A homey apple breakfast cake is a great way to start the day! This breakfast cake recipe can be made the night before – perfect for holidays or lazy weekend mornings – and is a great way to use fresh apples!
Raise your hand if you’re always looking for creative make-ahead breakfast recipes? Me too. Honestly, it’s not even so much for during the week. We keep an assortment of easy breakfast foods (eggs, yogurt, protein, cereal, etc) on hand so everyone grabs what they want. I want make ahead breakfasts for holidays when I don’t want to spend time in the kitchen and away from family. Or for weekends when I want to enjoy a special brunch without a) leaving the house and b) spending all morning cooking first. This apple breakfast cake fits the bill!
Isn’t any cake you eat for breakfast a breakfast cake?
Touche. And while technically true, there are a few little things about this apple breakfast cake that I think make it *slightly* more okay for breakfast than say, chocolate cake.
First of all, the cake has less sugar than classic cake recipes. You need enough to sweeten, but not enough to cause a crash. Even the frosting uses much less sugar than usual – why you’ll see it’s a bit softer.
Second, the texture is totally different. Kind of. In trying to explain the texture to the Godfather before I baked the cake, I told him it was a cross between a coffee cake and a scone. So the cake is on the chewier side, but shouldn’t feel too heavy. After trying, he agreed with my scone/cake hybrid analogy. This is because of the oatmeal. This isn’t an oatmeal cake though, which has a totally different method. This simple apple cake is much less fussy.
Finally, fruit in every bite totally makes this appropriate for breakfast. Did I mention the yogurt in the frosting? Protein, fruit, fiber… breakfast food.
Can I make this in advance?
With any breakfast recipe that takes over 20 minutes, this is always an important question. Delicious breakfasts are great, but so is sleeping in. This cake though can definitely be made in advance and refrigerated overnight. If you don’t frost it, you don’t have to refrigerate it. As soon as you add the frosting though, it needs refrigeration because the yogurt and cream cheese are perishable.
The biggest concern most people have with refrigerating baked goods is drying out. Me too. But we tested with the photo shoot cake. I baked and frosted the same day I took the pictures. We had some for breakfast the next day, I shared some, and then we ate a little more 2 days later. Still good. Just take it out of the refrigerator a few minutes before you plan to serve. So while you make the coffee, set the table, etc, let the cake sit on the counter.
If you don’t frost the cake after baking, allow it to cool completely and then wrap it or place it in an airtight container and let it sit on the counter overnight. You can make the frosting while you bake the cake and then store that in the refrigerator overnight. Frost the cake just before serving and refrigerate any extra.
What would I serve with breakfast cake?
The answer is pretty flexible depending on your preferred breakfast style. For a lighter breakfast, the cake and maybe a bit of fresh fruit or hard-boiled eggs are great. If you are making this as part of a fancier spread, try making some cheesecake yogurt parfaits in advance too! A quiche or breakfast bake (like this overnight slow cooker option) would definitely work well when you’re feeding a crowd.
I hope you love this recipe, darlings! Happy baking!
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon or apple pie spice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil
- 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups apples, peeled and chopped
- juice from 1/2 a lemon
Yogurt Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt (see notes)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- Caramel sauce for topping
- Extra cinnamon for dusting
- Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch round cake pan (see notes) and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Peel and cut your apples, then place in a small bowl and toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and flour.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oil, yogurt, vanilla, and eggs (see notes for substitutes).
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the apple.
- Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan. It will be rather thick, that's expected for this kind of cake.
- Bake the cake for 40-45 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove and allow to cool in the pan 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting by creaming together the yogurt and cream cheese until fluffy. Add the vanilla, powdered sugar and cinnamon. Beat until just combined. If you are not frosting the cake immediately, store the frosting in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Frost the completely cooled cake and either dust with cinnamon or drizzle with caramel if desired. Enjoy! The extra cake should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- If you only have vanilla yogurt and not plain yogurt, you can use it in the frosting, but your frosting will be slightly sweeter.
- Either a 2-inch deep or 3-inch deep cake pan will work.
- For the best results, be sure not to pack the flour too tightly. It's best to scoop it into a bowl and then spoon into your measuring cups and level.
- If you want to cut fat in this recipe, you may use nonfat or low-fat yogurt and replace all or part of the oil with applesauce.
- To make a non-dairy and egg-free version, just use your favorite non-dairy yogurt and a vegan cream cheese substitute. Use flax eggs or 1/2 cup applesauce instead of the eggs. Easy!
- If you are making this cake the night before serving: Either store the completely cooled cake in an airtight container at room temperature overnight, or frost and place in a cake carrier or cake box in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
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