washington apple cake

A serving of washington apple cake on a plate with a bite on a fork and apple slices for garnish. The cream cheese frosting is piped over the top.

Washington apple cake is one of the most requested special-occasion desserts in our family. We celebrate a number of fall birthdays, and by mid-September I am already eyeing the apples ripening on the trees. This is a pretty straightforward cake recipe, with juicy slices of apple keeping the cake moist and the cream cheese icing adding richness that’s hard to pass up. I’ve experimented with cupcakes on board, which makes serving plates unnecessary. They pack up easily and require only a napkin for sticky fingers!

washington apple cake

Serves: 12
Cooking Time: 1 hour


  • 5 medium Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, or Braeburn apples
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Cream cheese icing:
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cups powdered sugar



Heat the oven to 350°F, and grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.


Peel the apples, and cut them into ¼-inch slices to equal about 4 cups. Layer them in the bottom of the pan.


Using a large wooden spoon in a medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs, then add the sugar, oil, and vanilla and beat until creamy.


In another medium bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Add to the egg mixture and beat to combine. Fold in the walnuts.


Pour the batter over the sliced apples. Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely before frosting.


To make the icing, whip the softened cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the butter, then add the vanilla and lemon juice. Add the powdered sugar a third at a time, and beat each time until the icing is smooth. Spread evenly over the cake or cupcakes.

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