This Apple Pumpkin Cake is perfect for Fall! Moist and delicious pumpkin cake layers with a tangy cream cheese frosting and apple pie filling.
It is officially FALL and man have we been feeling it. This week started out balmy but quickly turned to torrential rains and winds. Fall is like — Hi! You wanted me. I’m here now! — Not quite what I had in mind but I do love the cozy rainy weather.
Fall to me means apples and pumpkins and all things delicious. What better than to put them together in one delicious cake?! Truthfully the idea for this cake came around in a somewhat unique way.
I was chatting with my good friend Sara from Dinner at the Zoo and she was telling me about all these Fall scented soaps she got and how they all sound like delicious cake flavors. Apple Pumpkin was one of them and she insisted I needed to turn it into a cake. Who am I to disagree? It sounded delicious to me!
How to Make this Pumpkin Apple Cake
I used my favorite Pumpkin Cake recipe for this except I made it into a 6″ cake. This cake recipe is so simple! Two bowls (or one if you can’t be bothered) and no mixer required.
- Combine the wet ingredients
- Combine the dry ingredients
- Add dry to wet and mix until combined
Be sure to use pure canned pumpkin for this not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling has other ingredients added and it will affect the flavor and texture of the cake.
Homemade Apple Pie Filling
I’ve made this apple pie filling a few times before for my Apple Crisp Cake and Apple Crisp Cookie Cups. It’s also very easy to make, but you could just use store-bought apple pie filling if you prefer.
To make the apple pie filling, you toss everything except the apples into a pot, bring it to a boil and cook for 2mins. Then stir in the peeled & chopped apples and cook until they are tender.
I like to make the filling a few days in advance and keep it in the fridge once it cools. It will keep for about 2 weeks. Be sure to give it a good stir before using it in the cake.
Cream Cheese Frosting
Every time I make cream cheese frosting I swear it will be my last. No matter what combination or ratio of cream cheese to buttercream I try, the frosting is soft and difficult to work with. I can never frost a pretty cake with it. This one, in particular, was a huge pain in the butt.
I wanted to do a naked cake but I couldn’t get it to look good so I ended up doing a rustic frosting on the sides which takes so much longer than you’d think a rustic frosting should. It turned out “ok”.
I covered up a multitude of sins with some dried apple slices which, in hindsight, don’t look all too amazing themselves. It doesn’t matter though because the most important thing is how it tastes, right?? And let me tell you this cake is delicious. All of my taste testers agree!
The cake layers themselves are not super sweet, which goes so well with the sweet-tart apple pie filling and the sweet-tangy cream cheese frosting.
It is the perfect blend of Fall flavors. I hope you guys love this one as much as we did!
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I convert this recipe?
- The recipe as-is will also work in three 6″ pans. For three 8″ pans, 1.5x the recipe. Baking time may need to be adjusted.
- To make cupcakes, all you need to do is reduce the baking time — start checking at 15mins or so. The recipe will make 18-24 cupcakes depending on size.
- For other conversions go here.
Can I make it in advance?
- The cooled cake layers can be baked ahead of time, double wrapped in plastic wrap, and frozen for up to 3 months. Take out 2-3 hours before assembly.
- The frosting can be placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for 1 week for frozen for 3 months. Bring to room temp and rewhip before using.
- The apple pie filling can be made in advance. Transfer to a glass container, cool completely, cover, and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and give it a good stir before using. Will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge.
- The finished cake (whole or sliced, stored airtight) can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Can I get the measurements by weight/grams?
- There is a Metric option in the recipe card. If you click it it will convert everything to grams.
- This conversion is done automatically and I cannot guarantee the accuracy but many readers have had success using the metric option on my recipes.
Looking for more Fall Cake recipes?
- Pecan Pie Cake
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Cake
- Apple Crisp Cake
- Pear & Walnut Cake with Honey Buttercream
- Chai Cake
Tips for making this Apple Pumpkin Cake
- You can use store-bought apple pie filling if you prefer.
- I prepare my cake pans using Homemade Cake Release then line with parchment.
- Learn how to keep your cakes moist using Simple Syrup.
- To help ensure your cake layers bake up nice and flat, check out my How to Bake Flat Cake Layers post!
Apple Pumpkin Cake
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light-brown sugar packed
- 1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree 14-15 oz can, not pumpkin pie filling
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla
Apple Pie Filling:
- 2-3 Granny Smith apples, chopped (3 cups chopped, 340g)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
- pinch salt
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter softened, but slightly cool
- 6 oz cream cheese slightly chilled, full fat, block not tub
- 5 cups powdered sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- dried apple rings optional
- Preheat oven to 350F and grease & flour three 6" cake pans. Line with parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugars, oil, pumpkin, vanilla, and eggs.
