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Rustic Buttermilk Apple Cake

Thanks for sharing!

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. 

bite of rustic buttermilk apple cake on fork with drizzle of maple syrup on plate

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. 

Yield: 9 Servings

Rustic Buttermilk Apple Cake

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

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.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 2 cups diced apple
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup butter


  1. Melt butter and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400° F and grease an 8″ square baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  4. Add sugar, eggs and buttermilk to melted butter. Mix well.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until just incorporated.
  6. Add apple chunks and mix until distributed. Spread in prepared pan.
  7. Bake 25-30 minutes. The cake should be set and lightly golden brown on top. 
  8. Allow to cool most of the way before serving, but it is delicious served warm. 

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 252Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 389mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 6g

All nutritional information is estimated and will depend on the exact ingredients you use.

Did you make this recipe?

I'd love to see it! Share a picture on Instagram or Pinterest and tag me @carleecooks to let me know how it went!

More great apple treats

There are so many great ways to enjoy apples. Here are some more recipes that will help you turn a bushel of apples into a pile of desserts and treats!

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.

Thanks for sharing!

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!

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