Easy Apple Coffee Cake with Cake Mix

Easy apple coffee cake made with yellow cake mix, fresh apples and lots of cinnamon sugar swirled in. This easy apple cinnamon cake will become your favorite fall cake and your house will smell like Cinnabon!

apple coffee cake with white icing in glass 9x13 inch pan

I was initially concerned that I couldn’t call this a “coffee cake.” But google says that a coffee cake is a cake, often cinnamon flavored, with drizzled white icing – this cake definitely fits that description!

There are so many names you could call this cake – doctored up apple cinnamon cake, easy apple cinnamon crumb cake, apple coffee cake.

So let’s break it down.

apple coffee cake with white icing in glass 9x13 inch pan

To make easy apple cinnamon cake, you need…

apples, diced into small pieces
brown sugar
sour cream
vegetable oil
vanilla extract
yellow cake mix (can use a gluten free mix!)

how to make apple coffee cake collage

Follow the detailed instructions below, but essentially make the cake batter, mix in the chopped apples, and pour batter into a 9×13 inch pan.

Then swirl in the brown sugar cinnamon mixture on top of the cake. Bake and let your house smell like cinnabon 😍

Once the cake is done baking, drizzle the glaze over the cake.

This is for sure the easiest way to make apple coffee cake!

slice of apple coffee cake with white icing on metal place with green apple in background

Can I make apple coffee cake with sour cream ahead of time?

Yes. You can make this cake the day before you serve it and store it on the counter in an airtight container. However, I recommend waiting to add the glaze until the day of, otherwise the glaze can make the cake soggy.

Does apple cinnamon cake need to be refrigerated?

No. The cake can be kept on the counter in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

What can I use in place of a box of yellow cake mix?

You can replace the 15.25 oz box of yellow cake mix with another 15.25 oz cake mix. Other flavors I recommend are white, butter golden, spice, and french vanilla!

apple coffee cake with white icing in glass 9x13 inch pan

Can you make apple coffee cake gluten free?

YES! I tested this recipe with a gluten free yellow cake mix and it turned out SO good!

Tips for making doctored up apple cinnamon coffee cake

Be sure to dice the apples into small pieces so they soften during baking. If the apple pieces are too large, they won’t become fully soft.

Don’t be afraid to really swirl in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Use a butter knife or small spatula.

Recommended apples include: granny smith, honey crisp, or gala.

Want cream cheese icing instead?

Beat 4 oz softened cream cheese with 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup milk until thick. If too thick, beat in more milk (1 tsp at a time).

apple coffee cake with white icing in glass 9x13 inch pan collage with text overlay

More apple cinnamon recipes

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Easy Apple Coffee Cake with Cake Mix

Easy Apple Coffee Cake with Cake Mix

Yield: 9x13 inch cake
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Easy apple coffee cake made with yellow cake mix, fresh apples and lots of cinnamon sugar swirled in. This easy apple cinnamon cake will become your favorite fall cake and your house will smell like Cinnabon!


  • 2 apples, diced into small pieces (I recommend granny smith, honey crisp, or gala)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 box yellow cake mix, 15.25 oz (can use a gluten free mix!)


  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk or more in needed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350º F. Spray a 9x13 inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Dice the apples into small pieces. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon, mix with a spoon to combine. Remove 3 tbsp and sprinkle over the apples. Set aside the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture. And set aside the apples. 
  4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sour cream, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla extract, beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until combined. Add in the cake mix, gently mixing with the beater. Add in the apples and mix by hand until incorporated. Pour the cake mixture into the 9x13 inch pan, smooth with a spatula.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture all over the cake. Use a butter knife or spatula to swirl this mixture into the cake batter.
  6. Bake for 32-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool while you make the glaze.
  7. In a mixing bowl combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Use a whisk to stir the mixture until it’s smooth.

YOUR CHOICE: pour the glaze over the warm cake or let the cake cool completely then add the glaze. Serve right away or cover the cake pan with a lid and store on the counter until serving.


Be sure to read the post for answers to questions like:

  • can I make the cake ahead of time / does it need to be refrigerated
  • what to use in place of a yellow cake mix
  • can I make a cream cheese frosting instead


  1. For the cream cheese recipe, is it supposed to be 1/4 cup milk?

    • Hi Liz! Yes! Thanks for catching that! I’ll update it to read 1/4 not 14 🤣

    • Are you sprinkling the 3 tablespoons over the apples or the rest of the mixture after you remove  3 tablespoons?

