Bourbon Apple Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting

Everyone needs a delicious, moist, fall apple cake in their repertoire. This one uses a little bourbon to make it pop. I have searched high and low for a recipe that lives up to my standards (mainly that I cannot stop eating it), and finally decided to develop my own after being disappointed time and again. You’ll find my Bourbon Apple Cake hits all the right notes. Subtly spiced, so as not to overshadow the apple flavor, with a kick from the bourbon, and a nuttiness from the browned butter. You’ll want to file this one away as it’s elegant enough for special holiday meal or fits right in at a simple family gathering. It’s autumn on a plate.


Cook the apples down to make an applesauce.


The apples should mash easily with a potato masher when done.


The cake is so moist and delicious it *almost* needs no frosting.


Make Ahead Dinner Party
Bourbon Apple Cake
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5 from 2 votes

Bourbon Apple Cake with Maple Cinnamon Frosting

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 8


  • 2 pounds apples about 5 medium such as Macintosh, Honeycrisp, or Gala
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour I use rye, or use ¼ cup more white flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the frosting:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons butter at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar


  • Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 9-inch square pan and set aside.
  • Peel and core the apples and cut into small chunks. Place in a saucepan with the brown sugar and cook partially covered about 20 minutes, stirring often. Add the bourbon and cook 10 minutes more. Transfer to a food processor and puree. The mixture won’t be totally smooth, its ok if it is a little chunky, but should have no large pieces. Set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, brown the butter by placing it over medium high heat. It will start to bubble and sputter, but let it cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk solids have turned brown. Immediately pour into a large heat-proof mixing bowl.
  • Mix the sugar into the butter with a whisk. Next add the vanilla, then mix in the eggs and yolk one at a time. Finally stir in the apple mixture until well combined.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and baking powder) in a separate bowl. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, then scrape into your pan and bake 45 minutes, or until firm to the touch and slightly pulling away from the sides.
  • Cool in the pan 10 minutes, then run a knife around the sides and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. The cake can be made 1 day ahead, wrapped in plastic wrap. To serve, spread the frosting just on the top of the cake, coming almost to the edges.

For the frosting:

  • Cream the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy, using a stand mixer or hand held beaters. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and maple syrup and mix thoroughly. Beat in the powdered sugar until combined.


  • Joanne says:

    5 stars
    OMG Lexi! My hubby and I absolutely love this cake! Like you said, it’s screams fall with just the perfect amount of sweetness! A little time consuming to make but very much worth it!

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