Yogurt Apple Cake with Buttered Cinnamon Brown Sugar

yogurt apple cake

Guys.  Peeps.  My friends.  Yogurt Apple Cake with Buttered Cinnamon Brown Sugar.

Come on.

Ack oh my gosh is this cake so good.  SO good.

I know, it’s not apple season but I do.not.care.  Do not.  Nope.

I was planning on springing this one on you in the fall but eh, so much for that.

This cake is so good in fact, it’s the only cake I have ever made back to back.  Ever.  We finished it one night, Mike thoroughly heartbroken, sad little pouty face and all I am not kidding, that I baked another one the very next day.

For the longest time I’ve been searching for The apple cake, ya know, the winner-take-all-no-need-for-another-recipe cake.  This is it.

And I have quite a collection of apple cake recipes too.  I’m really not sure why I’m so apple recipe-oriented.

Well.  Maybe it reminds me of my childhood and our family trips to Detroit where my mom grew up.  We’d pile on into the car every fall (it seemed), spend a few days, then head on back.

There’s something about Michigan fruit, I dunno, it’s magical.

It’s highly prized in my family, my dad having spent many a summer in southwest Michigan growing up.  My grandma Edna would pick fresh wild berries, my dad showing me vaguely where on a business road trip I went on with him once.  She never shared the exact location with anyone.  Coveted, I tell ya.

Every June I make blueberry muffins, specifically using Michigan blueberries.

But every year we’d stop for apples and cider and it was a highlight we all looked forward to, discussing for hours where we’d stop that trip, trying to remember who had the best apples.  And every year a big ol’ wood bushel basket would *kathunk* end up in the trunk, my brother and I in the back seat sticky from fresh apple goodness.

Huh, I can’t remember how we made it through those piles of apples.  I know my mom made a tasty chunky applesauce.  We made a pie or two.  I know my dad would take some to the office every day until they were gone.  There were lots of apples in those baskets!

So maybe that’s where my fixation for all thing apple comes from.  Hence and therefore, my affinity for collecting apple related dessert recipes.  Really, I have a bunch.  I like apples.

Right but back to this ridiculous cake.  It’s on the Winners list solidified by a Mike, mouth full, mmrrff mmrrrff, “this is good, whoa-ho-ho” moment.  The other day when I leaked that I had made one for you guys to read about, I got a slo-mo head turn, his eyes twinkled, then a smirk with a happy chortle.

What’s even better than a seriously drool-worthy cake?  One that’s fast and simple to pull together practically in one single bowl.  The lengthiest and most complicated aspect of this assembly is peeling and chopping the apples.  And truly it’s neither that lengthy nor complicated.

The hardest part?  Waiting for this thing to cool before stuffing your cake desiring face.

Let’s hop to it then, shall we?

With a fork or a spoon or even your fingers though that gets quite messy, mash the butter into the brown sugar and cinnamon until the sugar turns darker from the moisture and you have flaky crumbly clumps.  Set that aside.

brown sugar butter and cinnamon crumble
Ehhh, not the best photo, sorry.  But you get the idea, yeah?

In a large bowl, just toss in the yogurt, the oil, the lemon juice, the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

wet ingredients in bowl ready for mixing
I mean, this cake already looks happy and it's not even remotely a cake yet.

The original recipe from The Kitchn calls for olive oil but I opted for canola to let the flavor of the apples be forefront so it’s up to you.  I’ve also used Greek style, a yogurt in between, and regular plain yogurt, each working out well but do use a whole milk version.

Why?  The full fat aids in something science-y of the cake, whole milk yogurt is healthier for you, plus its only ingredients are milk and yogurt bugs as opposed to who knows what in low fat or nonfat.  True.  Read the labels, you’ll be surprised.

Ok, so go ahead, give those mostly wet ingredients a nice whisking until everything is evenly mixed.

wet ingredients mixed

Now, the apples.  I never followed the original suggestion of Granny Smiths.  Instead I grab three different types to total vaguely around a pound and a half, so essentially a medium to large say, Jonagold, a Gala, and a Honeycrisp.  Or I’ve gotten a Braeburn, a Fuji, and a Pink Lady.  Or a Granny Smith and …  you get the picture.

I find the three different types bring a nice well rounded flavor and varying texture that can’t be beaten.  But it’s up to you, use whichever type or combination thereof; you can’t really go wrong.