- Add dry to wet and mix until just combined.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean (approx. 30-35 mins).
- Cool in pans on wire rack for 10mins, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Apple Pie Filling:
- Toss chopped apples and lemon juice in a large bowl, set aside.
- In a large saucepan, combine sugars, cornstarch, and spices. Pour in water and whisk.
- Cook over medium heat until boiling. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add apples, bring back to a boil. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender (10-15mins). Cool completely.*
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- Beat butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy (2 mins). Add powdered sugar one cup at a time. Add vanilla and beat until fluffy.
- Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Top with about 1/2 cup of frosting and spread evenly.
- Pipe a border of frosting around the outside to hold in the apple pie filling. Fill with about 1/2 cup apple pie filling, spread evenly.** Repeat with next layer. Place final layer on top and do a thin crumb coat on the cake. Chill for 20mins.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake with remaining frosting in a rustic manner. Decorate with dried apple slices or cake crumbs if desired.
amazing moist cake! everyone who had some loved it!
Hi Reagan! So happy to hear that. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂
What is the best way to make this recipe vegan?
Hi PG! I haven’t made it vegan myself so can’t make any suggestions. I would recommend finding a vegan-specific recipe as it will have been tried and tested.
Daniel Burzlaff says
Made it, loved it…amazing combination of flavors! I used 3 8” pans so increased the ingredients by 1.5 and it worked out perfectly. Shared with very happy neighbors and ready to make more cakes and desserts from you! Sooooo yummy and very pumpkin-like fall tasty goodness!
Hi Daniel! So happy you and your neighbors loved it. Thanks for the feedback! 🙂
Can this be frozen for 3-4 days? Or will it hold up in a fridge for 3-4 days?
Hi Cleo! Yes to both of those. I find that after 2-3 days in the fridge though cakes tend to start to dry out a bit. This is not the case in the freezer, which helps retain the moisture.
This is truly a beautiful cake combination – I made it as cupcakes, and everyone loved them! I’ve actually converted a lot of your cake recipes to cupcakes, and it has made me a lot of friends at work. 🙂
A note on the cream cheese frosting though – if you want a cream cheese frosting with a lovely, luscious, and sturdy texture, give this one a try: https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2017/10/cream-cheese-buttercream-recipe.html
It’s similar to a German buttercream, and, more importantly, it pipes beautifully and will give you the clean cake lines you’re looking for.
Hi A.C.! I am so happy you loved it! Thanks for the CC frosting recipe, I haven’t seen one like that!! I will definitely give it a try. Thank you! xo
Thomas Collins says
Hope you are well,
Just asking some of your previous recipes require cake flour. I’m in the UK and we do not have cake flour in stores and it is hard to find online. What do you suggest?
When searching it says for 1 cup of all purpose, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. The banana foster recipe has 2 cups does that mean add 4 tablespoons of cornstarch to replace 4 tablespoons of all purpose flour.
Hope you can help
Love your content 🙂
Hi Thomas! For most of my recipes, I use regular all-purpose flour because that’s what most people tend to have in their kitchens. For banana-based cakes I use cake flour to help lighten the cake a bit, since the bananas will make it a bit more dense. You could just use AP flour though and it will be just fine, maybe slightly more dense. If you’d like to make your own cake flour, that is the correct way to do it. Let me know what you try and how it turns out!
So I’ll maybe try subbing in the cornstarch. Is this the right way? The recipe has 2 cups of cake flour, so would that be 4 tablespoons, is that the correct way you know how to replace the all purpose?
Thank you for your reply
Yes, that’s correct. Remove 4 Tbsp of AP flour and add 4 Tbsp of cornstarch. That being said, I’ve only ever made this recipe with AP flour so I’m not sure how cake flour will work with it. It shouldn’t be disastrous, but it will change the texture.
Thank you for your advise!
Not this cake but I was regarding your previous recipes that require cake flour.
Have a good day:)
I’m officially obsessed with this website and all your cakes! This one is next on my list. I’m making it for a special occasion so I wanted to color the frosting to create an ombre effect. Given how finicky cream cheese frosting can be, I was thinking about making half of it to fill in the layers, but using cinnamon swiss meringue buttercream instead to frost the exterior of the cake. Do you think it would be a good combination, or would you have another recommendation?
Thanks so much Annie! I think that’s a great plan, but if you want to color the frosting I’d maybe leave the cinnamon out of the SMBC (depending on the color you want) as it will give it a brown tint. Let me know how you like it! 🙂
I finally made it. What a delicious combination! I ended up using cream cheese buttercream even for the outside…. we can call it a “rustic” look! Everyone loved it. Thanks for another great recipe!
Yay! So happy you loved it 🙂 Thanks for the feedback!