Apple-Pecan Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Filling & Praline Frosting

This, my friends, is one heck of a cake.

Once I knew my grandparents were coming over for lunch and I had decided on chicken pot pie, I started to give some thought to dessert. I wanted to make something seasonal, something that would be delicious, but nothing that was terribly complicated or time-consuming. I started thinking about some of the different recipes I had seen for apple Bundt cakes and finally settled on this one. Truly, what is not to love? The cake is incredibly moist and packed with apple flavor thanks to applesauce in the batter, as well as the chopped apples folded in… we’ve got pecans in there… a cream cheese filling (have I mentioned I never turn down anything with cream cheese?)… and finally, a praline frosting. It’s everything that a fall cake should be… and then some.

This cake was met with rave reviews, and my Chief Culinary Consultant declared it one of the top three things I’ve made all year. I baked a lot of stuff, so that’s a pretty serious nod of approval. We ate the cake with a small scoop of apple pie ice cream, which was a fantastic complement to the cake. It would also be great with plain vanilla ice cream, or nothing at all. This cake is so fantastic that it can absolutely stand on its own. No wingman needed. We all agreed that this would make a fantastic dessert on Thanksgiving – a great change of pace from the typical pumpkin and pecan pies. You could even switch up the frosting and instead of praline, do a maple glaze. However you dress it up, you must make this. Your taste buds deserve it!

P.S. I was rushing to put this cake together before we met friends for dinner and totally forgot to swirl the cream cheese. You should definitely swirl. Swirls rock.

Two years ago: Russian Pound Cake
Four years ago: Homemade Pierogi

Apple-Pecan Spice Cake with Cheesecake Filling

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

For the Praline Frosting:
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (reduce temperature to 325 degrees F if your pan is dark/non-stick). Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan (12-cup capacity); set aside.

2. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.

3. Make the Apple-Pecan Cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently mix to combine using a whisk or rubber spatula.

4. Gently fold in the pecans and chopped apples until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

5. Spoon about 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan. Use a thin paring knife to gently swirl the cream cheese filling with the cake batter just a few times – less is more. Spoon the remainder of the cake batter on top of the cream cheese filling and gently spread to the edges of the pan, covering the filling.

6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours).

7. Make the Praline Frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, continuing to whisk constantly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth.

8. Slowly pour the frosting over the cooled cake and garnish with extra pecans. Give the frosting 5 minutes to set, then serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

(Recipe adapted from Southern Living; originally seen on Tracey's Culinary Adventures)

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55 Responses to “Apple-Pecan Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Filling & Praline Frosting”

  1. Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on October 3, 2012 at 1:48 am

    It looks awesome…even without the swirled cream cheese! Love the praline frosting. Yumm-ayyyy! :)

    Reply

    • Linda on October 5th, 2012 at 12:02 pm

      I made this cake, yesterday and it is truly wonderful! Everyone wanted more and the recipe, too. I made the the Irish Bomb cupcakes a while back and they were the bomb. I have a friend who makes a cake from the Irish Bomb cupcakes and it is fabulous. One thing…the only thing I didn’t add were the pecans to the apple cake and that’s just because I don’t care for nuts.

      Reply

  2. Averie @ Averie Cooks on October 3, 2012 at 2:33 am

    The cake looks stunning! I made an apple spice cake a couple weeks ago and if ONLY I had stuffed it full of cream cheese filling. Oh what a great idea, Michelle! It looks sooo good!

    Reply

  3. shanaaz on October 3, 2012 at 2:36 am

    This cake looks awesome I have to try it!….I have tried of your recipes and it good than you for the great treats!!!!!!

    Reply

  4. shanaaz on October 3, 2012 at 2:36 am

    This cake looks awesome I have to try it!….I have tried some of your recipes and it good than you for the great treats!!!!!!

    Reply

  5. Schmidty on October 3, 2012 at 3:15 am

    WOW. I have to make this ….

    I have to EAT this!

    Reply

  6. the 3volution of j3nn on October 3, 2012 at 3:33 am

    I have never seen an apple cake with filling! This is a game changer!

    Reply

  7. Michelle on October 3, 2012 at 5:45 am

    This cake looks fabulous!

    Reply

  8. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar on October 3, 2012 at 6:41 am

    This cake is beautiful! Love this idea!

    Reply

  9. Jeanne on October 3, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I made this last week (out of the magazine) I was so excited to try it and I had some homemade applesauce to use up and a brand new bundt pan, so I gave it a go. It looked lovely but I think the taste and texture were only “Meh” so I don’t know where I went wrong. The texture I expected from the chopped apples and the crunch of the pecans was completely missing. I grinded the pecans in a nut grinder. Also there was zero tang or taste from the cream cheese. I noticed a slight change in texture at the center, but nada on the taste. I may make this once more (with “feeling” as my old choir director used to say) and not use the grinder plus buy the “name brand” cream cheese. I used store brand, but it was “organic”. Any ideas, or do I just have my very own palette and not everyone LOVES everything the same?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Hi Jeanne, I would definitely just chop the pecans instead of grinding them. You definitely get that crunch. By grinding them you lose the crunch factor, plus they could also compromise the texture of the cake. I thought the cream cheese filling had a lot of flavor and it was one of the favorite parts of the cake by everyone who had it, but as you said, not everyone tastes everything the same way! As for cream cheese, I always use Philadelphia full-fat cream cheese when baking. I find other stuff can be too watery and lacking in flavor. Hope that helps!

