Published: 10/12/2023Updated: 10/23/2023
Fall isn’t just for pies! These 30+ fall cake ideas feature all your favorite flavors of the season—from pumpkin cake and glazed apple Bundt cake to snickerdoodle cake and easy spice cake. Whether you prefer simple one-layer cakes or love to go all out with layered masterpieces, this list features delicious fall cake recipes for bakers of all skill levels.
Favorite Fall Cake Recipe Ideas
The fall season is here, and for many of us that means: bring on the baking! While I love this time of year for baking endless Thanksgiving pies (I have a Sally’s Pie Week celebration every year!), fall baking has so much more to offer beyond the pie dish.
Below you’ll find 30+ fall cake ideas, with links to the cake recipes that readers enjoy most this time of year. My team and I put this list together, and include many different cake varieties like sheet cakes, layer cakes, breakfast cakes, and more!
Maybe the thought of decorating a cake sends you running for the hills, or you simply don’t have the time. I get it! This easy apple cake has quickly become a favorite. You can make it in a 9×13-inch baking pan, and it requires minimal (if any!) decorating.
Or bust out your 9×5-inch loaf pan for marble loaf cake or carrot cake loaf. Easy to slice and serve!
Cake for breakfast? Let’s do it. This pumpkin coffee cake is wonderfully moist and absolutely packed with pumpkin spice flavors. Not a fan of pumpkin? Classic coffee cake will still give you all the fall feels, with its warm cinnamon and vanilla flavors.
Make a Smaller 6-inch Cake
Did you know that almost any cupcake recipe that yields between 12 and 15 cupcakes converts perfectly to a 3-layer 6-inch cake? That’s almost all of my cupcake recipes. If you need a smaller cake for an intimate gathering—or even if you just want to practice with your cake baking and decorating tools—consider a 6-inch cake. My recipes for apple spice cupcakes and pumpkin cupcakes are two favorites this time of year. Follow these instructions for making 6-inch cakes.
Question: What fall flavors do you most look forward to?
30+ Fall Cake Recipes
Fall Cake Recipe: Cranberry Apple Upside Down Cake
And I have one more for you! A beautiful addition to your fall spread, this simple cranberry apple upside-down cake is full of bright flavors. Inspired by my pineapple upside down cake recipe, this version is complete with a buttery brown sugar glaze, tart cranberries, sweet apples, and a moist cinnamon spice cake. It’s like my apple upside down cake, but with a little extra pizazz!
The topping is baked right into the cake. No stacking, assembling, or fancy decorating required. Simply invert the cake from your 9-inch pie dish onto a cake stand or serving platter, and watch each slice magically disappear. Delicious!
A beautiful addition to your fall spread, this simple cranberry apple upside down cake is full of flavor, featuring a brown sugar-butter glaze, tart cranberries, sweet apples, and an extra moist spice cake.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- Prepare topping first: Combine butter and brown sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until butter has melted. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute as mixture thickens. Remove from heat and whisk in the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour into an ungreased 9-inch pie dish or round cake pan. (Make sure the pan is 2 inches deep. I recommend this pie dish, which is 1.8 inches deep but I never have an overflow issue.) Arrange the apple slices neatly on top, overlapping where necessary, and place the cranberries in the center and anywhere there’s space. See photo above. Place pan in the refrigerator for a few minutes as you prepare the cake batter. This helps solidify or “set” the topping’s arrangement.
- Make the cake batter: Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt together. Set aside.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add both sugars and beat on high speed until creamed together, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. On high speed, beat in the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer to low speed and as the mixer runs, slowly pour in the milk. Beat on low speed just until all of the ingredients are combined. Do not over-mix. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
- Remove topping from the refrigerator. Pour and spread cake batter evenly over topping.
- Bake for 40–46 minutes, tenting foil on top of the cake halfway through bake time to prevent the top from over-browning before the center has a chance to fully cook. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean—a couple moist crumbs are OK. Don’t be alarmed if your cake takes longer or if the cake rises up and sticks to the foil. (We serve the cake upside down anyway!)
- Remove cake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for just 15 minutes. Invert the slightly cooled cake onto a cake stand or serving plate. Some of the juices from the topping will seep over the sides—that’s ok. You can slice and serve the cake warm, but the slices will be messy. I find it’s best to cool the cake completely at room temperature before slicing and serving. Do not refrigerate the cake to speed up the cooling process because it could end up tasting overly dense.
- Cover leftover slices and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer. Thaw at room temperature. I don’t recommend freezing the cake as a whole because the topping arrangement doesn’t thaw very nicely. See make-ahead instructions below.
- Make Ahead Instructions: You can refrigerate the topping in step 2 for up to 1 day. If refrigerating for longer than 1 hour, cover it tightly. Other than that, this isn’t the best cake to make ahead of time or freeze because the topping will settle down into the cake—while still tasty, the presentation won’t be as pleasing. You can, however, prepare the cake batter’s wet ingredients (cover and refrigerate) and dry ingredients (cover at room temperature) separately up to 1 day ahead of time, then continue with the recipe the next day. Let the wet ingredients come to room temperature before mixing.
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Saucepan | Whisk | 9-inch Pie Dish | Glass Mixing Bowl | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Cooling Rack
- Apples: Use your favorite variety of apple. I typically use Granny Smith, Fuji, or Honeycrisp. Here’s more on the best apples to use for baking.
- Milk: Whole milk is best, but you can use lower fat or nondairy milk if needed.
- Why is everything at room temperature? All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read more about the importance of room temperature ingredients.
Keywords: cranberry apple upside down cake