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Apple Cake Filling

A couple weeks ago I made a salted caramel apple cake, and the real star of the show was its apple cake filling!

It’s perfectly sweet, full of warm spices, and the perfect consistency to fill a cake.

The cake recipe was pretty detailed, so I wanted to make a post sharing just the apple filling. I also hope this will encourage people to get creative and use this filling with their favorite cake and cupcake recipes.

This filling would be incredible with my vanilla cake recipe or even my cinnamon cupcake recipe. The sky’s the limit!!

image of a slice of salted caramel apple cake on plate filled with apple cake filling

What Type of Apples Should I Use in this Recipe?

There isn’t really a single right answer to this question! I personally love using Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apples in this apple cake filling recipe, but that’s mostly because they’re my favorite apples to eat.

In general, as long as it’s a firmer apple variety (like Red Delicious, Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, or Golden Delicious) it should work great!

You can even mix and match the apples you use in this recipe! The most important thing is that you use 4 large, firm apples that weigh about 800 grams or about 1.75 lbs.

image of apples on a board ready to be baked with

Getting the Consistency Just Right For a Cake

While cooking down the apples does thicken the mixture, it doesn’t make it quite thick enough to add to cake.

If you’ve ever tried to add a bunch of jam between the layers of a tall cake, you know that you need a thick filling or else your cake layers slide all over the place!

I like to call it the slip and slide, and it makes cake decorating a nightmare.

You also need a cake filling to be thick to ensure it won’t ooze out the sides of your cake once it’s stacked and frosted.

Even with the help of a piped ring of frosting (i.e. a frosting dam), the filling can still ooze out as the cake settles.

Trust me, I’ve had my share of oozing fruit-filled cakes, and nothing is worse!!

image of apple cake filling being cooked down in a large skillet

Thickening this Apple Cake Filling with Cornstarch

This recipe is designed to make a really thick filling once it’s fully cooked and has cooled.

It ends up being just about as thick as jelly. The secret to making this apple cake filling so thick is cornstarch!

This recipe adds a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water) to the partially cooked down apple mixture.

Using a slurry rather than adding cornstarch directly into the filling makes it so much easier to incorporate the cornstarch into the filling.

image of apple cake filling being cooked down in a large skillet with brown sugar, cinnamon and fresh lemon juice

My Secret Ingredient – Fresh Lemon Juice

Whenever I make fruit filling, I love to incorporate a bit of fresh lemon juice. I think it really enhances the flavor of the apples, and adds a bright pop of flavor.

Just be sure you a fresh lemon! Pre-squeezed lemon juice doesn’t have the same impact.

The lemon really just acts an accent, and isn’t a dominant flavor in the filling.

image of apple cake filling being added to a spice cake

Tips for Making the Best Apple Cake Filling:

  • Dice your apples into 1 cm, uniformly-sized pieces. It makes them easier to cook down.
  • Don’t over-cook your apples! You want them to be soft, but not falling apart. If they get too soft the mixture will start to resemble apple sauce and that is not what we’re after with this recipe.
  • Make the apple cake filling at least a day in advance to allow it to properly thicken and develop its flavor.
  • Be sure to use fresh lemon juice to enhance the flavor of the apples.
  • Save leftover filling to fill cupcakes, add to thumbprint cookies, or even to top ice cream!

Making This Cake Filling in Advance and Storage Tips:

  • This apple cake filling can be made up to a week in advance if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • I don’t recommend freezing this filling, it gives it a strange texture.
  • Give the filling a stir with a rubber spatula before adding it to your cake to make it easier to spread.
image of apple cake filling used in a spice cake recipe

Let Me Know What You Think

If you try this apple cake filling recipe, I’d love to hear what you think! Please leave a rating below, and a comment to let me know your thoughts 🙂

Other Recipes You Might Like:

Yield: 2.5 cups

Apple Cake Filling

image of a slice of salted caramel apple cake on plate

This apple cake filling tastes just like fall! It's perfect for filling layer cakes, cupcakes, or even on ice cream!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Apple Filling

  • 4 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and cubed (800g)
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter (42g)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed (200g)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice - or the juice of 1 small lemon (45g)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon (5g)
  • 1/4 tsp fine salt (1g)
  • 2 Tbsp water (30g)
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch (15g)

Instructions

Apple Filling

  1. Peel 4 large apples, remove the core and cut into quarter inch pieces.
  2. Add the apple pieces, 3 Tbsp butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 3 Tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp salt into a large skillet. Heat over medium-high heat, using a spoon or spatula to stir occasionally. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, then reduce the heat to medium.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp of water and 2 Tbsp of cornstarch to make a cornstarch slurry. This will help thicken the filing. Pour into the apple mixture and cook for 5-10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook just until the apples are soft. If you over-cook them they'll fall apart and look more like applesauce than apple cake filling!
  4. Transfer the filling into a separate container and chill in the fridge. Once fully cooled, the filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week (it doesn't freeze well).

Notes

This apple cake filling can be made up to a week in advance if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.

Tips for Making the Best Apple Cake Filling:

  • Dice your apples into 1 cm, uniformly sized pieces. It makes them easier to cook down.
  • Don't over-cook your apples! You want them to be soft, but not falling apart. If they get too soft the mixture will start to resemble apple sauce and that is not what we're after with this recipe.
  • Make the apple cake filling at least a day in advance to allow it to properly thicken and develop its flavor.
  • Be sure to use fresh lemon juice to enhance the tartness of the raspberries.
  • Save leftover filling to fill cupcakes, add to thumbprint cookies, or even to top ice cream!

Nutrition Information

Yield

16

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 96Total Fat 2gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 1gCholesterol 6mgSodium 41mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 2gSugar 17gProtein 0g

amanda borowski

Monday 22nd of November 2021

can you use this filling for pies?

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