So next peel up those glorious apples and slice them about 3/8” thick, or bigger than a quarter inch, not quite a half, ya know, give or take, then into thirds or quarters depending on the apple size you grabbed.

To answer your question, grated apples will make this already very very moist cake too smushy so stick to chunks.

Toss those apple bits into the pool and give them a batter-coating swirl.

add apples to batter

Next, dump in all the dry ingredients, yep, just pile them on top and gently stir everything together until you no longer see dry though no need to go whole hog mixing.

dry ingredients in a bowl
No need for a separate bowl on this step, I only did it for clarity.

A note here:  while I’m not clear on any way to substitute out the yogurt or eggs or butter, I have read a tad recently about gluten-free flours.  There are several brands like Cup4Cup* and a King Arthur* for example that can literally be substituted cup for cup in a recipe like this.  Not so much in a bread recipe but here it should work.

Scoop half this sunny batter into a greased 9×13 pan and sprinkle half of the brown sugar butter cinnamon combo over top.  Heh, I’m never good at the half, I usually end up off.  No big whoop.

layering batter and crumble in pan

Pour on the remaining batter, spread around, and dash on the last of the brown sugar crumbles.

Pop the whole thing into the 350 degree preheated oven, flip the timer to forty five minutes, and try not to pace anxiously until a toothpick comes out clean.  Don’t fret if forty five minutes is not enough, let it go until it’s ready, covering with foil if the cake browns too much.

finished apple yogurt cake
Do you know how hard it was not to take a mouth shovel to this as I photographed it?!

Once baked, let the cake cool completely before serving to set then slice and enjoy this little bit of heaven.

side view apple yogurt cake on plate

Hang on, I’ll get Mike’s take on this ditty though as I already clarified, he loves it.

“Hey babe, the apple cake….?”

“Whaddya mean?! [aka, why are you asking me such a siiillly question] [as he doles himself two slices] (enthusiastic nodding) Pfffttt, it’s heh really good.”  Obviously I’m nuts for asking his opinion on such a tasty number.

slice of apple yogurt cake plated
Oh.  Oh my goodness.  What a cake!

Note: This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

Yogurt Apple Cake with Buttered Cinnamon Brown Sugar

Yogurt Apple Cake with Buttered Cinnamon Brown Sugar

12 slices
Prep time
20 Min
Cook time
45 Min
Total time
1 H & 4 M
The only apple cake recipe you'll ever need, one you'll happily bake again and again any time of year.


  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (6 g) cinnamon (divided)
  • 1/2 cup (107 g) brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 1/2 cups (341 g) whole milk yogurt
  • 2/3 cup (158 ml) canola oil
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) lemon juice (or one lemon)
  • 1 cup (198 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons (7 g) vanilla
  • 1 1/2 pounds apples (or 3 medium to large size, 680 g))
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (10 g) baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon (4.5 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (6 g) fine sea salt
  • Pinch ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° (177° C). Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan lightly with spray.
  2. In a small bowl or on a plate and with a fork or spoon, mash the butter into the brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon until small flaky crumbles form. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the yogurt, canola oil, the lemon juice, the sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla, whisking to mix until the ingredients are evenly combined.
  4. Peel, slice, and dice the apples into chunks leaving out the cores (don’t grate the apples or the cake will be too mushy) into generally about 3/8” slices then cut the slices in thirds or quarters, depending on the size of the apples.
  5. Add the apple chunks to the bowl of wet ingredients and give a stir to mix them in.
  6. To the same large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the wet ingredients then stir until no dry ingredients are left visible. Some lumps are fine.
  7. Into the baking pan, add approximately half the batter then sprinkle the top with half of the buttered cinnamon brown sugar. Pour on the remaining batter, spread it evenly, then sprinkle the top of the cake with the rest of the brown sugar mix.
  8. Bake for approximately 45 minutes. If the top browns too much, cover it with foil. Test the center of the cake with a toothpick after the timer goes off; if it comes out clean (save a few crumbs), it is ready.
  9. Remove the cake from the oven, rest the pan on a cooling rack, and let the cake cool completely before serving so the cake has a chance to set.


Adapted from The Kitchn.



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Please see the "info" section for nutrition details.

apple cake, cake
Created using The Recipes Generator

*The Cup4Cup and King Arthur gluten free flours are Amazon affiliate links.  Bake happy, thanks!  Please see the "Info" tab for more, well, more info.

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