Spiced Apple Bundt Cake

Spiced Apple Bundt Cake with Bourbon Brown Butter Frosting

Here is a cake. A simple, fall-flavored cake. There are always apples knocking around in our crisper, the sad apples that are bruised or a little soft that no one wants to eat. I am their savior, and use them in cakes, which is much preferable to the compost. If you can, in any apple baking recipe, use a variety of apples: some sweet, some tart. This medley will give your baked goods more depth of flavor. The apples in this cake are peeled and grated directly into the batter and they kind of melt and disappear, leaving a gentle apple sweetness and a very moist crumb. I’ve topped it with brown butter, stirred together with bourbon and powdered sugar. Browning the butter gives the frosting a nutty flavor, and it’s plenty indulgent, with a hearty nip of bourbon, sugar and some salt, too, to balance it all out.

From my October Times Union column. Read it here.

Spiced Apple Bundt Cake with Bourbon Brown Butter Frosting

Recipe by Caroline Barrett




  • 3 cups flour (spooned and leveled)

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon ginger

  • ½ teaspoon each nutmeg and clove

  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • ¾ cup apple cider

  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

  • 3 eggs

  • 3 large mixed variety apples, peeled

  • Bourbon Brown Butter Drizzle (recipe follows)


  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Generously grease a bundt cake pan. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and sugar together in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Pour in the olive oil, cider and bourbon and crack the eggs in as well. Stir gently. Use the large holes of a box grater to grate the apples into the batter, and stir again until just combined.
  • Scrape the batter out into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool. USe a butter knife to loosen the edges, then invert the cake onto a plate. Drizzle the frosting over all and serve. Keeps covered for 2-3 days.
  • Bourbon Brown Butter Drizzle
    Makes enough to coat one bundt cake

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    2 cups confectioner’s sugar
    1 tablespoon bourbon
    ¼ teaspoon sea salt
    2-3 tablespoons apple cider

    Place the butter in a heavy bottomed pan set over medium low heat. Melt the butter and keep it on the heat until it turns golden brown and smells nutty, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely. Combine the cooled butter (discarding any bits that may have burned on the bottom of the pan) with the remaining ingredients and 2 tablespoons of apple cider and whisk until smooth. Add another tablespoon of cider if you like it more spreadable. 

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  1. Pingback: Time and Love: Essential Cooking Ingredients – Caroline Barrett

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