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Rustic Buttermilk Apple Cake

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Loaded with fresh apples, this rustic buttermilk cake is easy to put together and absolutely fabulous to eat. Serve it as a coffee cake, snack cake or for an easy dessert.

close piece of rustic buttermilk apple cake with apple halves and cake pan in background.

This rustic apple cake may look unassuming, but it is ready to wow your taste buds.  It comes together quickly in just a couple of mixing bowls. It is laced with buttermilk, cinnamon, and whole wheat flour.

It would make a perfect weekend treat with a cup of coffee or tea or would be fabulous for dessert. The simplicity makes it a perfect way to enjoy the best of apple season.

I am totally in love with apple cakes.  There are so many different ways you can do them.  Big layered cakes with tons of frosting like my applesauce cake with soft caramel cream cheese frosting comes to mind as a showstopper.

bowl of wet ingredients and bowl of dry ingredients ready to be made into rustic apple cake.

But there are also so many ways to do simple unassuming but still really delicious apple cakes.  My great-great grandma’s dutch apple cake is a good example of that.

It has been in my family for generations and we still enjoy it.  It is another cake that can be right at home on the breakfast table or the dessert table, either way it will be well received.

bowl of batter for apple cake behind cutting board full of chopped apples.

This rustic buttermilk apple cake is like that.  It is better for you than most cakes, so enjoying it for breakfast is not out of the question.

However if you were to be served a slice after a meal you would be appreciative as well.  The best part is it comes together quickly with no special equipment at all!

It is loaded with chunks of delicious apple that lend both moisture and flavor to the cake.  I used Envy apples and they added the perfect balance of sweet and tart and held up really well to the baking.

thick rustic buttermilk apple cake batter in square baking dish.

Because the cake is rustic in nature, you don’t even have to peel the apples.  That both save prep time and adds nutritional value to your final treat.  So you can feel better about reaching for that second piece!

There is some whole wheat flour mixed in as well.  Along with the all purpose flour, cane sugar and buttermilk it creates a great flavor while maintaining a soft and delicious crumb.

As you may imagine the apples and cinnamon smell amazing as they bake and you will be dying to get your hands on the finished product.  Let it cool for a bit, and then dig in while it’s still warm for an extra special treat!

baked rustic buttermilk apple cake fresh from the oven.

We enjoyed our rustic apple cake just as it is.  It was sweet, but not too sweet and had a great balance of flavors.

If you are looking to take it to the next level, a drizzle of maple syrup or honey would be a way to do that.  Either would go so nicely and add a little extra kick for you sweet tooth if you need it.

Not to mention it would look fabulous too.  Of course I wouldn’t discourage a scoop of ice cream either if you were so inclined.

square pan of rustic buttermilk apple cake with corner piece missing.

Tips, Tricks and Variations:

If you don’t have cane sugar, substitute half brown sugar and half granulated sugar.

If you don’t have whole wheat flour, using all purpose flour for all of the flour needed is ok.

If you don’t have buttermilk, sour a cup of milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar and let sit for about 10 minutes before using. 

piece of rustic buttermilk apple cake with chunks of fresh apple on plate ready to eat

You could peel your apples if you prefer, but we really liked it with the skins on and it saves time that way too!

The cake batter will be thick, more like a dough. Don’t worry, the apples will add moisture.

You will have the best luck if your buttermilk and eggs are at room temperature. 

Melt the butter ahead of time and allow to cool a bit before you use. 

close piece of rustic buttermilk apple cake with apple halves and cake pan in background.

Rustic Buttermilk Apple Cake

Loaded with fresh apples, this rustic buttermilk cake is easy to put together and absolutely fabulous to eat. Serve it as a coffee cake, snack cake or for an easy dessert.
4.53 from 21 ratings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 9 Servings
Calories 252 kcal


  • 2 cups diced apple
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 dash grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup butter melted
Makes: 8 x 8inch rectangle


  • Melt butter and set aside to cool.
  • Preheat oven to 400° F and grease an 8″ square baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    1 cup whole wheat flour, 1½ cups all purpose flour, 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 dash grated nutmeg, ½ teaspoon salt
  • In a separate bowl, add sugar, eggs and buttermilk to melted butter. Mix well.
    ½ cup cane sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 cup buttermilk, ¼ cup butter
  • Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until just incorporated.
  • Add apple chunks and mix until distributed. Spread in prepared pan.
    2 cups diced apple
  • Bake 25-30 minutes. The cake should be set and lightly golden brown on top. 
  • Allow to cool most of the way before serving, but it is delicious served warm. 


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 252kcalCarbohydrates: 43gProtein: 6gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 389mgFiber: 3gSugar: 15g
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Recipe Rating

Emily Sypolt

Monday 27th of February 2023

I wonder how well these would hold up in muffin form and freezing individually. Then microwaving to thaw and warm up. Any recommendations on how to do that successfully?


Monday 27th of February 2023

I don't see why that shouldn't work. I would start checking them after about 15 minutes in the oven to see when they are done. They will cook faster in a muffin tin than in a larger cake.


Friday 18th of October 2019

Thank you!

Big Rigs 'n Lil' Cookies

Monday 7th of October 2019

I love apple cakes so much, and this one sounds fantastic! Carlee.... You are making my baking list fill up for the next month!


Friday 18th of October 2019

I hope you give it a try

Southern Home Express

Wednesday 2nd of October 2019

This looks delicious! I'd love some for breakfast with my coffee!


Friday 18th of October 2019

I would happily share with you

Camilla M. Mann

Thursday 26th of September 2019

I need a piece, please! Thanks for sharing this recipe, Carlee. It looks delicious and easy. Perfect!


Friday 18th of October 2019

Sure thing, come on over!