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Apple Spice Cake With Cream Cheese Frosting and High Altitude Adjustments

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home." She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated."

High Altitude Apple Cake With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

High Altitude Apple Cake With Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Quick & Easy Apple Cake

I long for Fall days when leaves turn amber, crimson and orange, the crisp air carries smoke of wood fires and the kitchen is well-stocked with a supply of fresh apples.

Some years, we pick so many apples that they linger in the kitchen well into winter. That´s when I pull out my apple recipes and find ways to use up the apples before they shrivel and rot.

This recipe is one of my favorites and is perfect for a crowd. It yields a thick, moist sheet cake that is delicious served with hot coffee at breakfast time or smeared with cream cheese frosting for a rich dessert. What else makes this one of my favorites? Although I enjoy apple crisp, there is a lot of prep time involved in peeling, coring and dicing the apples. For this apple cake, all you have to do is peel the apples and then grate them down to the core. It´s so quick and easy!

At the end of this page, you will find a cream cheese frosting recipe with molasses and maple flavored variations. I think you´ll find yourself turning to this recipe again and again for either a quick breakfast cake or a tasty dessert that will feed a crowd. Enjoy!

For more apple recipes, please click on the following link:

20 Apple Recipes: What to do With So Many Apples!

Frosted Apple Spice Cake

Frosted Apple Spice Cake

Apple Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

1 hour

1 hour 20 min

1 thick sheet cake

Peel apples and grate down to the core, on all sides.

Peel apples and grate down to the core, on all sides.


  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour milk*
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups white or raw sugar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups grated apple
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda**
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder**

* To make sour milk, combine 1 tablespoon white vinegar with enough milk to equal 1 cup. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.

** If baking at high altitude, decrease to 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.


  1. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine sour milk, oil, eggs, vanilla extract and sugar. Beat well.
  3. In another medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon and apple pie spice. Combine.
  4. Mix dry and wet ingredients together. Fold in the grated apple.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour. Begin checking cake for doneness at 50 minutes. When a toothpick tests clean, cake can be removed from the oven.
  6. Cool completely before frosting. Enjoy!
Ready for frosting

Ready for frosting

Basic Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup butter (200 grams), softened
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Place softened cream cheese and butter in a deep mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, whip several minutes, or until smooth and fluffy.
  2. Add the vanilla and blend.
  3. Gradually add the powdered sugar, whipping well after each addition.
  4. Frost cooled cake.

Homemade Maple Cream Frosting

Homemade Maple Cream Frosting

Scroll to Continue

Cream Cheese Frosting Variations

If you take on the challenge of making your own powdered or confectioner´s sugar, you can create many variations to this frosting. I´ve always made my own powdered sugar because it´s very expensive here in Peru. I´ve found that by blending just a cup of sugar at a time together with one tablespoon of cornstarch, I can detect no grittiness in my frostings. If I get hurried, though, and try to blend more than a cupful of sugar at a time, the creamy smoothness of my frosting suffers.

To vary the frosting, try making powdered sugar from raw sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, muscovado or rapadura. Sucanat, muscovado and rapadura are different types of unrefined sugar that impart an appealing molasses flavor to frosting. I don´t recommend using 100% unrefined sugar or your frosting will have a very strong flavor. Instead, use one cup of unrefined sugar to one cup of white sugar for making powdered sugar. You will also be happy to offer your family a treat that contains some of the vitamins and minerals found in unrefined sugar.

If you prefer to use maple sugar, try adding a teaspoon of maple flavoring instead of vanilla extract to give the maple flavor an extra boost. Experiment with different flavorings or even liqueurs for variety.

More High Altitude Recipes


Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 31, 2014:

Thanks for the stars DDE!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 31, 2014:

Awesome! This recipe looks great I rated 5 stars so worth trying.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 30, 2014:

I'm glad you're going to bake this delicious apple cake Suzanne Day!

Suzanne Day from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia on December 30, 2014:

This looks fantastic, after viewing the photo of it, I can't wait to eat it with all that cream cheese frosting! I also like that it is a compact apple cake that fills you up with a little bit. Being a big fan of carrot cake, I am printing out the recipe now to give it a go! Voted awesome ;)

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 30, 2014:

Thanks for your comment Susan Recipes!

Susan from India on December 30, 2014:

Wow.. This looks very yummy. I will surely try this very soon. Thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 28, 2014:

Wow, does this every look tempting!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 28, 2014:

Thanks AliciaC!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 28, 2014:

Peachpurple, use butter instead for a delicious buttercream frosting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 27, 2014:

This looks delicious. I love the idea of a maple frosting on top of an apple cake. I'm sure your recipe variation will be very useful for people living at high altitude.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on December 27, 2014:

Anyway to replace cream cheese bcoz its expensive

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 26, 2014:

Thanks for your comment Lastheart!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 26, 2014:

Thanks so much Peggy W!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 26, 2014:

Thanks Ericdierker!

Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord on December 26, 2014:

This sounds, looks...ah...oh exquisite! Thanks for sharing the good stuff!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 26, 2014:

Wow...that looks and sounds delicious! Will be pinning it to my cake and sweet breads board and happy to share. Thanks! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to a good new year to come.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 26, 2014:

this really looks delicious, thank you for sharing it in your unique way.

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