Apple Snickerdoodle Layer Cake

A full apple snickerdoodle cake, decorated in white cinnamon buttercream, with snickerdoodle cookies around the base of the wooden cake stand

A spiced apple filling, a snickerdoodle-flavored cake, a cookie crust, a snickerdoodle buttercream, and cinnamon buttercream all star in this perfect fall celebration cake, called the apple snickerdoodle layer cake.

Top reasons you’ll love this layer cake: The cake tastes exactly like a snickerdoodle, the cookie crust on the bottom layer adds a delightful yet unexpected crunch, and the spiced apple filling provides a welcome variety of textures and just the right amount of spice to balance out the sweetness of the cake and buttercream.

You’ll need a handful of common baking ingredients, some apples, and a lot of butter.

Quick Tips for Prepping Apple Snickerdoodle Layer Cake

If you’d rather watch a video than read these tips, check out my video for this recipe!

A slice of apple snickerdoodle layer cake.
Just look at those layers!

I used about a dozen snickerdoodle cookies total in this recipe. (Five snickerdoodles will get you about 3/4 cup of crumbs.) They are one of the easiest cookies to make and don’t take too long to bake (plus low cleanup!), so I would recommend making your own a couple days in advance for the best flavor. Of course, you can always use store bought snickerdoodles if you prefer. I used Betty Crocker’s snickerdoodle recipe.

The snickerdoodle cookie crust is one of the best parts of the recipe, and it’s easy enough to make—just like a graham cracker crust. The crust is optional but highly recommended for best results.

A cookie crust in a 9-inch cake pan.
Just like a graham cracker crust, but with snickerdoodle crumbs instead!

Mixing two apple varieties will give you a rounder flavor in the spiced apple filling. I recommend two tart apples with three sweeter ones for a full flavor. I used two Granny Smith apples and three Smitten apples for a slightly tart yet sweet apple mixture.

A quick note: This cake can serve anywhere from 15-20 people, depending on how you slice it. For a smaller cake, simply halve the recipe and bake the cake layers in 6″ cake pans.

Quick Tips for Assembling Apple Snickerdoodle Layer Cake

Do not frost a partially-cooled cake. If running low on time, wrap a slightly warm cake in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge until it is fully chilled. Frosting and filling a warm cake will only result in goopy buttercream, a lack of structural integrity, and probably a few frustrated tears.

The same goes for the spiced apple filling: wait for it to cool entirely before filling the cake. To cool it down quickly, spread it in a thin layer on a metal baking sheet and refrigerate.

A chunky apple butter on the left, and a cup of diced and spiced apples on the right.
The spiced apple fillings are so good, I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to eat them with a spoon!

To layer your cake, place a dollop of cinnamon buttercream on a cake turner and firmly press a cake round onto it. Apply another dollop of buttercream and press the cake layer with the cookie crust (crust-side down) onto it. Spread half of the snickerdoodle buttercream onto the cake layer, then pipe a ring of cinnamon buttercream around the edge to prevent the filling from spilling out.

Spread half of the blended apple filling onto the cake layer, then top with half of the diced apples. Top with another cake layer, pressing lightly but firmly to seal it. Repeat.

Apple snickerdoodle layer cake, without the top layer. Apples and the apple filling are surrounded by a ring of white cinnamon buttercream.
I’ve never heard of an open-faced cake, but I think this could be the first with its beautiful colors and textures.

Spread the rest of the cinnamon buttercream on the top and sides of the cake, then use a bench scraper to smooth out the edges. Use the excess icing to decorate, dyed with food coloring, if desired.

Dish Cleanup: Dish Mountain

I rate my recipe cleanups on a scale of 1 to 5. 1 is only a handful of dishes, and 5 is everything including the kitchen sink.

This apple snickerdoodle layer cake recipe is a 5. Each of the components is rated only a 2 or a 3, but when combined in the sink, there are a lot of dishes. It’s a layer cake, though: “Dish Mountain” is basically expected.

To cut down on the dishes you have to do at once, make the cakes and the spiced apple filling the day before you plan to assemble. Then make the buttercream on assembly day, and you’ll only have half the dishes to do each day.

I didn’t take any photos of the cleanup after assembling, but you can gauge the mess from my video here.