      Reply

      • Jeanne on October 3rd, 2012 at 6:14 pm

        I will definitely try again…with your recommendations and I’ll let you know.

        Reply

  10. Jessica @ Portuguese Girl Cooks on October 3, 2012 at 7:25 am

    This looks soooo good! I’m thinking this definitely needs to be made!

    Reply

  11. Cookin' Up a Storm on October 3, 2012 at 7:28 am

    WHO IS YOUR CHEF CULINARY CONSULTANT? IT SEEMS LIKE HE IS WITH YOU EVERYWHERE.

    Reply

  12. thegoodiegirl on October 3, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Yum! I do need to bring a dessert to my mother-in-law’s place for Thanksgiving – this could be it! Looks fantastic – so many fall tastes in there!

    Reply

  13. Fiona @ Get Fit Fiona on October 3, 2012 at 9:05 am

    This looks amazing. If I made it though I’d eat half of it in one sitting and be sick for the next three days. It wouldn’t turn out well.

    Reply

  14. Caryn on October 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

    That’s a LOT of sugar to 3c flour. I hope I can cut some out and it’ll still turn out…

    Reply

  15. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough on October 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

    One heck of a cake INDEED. I can’t decide what I like more: The cheesecake filling or the praline frosting. Which is why I’ll have to make it and find out. :)

    Reply

  16. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet on October 3, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I love apple bundt cakes! Cream cheese swirl sounds like a great idea, but this frosting is something I will be dreaming of. Gorgeous!

    Reply

  17. Jessica@AKitchenAddiction on October 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

    This is a beautiful bundt cake! I love the praline frosting!

    Reply

  18. Villy @ For the love of Feeding on October 3, 2012 at 11:17 am

    This is a masterpiece. Truly amazing and definitely delicious!

    Reply

  19. Laura Dembowski on October 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    That frosting looks amazing. I could eat that and skip the cake, but with the cake, I bet it is out of this world!

    Reply

  20. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen on October 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    This looks amazing! I love every single flavor going on in this cake, especially the cream cheese! You have some lucky grandparents – this, plus chicken pot pie sounds like an awesome meal!

    Reply

  21. Tracey on October 3, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I’m so glad you guys loved this as much as we did! Yours is gorgeous! I kind of want to make it again now :)

    Reply

  22. jen in pa on October 3, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    this looks amazing! i don’t like nuts in cakes. if i were to leave them out, would i need to make any other modifications? i can’t wait to try this!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Hi Jen, Not at all, you can just omit them without making any other modifications.

      Reply

  23. Tom on October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I was so pleased to see your pierogi recipe and wanted to share my own. I’m more than a bit Polish and my mother’s recipe for pierogi is infinitely easier than yours and probably just as luscious as well. My sister-in-law and I make 40-50 dozen on the weekend after Thanksgiving each year. I make the dough and roll and she fills the pierogi. The family’s recipe is 10 cups of flour, 1 pint of sour cream and 1 pint of boiling water. That’s it. The dough is elastic and easy to work with and can be rolled very thin…so much so, when cooked, you can distinguish between those filled with potato from those with cabbage ones or meat.

    Reply

  24. Loretta on October 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Sometimes the simple food is the best!

    Reply

  25. Paula on October 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    No doubt this cake stands well all by itself. It looks wonderful and the flavour of the apples, pecans and cream cheese must be fantastic. I love the colour of that praline frosting.

    Reply

  26. Steph in Lex on October 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    I cannot wait to try this! It makes me want to purposely organize a family dinner just so I can make it and not end up putting on 15 pounds after eating most of it myself…

    Reply

  27. Liz @ Tip Top Shape on October 3, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Even the title of this post is way too much for me. Too much fall goodness!!! Love it!

    Reply

  28. marla on October 4, 2012 at 9:18 am

    This cake looks amazing!! Pinning now!

    Reply

  29. Grace on October 4, 2012 at 9:35 am

    This looks amazing and it will be on my Thanksgiving table this year.

    Reply

  30. ally on October 4, 2012 at 11:13 am

    this is has to be the most fantastic bundt cake i have ever seen! apple, praline, cream cheese… seriously, you can do no wrong. pure love.
    xo
    http://allykayler.blogspot.ca/

    Reply

  31. Rebecca on October 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    This recipe looks great, can’t wait to try it for work. I love Southern Living cake recipes but never try them because of the calorie content. How is it that you are not 400 lbs?? :)

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 5th, 2012 at 5:16 pm

      Haha! I share so much of what I make! I usually eat one or two pieces and then share the rest with friends/family or make it for a function.

