Apple Fritter Cake From Molly Gilbert

October 12, 2022
2 Ratings
Photo by Dana Gallagher
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Serves 24
Author Notes

“To me, the apple fritter is always the best choice at the donut shop. Every time. I mean, I’ll never say no to a maple old fashioned or a plain raised glazed, and there’s a time and place for fancy shapes, fillings, and toppings, but if it’s in the case, the apple fritter has my vote. You can’t beat the dense yet airy dough, studded with pockets of apple and cinnamon and bathed in a milky glaze. This cake is an homage to my favorite donut—it’s got the same dense crumb, baked apple pockets, and sweet maple glaze. And the best part? No frying necessary.” Recipe reprinted with permission from Sheet Pan Sweets by Molly Gilbert (‎Union Square & Co., October 2022). Photography by Dana Gallagher.Food52

What You'll Need
  • Cake
  • Unsalted butter or nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract
  • 4 cups chopped peeled apples (about 3 large; I like a mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious)
  • Glaze
  • 4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  1. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the center position. Grease a sheet pan with butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, melted butter, and oil until smooth. Add the eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and whisk well to combine.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir with a rubber spatula until the dough just comes together. Fold in the apples until evenly distributed.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the corners with a large offset spatula. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cake is deeply golden and the edges just start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Set the sheet pan on a wire rack and let the cake cool for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Make the glaze: Melt the butter in a small pot over medium heat. Cook, stirring often with a rubber spatula, until the butter turns a toasted, amber color (it will bubble and spit; when it quiets down, check for browning). Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and milk until smooth.
  7. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cooled cake. Let set for 5 minutes.
  8. Slice the cake into pieces and serve. The cake is best the day it’s made, but will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Robin Gebrian
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  • AnnaS

3 Reviews

Robin G. October 28, 2022
Is this made in a full sheet pan or a half sheet pan ? A dimension would help!
AnnaS August 20, 2023
There is a YouTube video of them making the cake on a Seattle news station. In that video they use a 1/2 sheet (12x18).
Sara W. October 24, 2022
It has to be said that a cake can't really come close to replicating all the flavour and texture of a really good apple fritter. But this is an excellent cake whether or not you're looking at it as a fritter replacement – I know this is a recipe I'll return to again and again when I'm looking for an easy-to-prepare apple cake with big flavour.