Brown Butter Apple Bundt Cake with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce is our favorite apple dessert to bake when fall rolls around! This easy yet impressive cake is oh-so-moist, loaded with apples, and covered in super yummy butterscotch sauce. One of the best apple recipes when you want something easy yet impressive!
Apple Bundt Cake
I can’t think of a cozier recipe to kick off October than this glorious apple cake! Baked in a Bundt cake pan, this apple dessert is: supremely moist, delightfully dense, and exploding with apples. And don’t even get me started on the bourbon spiked butterscotch glaze! It’s so flavorful and enhances the apple flavor in the best way.
Am I saying this is the perfect apple cake? Why yes, yes I am! This cake ranks high in my book. And is in the same league as some of my other favorite apple recipes. Like apple scones, apple oatmeal cream pies, apple muffins, and apple hand pies!
Originally published in November, 2013 (almost 10 years ago!!!) this recipe has finally received a must needed makeover. Below you’ll find the tested and perfected new recipe, plus helpful tips, tricks and photos.
Essential Ingredients and Tools
- 10-Cup Bundt Cake Pan: This Bundt cake pan is an essential tool for this recipe. And I don’t suggest baking this cake in any other pan.
- Eggs: Be sure to use large eggs that have come to room temperature! Cold eggs won’t properly emulsify with the batter.
- Sugar: A combination of brown sugar and granulated sugar give this apple cake it’s deliciously sweet flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract works best, but a bourbon vanilla is also delicious. Just be sure to use real vanilla, and steer clear of artificial or imitation vanillas.
- Vegetable Oil: Oil gives this apple dessert a supremely moist crumb! You can use canola oil or melted refined coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.
- Butter: Browned butter adds flavor and moisture! To brown butter, simply melt the butter in a small saucepan. Then continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until it’s light brown and smells nutty.
- Sour Cream: Adds incredible moisture and flavor! If you can’t find sour cream, full-fat plain Greek yogurt is the best substitute.
- All-Purpose Flour: I cannot suggest alternatives to this flour variety. Experiment at your own risk.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: When combined with flour, baking soda and baking powder help the cake lift and spread while baking. Be sure to use fresh leaving agents!
- Spices: Ground cinnamon, all-spice, nutmeg, and salt add incredible flavor and balance to this apple dessert.
- Apples: For even baking, you’ll want to avoid chopping the apples too big! An 1/8-inch dice or so works best. You can check out my list of my favorite kind of apples to bake with below.
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How to Make the Best Apple Cake
- Make the Cake Batter: In one bowl you’ll whisk the wet ingredients and sugars. In a separate bowl you’ll combine the dry ingredients. Then you’ll simply fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the apples last!
- Prep your Pan: Using nonstick baking spray, generously spray every nook and cranny of a 10-cup Bundt Cake pan. If you don’t have nonstick baking spray, simply grease and flour the pan. But be sure to cover every inch or your cake might stick!
- Bake the Cake: Scrape the batter into the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. This is a big and heavy cake. So bake for the full 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the Cake: Like all bundt cakes, this cake will need to cool in the bundt can pan first. Place it on a wire cooling rack and allow the cake to cool for exactly 12 minutes! Then you can remove the cake from the pan, place it on a wire cooling rack, and cool completely.
Don’t plan on serving this lovely cake right away? You can wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for 24 hours before glazing!
Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
If you’ve ever made salted caramel sauce, making butterscotch will feel very familiar. And if you haven’t made either sauce before, don’t fret because it’s a very simple process. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way!
- Use a saucepan with tall sides! As the sauce cooks it will simmer and bubble up, so tall sides will prevent a big mess on your stovetop.
- Use the suggested cook times… and your senses! This recipe called for cooking until the sugar has dissolved, which usually takes about 5 minutes. If after 5 minutes, your sugar has not dissolved, keep cooking! Same goes for cooking until the butterscotch is a dark amber color.
- Add the cream VERY carefully! When you remove the pan from heat and pour in the cream, the mixture will bubble and hiss aggressively. Pour the cream slowly and make sure your arms and hands are far enough away from the pan to avoid burns.
- If you don’t consume alcohol, feel free to skip the bourbon, or use whiskey or rum instead!
- Let the hot butterscotch sauce cool for at least an hour before use! If you attempt to use the sauce right away, it will be too thin and won’t stick to the cake. Cool it until it’s thick but pourable. Usually this takes about an hour to an hour and a half.
- Decorate with whatever nuts, sprinkles, or seeds you prefer! I chose chopped pecans because we love the combination of apples, pecans, and butterscotch. But walnuts, pumpkin seeds, or even dried apple bits could all work.
What Kind of Apples Work Best?
What’s your favorite apple to use in apple recipes? Personally, I baked with all kind of apples, from grocery store granny smith apples to farm fresh honey crisp apples!
But my favorite apples for this apple cake are:
- pink lady apples
- honeycrisp apples
- golden delicious apples
- granny smith apples
- Fuji apples
Brown Butter Apple Bundt Cake with Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce
For the Apple Cake:
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 cups (319g) light brown sugar packed
- 1/2 cup (99g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup (227ml) vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter melted until browned and slightly cooled
- 3/4 cup (171g) sour cream
- 3 cups (360g) all-purpose flour
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground all-spice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 and 1/2 cups (365g) peeled and chopped apples about 1/8-inch dice works best
For the Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce:
- 1 cup (213g) dark brown sugar packed
- 2 Tablespoons (28ml) water
- 4 Tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup (113ml) heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons (28ml) bourbon
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
- 1 cup (114g) confectioners' sugar sifted
- chopped pecans for decor, optional
For the Apple Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (F).
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well combined. Add in both sugars, vanilla, oil, browned butter, and sour cream, and whisk until well combined. Set aside until needed.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt until well combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing just until combined. Fold in the apples, mixing just until combined. Set aside.
- Using nonstick baking spray, generously spray every nook and cranny of a 10-cup Bundt Cake pan.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool cake, in the bundt pan, placed on a wire cooling rack, for 12 minutes. Then invert the cake onto the rack and cool completely, about 2 hours.
For the Bourbon Butterscotch Sauce:
- Whisk together the brown sugar and water in a medium-sized saucepan with tall sides.
- Cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 5 minutes, but maybe a little longer depending on your stove.
- Add in the butter and bring the mixture to slow boil over medium-heat. Continue cooking for 8 to 10 minutes, or until dark amber brown. Do not stir during this process!
- Remove from heat and immediately whisk in the heavy cream. Be very careful during this step – the caramel will hiss and bubble up aggressively!
- Stir in the bourbon and sea salt. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
- Pour into a large measuring cup and cool for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, or until thick to drizzle on the cake.
- Drizzle the glaze on top of the cake and top with pecans, if using. Slice and serve.