      Reply

  32. Lynn Sexton on October 4, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    OMG! This cake is awesome! Made it today and I think I just found a new apple cake recipe! I worried that I didn’t chop my apples fine enough, but it was perfect. Thank you for this recipe.

    Reply

  33. Jan on October 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I made the cake last night and it was awesome! I bake a lot but usually end up eating a small piece and giving the rest away to friends and family. I like the spice cake and chunks of fruit and pecans and the praline and cheesecake filling and… everything! It is over the top. I think I am going to make another one for my husband’s coworkers because I want another slice.

    Reply

  34. Rebecca on October 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Made it last night and the smell was incredible. Added the topping this morning and half was eaten for breakfast with coffee! I omitted the pecans in the cake batter due to my finicky children but left them on the topping for the beauty. And those crazy children ate it all! 8 thumbs up from my family!

    Reply

  35. Ardex Sd P on October 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

    It’s recipes like this that I am happy to have fall at it’s finest!!!

    Reply

  36. Sarah on October 8, 2012 at 12:08 am

    THANK GOODNESS this blog post came across my email when it did! That very afternoon, I baked a birthday cake for husband (who loves fall and fall foods, so I decided to make it an apple-themed meal). This apple cake failed miserably. But I remembered THIS cake, realized I had all the ingredients on hand… and whipped it up instead! Made it. Loved it. You saved husband’s birthday!!

    Reply

  37. Jenn in Canada on October 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    I made this twice for Canadian Thanksgiving last weekend. The first time I was just making it for my boyfriend, and it turned out so well that I made another one the next morning to take to Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone loved it! The cream cheese filling was probably my favourite part. INCREDIBLE!

    Reply

  38. Trisha on October 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    This is a ridiculously amazing cake!! Soooo good!! My family loved it! Love your blog!

    Reply

  39. Katie on October 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Hi — I don’t actually own a bundt pan and am wondering if you think this would work in another kind of pan? Any recommendations? Or possible as cupcakes?? Just wondering what you think. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 23rd, 2012 at 10:36 pm

      Hi Katie, Yes, you could make this in another pan, but you may need to alter or omit the cream cheese frosting, depending on what you use. You could certainly do cupcakes (you should get about 24 from this recipe), and do a teaspoon or so of cream cheese filling over half of the batter, then cover with the remaining.

      Reply

      • Katie on November 10th, 2012 at 5:48 pm

        Thanks, Michelle! I made these today and they were a big hit! I didn’t end up using all of the cream cheese filling, so I would recommend halving that part of the recipe for cupcakes. Also, it was a little more challenging to do the praline frosting on the top because I needed to spoon it over each individual cupcake and it was already starting to harden in the pot, so some didn’t end up so pretty. Next time might try keeping the frosting a little warmed up while I top the cupcakes. But, I think there will definitely be a next time!

        Reply

      • Lila on July 20th, 2013 at 3:05 am

        Hi Michelle, would this work in a normal spring bottom baking pan too? How would I need to modify the recipe?

        Reply

        • Michelle on July 20th, 2013 at 11:03 pm

          Hi Lila, You could, but make sure you use a 10-inch springform pan; a 9-inch springform pan wouldn’t be big enough.

          Reply

  40. betty on October 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    I made this cake last night, and over all it was a hit with everyone. I was definitely worried about the batter since it was not exactly pourable and was just not sure if that was right. It rose beautifully, though. Next time, though, I’ll probably do less all spice and more cinnamon (that’s just a personal preference). The fresh apple pieces was the best part!

    Reply

  41. Trish on November 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    I made this cake tonight. It is absolutely delicious!!! I did not use the allspice but I did add both the nutmeg and cinnamon. Super recipe for the holidays!!!

    Reply

  42. Linda on December 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    This is the third time my daughter and I made this cake. The only thing different we do is leave out the nuts. I have friends who have made this cake , too. It is delicious!!!!! Many thanks to the brown eyed baker. All the recipes I have mde from this site are great. Especially the car bomb cake.

    Reply

  43. Tarang on April 4, 2013 at 5:31 am

    This has to be one of the most flavorful cakes I’ve ever eaten. Made it for my mom’s birthday. A little bit of the top broke off when I was getting it out of the bundt tin, and the praline topping made the perfect camouflage for the imperfections. Not that anyone cared because it was packed with such incredible flavour! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    Reply

  44. Jenny on November 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    This was delicious. I was a bit worried about the cream cheese filling as it seemed to be spreading too much to leave a 1 inch border but it was fine. I didn’t have all spice so will add it next time. Small slices were all we needed as it was pretty sweet but not overly. Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

  45. Nicole on February 21, 2014 at 6:58 am

    I made this cake to take to a party and it was amazing!!! It was fairly easy to make and turned out flavorful and moist. Everyone was asking for the recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  46. Ashley on September 8, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    I made this tonight and while I can see it would be amazing, mine did not turn out that way! I used a nonstick pan so baked it at 325 per the instructions and baked for 75 minutes. The outside cooked but not the inside :( Perhaps I will try it again but at a higher heat!

    Reply

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