Yield: 18 slices

Apple Snickerdoodle Layer Cake

A full apple snickerdoodle cake, frosted in white cinnamon buttercream with snickerdoodle triangles on top of a wooden cake stand

A three-layer snickerdoodle cake with a spiced apple filling and snickerdoodle crumb buttercream for the perfect celebration of fall flavors.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 1 hour
Additional Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients

Snickerdoodle Cake

  • ¾ cup snickerdoodle cookie crumbs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour (420g)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (15g)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar (3g)
  • ½ teaspoon salt (4g)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (6g)
  • 9 Tablespoons butter, at room temperature (127g), divided
  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil (160ml)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (410g)
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (50g)
  • 1 cup milk (240ml)

Spiced Apple Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons butter (28g)
  • ½ cup brown sugar (110g)
  • 5 cups of apples (from about five medium apples)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of salt

Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 2 cups butter, half salted and half unsalted, at room temperature (452g)
  • 8 cups powdered sugar (907g)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2-3 Tablespoons milk, as needed
  • 2-3 drops brown gel food coloring (optional)
  • Two snickerdoodle cookies, cut into quarters (optional)

Snickerdoodle Cookie Buttercream Filling

  • 1 ½ cups cinnamon buttercream, above
  • ¾ cup snickerdoodle cookie crumbs

Instructions

Make the Cakes

  1. Butter and flour three 9" baking pans, and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Melt one Tablespoon of butter in a small dish and mix in the snickerdoodle cookie crumbs until combined. Press into the bottom of one cake pan. Set aside.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Cream together the rest of the butter, vegetable oil, and sugar for 3-4 minutes until the mixture is white and fluffy. Add in vanilla extract, eggs (one at a time), and yogurt, beating until each is incorporated. With the mixer on low, add in about a third of flour mixture. Then pour in about half of the milk. Add another third of the flour mixture, the last half of the milk, and finally the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until just combined to prevent overbeating. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure everything is well mixed.
  4. Divide evenly into the three cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cake is golden and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Make the Spiced Apple Filling

  1. Dice the apples into ½" cubes.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt the butter on medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar, then add the diced apples, lemon juice, and spices. Stir occasionally and cook until the apples have softened, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove one cup of cooked apple pieces and set aside. Blend or puree the remaining apple mixture until it looks like a chunky apple butter. Let both cool separately.

Make the Cinnamon Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about two minutes. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time. Beat in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and 2-3 Tablespoons of milk (as needed). Beat on low for 30 seconds, then increase the speed to medium and beat for an additional two minutes for a fluffy buttercream.

Make the Snickerdoodle Buttercream Filling

  1. Put 1 ½ cups cinnamon buttercream in a medium bowl. Add snickerdoodle cookie crumbs and fold together until well combined. Place snickerdoodle buttercream in a piping bag for easy filling.

Assembling the Cake

  1. Once the cake layers have cooled entirely, place a dollop of frosting in the center of a cake turner or stand, and then push a cake board into it to make it stick. Place another dollop of frosting in the middle of the cake board. Center the cake layer with the snickerdoodle cookie crust on the board.
  2. Pipe or spread an even layer of the snickerdoodle buttercream filling on top of the cake layer. Pipe a tall ring around the edge to prevent the apple filling from leaking out.
  3. Spread half of the pureed apples evenly in the center of the cake layer. Top with half of the diced apples, then place the next cake layer on top.
  4. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the second layer.
  5. Place the last cake layer on top and press firmly to seal the edges. Use an offset spatula to smooth a thin layer of the cinnamon buttercream onto the edges and top of the cake to seal in the crumbs. Chill in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Once the buttercream has hardened, frost with nearly all the remaining buttercream. Use a scraper or offset spatula to smooth the sides, scraping the excess back into the mixer bowl. For ruler-straight edges, chill for an additional half hour or until hardened, then go over the edges with a scraper once more.
  7. Decorate as desired. I used one drop of brown food coloring to tint the remaining frosting and then decorated with an Ateco 221 three dot tip, an Ateco 864 French star tip, and two snickerdoodle cookies, chopped into quarters.

Notes

This recipe can easily make a smaller layer cake! Simply halve the recipe and bake the cake batter in 6" cake pans.

I used an Ateco #221 piping tip to decorate the cake's sides quickly and efficiently; you can use any tip with a small opening and pipe three small dots next to each other for a similar look.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

18 slices

Serving Size:

1 slice

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 879Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 133mgSodium: 464mgCarbohydrates: 123gFiber: 8gSugar: 89gProtein: 6g

The nutrition facts are estimated and may vary based on specific ingredients used.

Thanks for trying out my apple snickerdoodle layer cake recipe! I’d love to see how it turns out: Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @floralapronblog to share with me, or use the hashtag #floralapronbakes.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Got leftover apples? Make my salted caramel sauce and pour it over sliced freshly sliced apples! It’s the perfect consistency for dipping straight from the jar, too.

If you’re on the hunt for another delicious cake, I’d recommend my tiramisu layer cake recipe. It’s filled with mascarpone and real tiramisu cream but has a higher cake-to-cream ratio. I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up preferring this version over the traditional!

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