Necessary Eats: Fresh Apple Cake with Browned-Butter Frosting

by Kisha on October 16, 2013 // 2 Comments

Ah, there is really nothing like fall in New England.

Growing up in South Texas, seasons were never really a thing (it was either 100 degrees out or hurricane season).

I’ve been living in Rhode Island since 2007 and every year, I still get all warm and fuzzy when fall comes around. Between all things pumpkin flavored and the joy of apple-picking, it’s my absolute favorite time of the year!

Apple picking 2013

After picking about 20 more apples than I need, every year it becomes, “How many apple-related things can I make?!” and by the end of it, I don’t want to even look at an apple until next year.

My first concoction of 2013 came out so amazing that I just had to share it as part of Necessary Eats. As usual, you’ll find my tips and tricks throughout the recipe.

Fresh Apple Cake with Browned-Butter Frosting

The recipe was originally featured in Southern Living.

Fresh Apple Cake_NRwithKisha

Browned-Butter Frosting – Make this first as it requires some time to cool!


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. – This is what requires the most patience. Keep stirring and pay close attention to the smell, browned-butter can turn into burnt butter VERY quickly.
  • Remove pan from heat immediately, and pour butter into a small bowl.
  • Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.
  • Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar.
  • Beat mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition.
  • Stir in vanilla.

If you’re not immediately frosting the cake, you can refrigerate the frosting. Just take out the frosting ahead of time so that it can get to room temperature before frosting. 

Fresh Apple Cake


  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. – Toasted pecans are so good when added to a salad so be sure to toast extras!
  • Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended
  • Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended. Stir in apples and 1 cup pecans. (Batter will be very thick, similar to a cookie dough.)
  • Spread batter into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch pan. Since the batter was so thick, I just took small handfuls of dough and apple and spread them out in the pan. Try to even it out as much as possible, the dough does rise a bit so don’t worry if it doesn’t look perfect.
  • Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack (about 45 minutes).
  • Spread your choice of frosting over top of cake; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pecans.

This is one of the richest cakes I’ve ever tasted and the flavor of the browned-butter frosting is seriously addicting.

Try the recipe out and let me know how it goes for you!

Btw, I’ve had this for breakfast with coffee for two days in a row. #SorryNotSorry

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