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William Tell’s Never-Miss Apple Cake

I bake my family-favorite fall cake to usher in this abundant season. It looks so luscious that eating one piece is nearly impossible. —Jamie Jones, Madison, Georgia
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Bake: 50 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • CAKE:
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups chopped peeled tart apples
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  • Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-in. fluted tube pan. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth; beat in egg.
  • For cake, in a large bowl, beat sugar, oil and eggs until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda; gradually beat into sugar mixture. Stir in apples, carrots and pecans.
  • Transfer half of the batter to prepared pan; layer with cream cheese mixture, then remaining batter. Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake portion comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • For icing, in a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; whisk in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with pecans.
Editor’s Notes: To remove cake easily, use solid shortening to grease plain and fluted tube pans. To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Editor's Note
To toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 614 calories, 36g fat (9g saturated fat), 102mg cholesterol, 407mg sodium, 68g carbohydrate (50g sugars, 2g fiber), 7g protein.

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Average Rating:
  • MrsRR
    Feb 7, 2020

    Wonderful cake, yes it does take awhile to put together, but worth every minute. Tasty and everyone loved it!

  • Norah
    Nov 27, 2019

    This cake is awesome! So moist and flavorful. It wasn't that time consuming for me, but I bought already sliced apples and shredded carrots to cut the prep time a bit because I still had other desserts to prepare ahead of our family's Thanksgiving get together. I live in Denver, CO, so I was a bit worried baking this at such a high altitude but it came out great! I cooked it for the full 60 minutes. I plan to make this recipe a part of my holiday dessert spread going forward!

  • Tom
    Nov 19, 2019

    This is a very tasty cake. However, I wonder about the comments that it is easy to put together! Not so with me! Peeling chopping apples, grating carrots, making the cream cheese layer, making the basic cake batter etc etc. I am experienced in the kitchen but I spent a lot of time making this. Good, but not worth all the time an effort. Also, I want to find an apple cake recipe that has chunks of apple in it and I thought this would be it, but it wasn't.

  • aug2295
    Oct 26, 2019

    This cake had a great texture and flavor and not at all dry. Great way to use fall apples.

  • Lawler67
    Oct 22, 2019

    Great Fall dessert. Easy to make and delicious.

  • Kathy
    Oct 23, 2018

    Absolutely delicious apple cake. Made it for a luncheon and everyone was wild about it. Very cinnamony, moist, cream cheese boosts the flavor and the icing is to die for!! Highly recommend this cake with no changes.

  • chocolateformyfour
    Mar 21, 2018

    Outstanding!Made this in mid March 2018 and adapted to making it gluten free by adding one teaspoon of xanthan gum and replacing the regular flour with pure brown rice flour (Not a baking mixture.) It turned out perfectly!*Whether gluten free or not it's a bit tricky to get this cake to bake all the way in the middle without burning the outside.

  • CJerls
    Mar 18, 2018

    My wife has made this cake numerous times, when I take to an office function or to someones house it is always the first cake to go. The cake is easy to make and very popular with everyone from kids to adults.

  • Catherine
    Nov 5, 2017

    This cake is amazing, delicious, and was a huge hit at my recent dinner party! I searched the Internet for a fall seasonal dessert, and this cake sounded good. I read many reviews, including ones where people indicated they had challenges removing the cake from the fluted bundt pan. I followed the directions, added a little extra shredded carrots (shredded 2 large carrots for about 1 1/4 cups) as well as a little extra apple (chopped 2 large Granny Smith apples for about 2 1/2 cups.) I use Organic Coconut Oil (from Costco) as my go to shortening for all baking, so I greased and lightly floured my fluted bundt pan with coconut oil followed by flour. The cake took the full 60 minutes to bake, although I started checking it at 50 minutes. I let it cool for the 10 minutes, and then inverted the cake directly to a pedestal glass cake plate. The cake slid out without the slightest hesitation and was beautiful and perfect! As I felt the cake sounded flavorful enough, I opted not to add the additional glaze. I served it to my family and guests who ranged in age from 15 to 90 years old, and everyone raved about it, including a few who had a second slice! This will become my new fall favorite dessert...and very likely a cake I will make year-round! I'm planning on adding it to my dessert selection for Thanksgiving, and may add the glaze for the added finished look and dimension. Thank you so much for this incredible recipe! (I also must add that this is the first time I have ever felt compelled to write a review on a was that good!)

  • Connie
    Oct 18, 2017

    Sometimes I use a new recipe instead of the old standbys because the reviews are so good, but this one backfired. I followed the recipe exactly - cooked for 60 minutes because it did not test done at 50 or 55. I had a hard time getting it out of the pan even though I used shortening and a heavy coat of flour, so I had to patch it together. Nevertheless, it looked delicious with the glaze and nuts and the texture was ok. The problem is . . . it has no flavor. The predominate flavor is toasted nuts, cinnamon, some of the cream cheese, but it just wasn't tasty. The glaze is too sweet and overtakes the subtle apple. This took a lot of prep and it was not worth it -- I'll stick to my old standbys.