Apple Layer Cake with Cream-Cheese Frosting

Three layers of delicately spiced apple cake are filled and frosted with tangy cream-cheese frosting here, yielding a towering dessert worthy of any celebration.


  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, two coarsely grated and two sliced
  • 3 sticks (1 ½ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ pounds (three 8-ounce bars) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 2 pinches kosher salt
  • Apple chips, for garnish (optional)


    1. Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans; line with parchment. Butter and flour parchment, tapping out any excess.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, and eggs until well combined; fold in grated and diced apples. Add flour mixture; mix just until combined. Divide batter among prepared pans; smooth tops.
    3. Bake until a tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans 20 minutes, then invert onto wire racks; remove parchment. Invert cakes again; let cool completely on racks.
    4. Frosting: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and beat until well combined and fluffy, about 2 minutes more. Add confectioners' sugar and salt; beat 5 minutes.
    5. Place a cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup frosting evenly over it; top with a second cake layer. Repeat with another 1 cup frosting and third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate at least 1 hour and up to 4 days. Return to room temperature before serving. Garnish with apple chips, if desired; use a serrated knife to slice cake.