake.
  3. Use a spatula to quickly and gently, spread the glaze over the surface of the cake.
  4. Allow cake to cool, then slice and serve.


A quick tip: Since the cake and glaze have similar ingredients, measure the ingredients for the glaze right into your saucepan as you measure them for the cake.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: dessert
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: American


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 505
  • Sugar: 26.2 g
  • Sodium: 146.3 mg
  • Fat: 34.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 47.4 g
  • Protein: 7.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 62.4 mg

This recipe was originally published in December 2016 and updated with additional information September 2019.




Its easy! I will show you how.

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    1. I just have such a ‘thing’ for my grandma’s classic, tried & true recipes … so it makes it really fun to snap pictures to share it with the world 🙂 Thanks so much for the sweet comment!

  1. This is delicious. I needed to take a dessert for our Bible study group and being that it is October, aka apple season, what better choice than your Grandma’s cake? Let me tell you the aroma in my kitchen while it was baking was mouth watering! I topped it with a dollop of slightly sweet fresh whipped cream and sprinkled it with finely chopped pecans. A total hit!!

    Thanks for sharing your recipe Keri. It will be made again and again!



  2. Worth the hype! Just made the recipes with fresh Honeycrisp apples from my parents farm. Very tasty! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Pam! I actually washed the apples well and left the peel on, but you could certainly peel them if that is your preference 🙂

  3. This was a very good cake — not overly sweet. The 375 deg oven was a bit too high so next time I will bake it at 350 instead. Might be that my oven bakes hotter…or that I used a glass pan….??? I like the glaze too — it’s sweet but it doesn’t overwhelm the cake as frosting might. Thank you!

    1. Hi Beverly – I’m SO glad you enjoyed this recipe from my Grandma – those classic recipes are the BEST! And ovens are finicky things and the type of pan may have impacted baking as well. But that’s just all the more reason to bake another apple cake!! 🙂 Happy Holidays!

  4. I love this cake, so moist and so tasty. It was easy to make which is always good. Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe.????

  5. Thanks for the recipe…it looks amazing. I am wondering, would it be good served a day later? I was thinking of making it the day before thanksgiving for the thanksgiving dessert table (but not much time to cook it the day-of, as I have to cook everything else).

    1. Absolutely! We find that this cake is just as delicious 1-2 days after it’s made … if it lasts that long!

    1. Hi Kristie – This is one of those cakes that is just as delicious a day or two after it’s made – glazed and all! Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  6. I have made this cake about 5 times now. My favorite cake of all time. Making it again tonight for guests.

    1. Naima – you have no idea how happy that makes me to hear that you love my Grandma’s apple cake recipe! I love that our family’s food history is melding with yours! Hope you have a great day!

  7. Just wanted to comment again, this time with feedback. I made this cake for Thanksgiving and it was delicious. I made a vegan version of it, subbing Ener-G for the eggs and apple cider for the milk in the glaze. The only minor issue was that it kind of stuck to the pan, which my vegan husband said was great because, once you got it unstuck, the bottom was like toffee. It was fabulous….all my non-vegan family loved it. Next time, I’m putting vanilla ice cream out with it. Thanks for the recipe and for replying to comments!

  8. If I could give this recipe 100 stars, I would.
    Since finding this gem of a recipe I have made this 4 times in less than a month. It reminds me of an apple fritter donut. My family also loves it as much as I do. I think about it all the time, I’m Not KIDDING! 🙂
    Also, it’s been voted in my home that it tastes best chilled in the refrigerator.

  9. The Pros: Easy to throw together & a very moist, tender cake
    The Cons: It was MUCH too sweet for my taste. I tossed tart Granny Smith apples in lemon juice but that didn’t seem to make much difference. In general, I found it “just okay”, like it was missing something. I’m thinking I’ll try it again & omit the Carmel glaze, add some additional warm spices & cut the apples into a larger dice. Was hoping for something with more depth & dimension so thinking that additional spices could really take it to another level.

  10. I’m looking for a apple cake with a very crunchy top my MOM hard a friend who use to make this delicious apple cake with a hard crunchy top both of them are deceased now

  11. Amazing cake! After enjoying it at my house I drove to my daughters house and made her family one. It is that delicious, and it makes your house smell so good. New favorite recipe. Thank you for sharing.

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