    • You sprinkle the 3 tablespoons that you remove over the apples. The rest of the mixture gets swirled on top of the cake in step 5!

  2. I would like to make the gluten free version of the apple cinnamon cake but it calls for sour and I also have to be dairy free, so what can I substitute?
    Love your blog, a lot of good recipes.

    • Hi Cecelia! I don’t have a lot of experience with dairy free baking. I would recommend using a dairy free sour cream substitute or a dairy free plain yogurt.

  3. I have turned into a lazy critter recently. I just don’t have the time to bake like I would like. This recipe is terrific answer to coffee cake. I have all the ingredients in the pantry. On Wed. our coffee meeting will have coffee cake!.This is fast an easy yet meets ALL the requirements of a coffee cake . Thanks for the brilliant idea! The people at my Senior Comlex will love this!!!!

  4. I’m making this today (for work tomorrow) with a Butter Golden cake mix. I’m wondering how it would taste with a spice cake mix?

  5. Do you have to use Sour Cream? Can you you replace it with pudding or cream cheese?

    • Hi April! I haven’t tried this recipe with pudding or cream cheese – let me know how it turns out if you do!

  6. Can you use a sugar free cake mix?  You stated gluten free!

    • Hi Nancy! I haven’t tried this recipe with a sugar free cake mix myself.

    • I just made this with a Pillsbury sugar-free yellow cake mix along with the Truvia Brown Sugae blend and it came out great. The cake is fluffy and not too sweet. I added a teaspoon of nutmeg to the brown sugar/cinnamon mixture and did not put on a glaze; topping with sugar-free Coo Whip instead. **** thumbs up!

  7. Is it possible to bake this cake in a bundt pan?

    • That sounds delicious!! I haven’t tried it myself yet.

    • I don’t know if you’ve made it in a Bundt yet or not but I did today! I have 2 smaller Bundt pans so I separated the batter into the 2 turned out great! Only thing I’m going to note when I write the recipe down if I do it in a Bundt pan again to do a cinnamon/sugar layer halfway through because the bottom of it didn’t have any but it was very yummy!!!

    • Erica, it is amazing if you split the cinnamon/brown sugar mixture with half going into the pan first, then 1/2 -3/4 of the cake mix, add the rest of the cinnamon/brown and swirl, then add the rest of the cake mix. When you de pan the Bundt onto your serving plate, you get a gooey glaze on the top… then drizzle cream cheese glaze over the top and you have a stunning and delicious cake that pairs perfectly with coffee!

  8. Hello dear,
    Your recipe of this Apple coffee cake made with yellow cake mix is a top-notch recipe.
    I will be back to you soon if any issue while baking it on my own. And thanks for sharing this delicious recipe.

  9. Do you need an electric mixer or could you mix everything by hand? Thanks in advance :)

    • Hi Lily! I recommend an electric hand mixer if possible! You can mix it by hand, but it will take longer.

  10. Your recipes are Fantastic!! The cake is moist, very moist. Keep up your sharing with us. Thanx.

  11. Made this cake tonight for my boyfriend’s birthday. Used 3 apples instead of 2 (needed to use them up) and also used 1/2 cup whole-fat plain yogurt and half cup sour cream. I went with Pillsbury’s traditional yellow cake mix since it’s what I had on hand. Wound up taking several minutes longer in the oven to cook through, but it tasted great. :) Also went with a simple caramel glaze instead, which paired nicely.

  12. Can I add more apples to the recipe?

  13. The very best moist cake we have ever eaten. So easy. I commend you. Have made your apple cake several times–love it. Have made your cake recipe without apples and added half can of drained crushed pineapple to mixture. Wow!

  14. Thanks for sharing the apple coffe cake recipe.I will try to make this at home

  15. Can you  put chopped walnuts into the batter?

  16. I’m thinking of using this recipe. Can I use nuts in it? Have you tried it with chopped walnuts? 

  17. I’m going to make this today bu forgot to get powdered sugar, will it be too dry without it? 

    • Hi Heide! Powdered sugar is a critical ingredient for the glaze – but you could skip the glaze and the cake will still be delicious!

  18. Hi! I actually changed this recipe up today and instead of apples, I used a can of whole cranberry sauce and swirled it in along with the cinnamon mix. It was so delicious and moist. I’ve received so many compliments already and was told it tasted like a bakery made it! Thank you for such a great, versatile recipe. Definitely will make this again!

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