Apples / Cake / Dessert

Brown Butter Apple Cake Bars

Apples in cake? Groundbreaking! Not but really these brown butter apple cake bars are actually VERY GOOD! And surprise, there’s brown butter involved. It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t sneak in some brown butter somewhere. It’s really my only personality trait. 

So these cake bars are a cross between a cake and kind of a blondie. They’re a little chewy, but also have a light ad super moist crumb. So delicious and so easy to make! 

This cake batter is very thick and luscious. It starts off with creaming brown butter and sugar together. Vanilla eggs and flour. A bit of baking powder and salt. That’s it. Thin slices of tart apple spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg are added to the center of the cake. It’s not a super apple forward cake, but it has just the right amount in the center for that bite and bit of spice, since the cake itself does not contain any spice. The powdered sugar on top is totally necessary!

Ingredients in Brown Butter apple Cake bars

  1. Brown butter 
  2. Sugar
  3. Vanilla
  4. Eggs
  5. Flour, baking powder & salt


  1. Thinly sliced tart apples
  2. Cinnamon
  3. Nutmeg 
  4. Sugar 

I like to bake this cake in a brownie pan. I usually slice it into 9 large squares but you can slice it into 12 mini squares as well. Aside from being super easy and delicious, you can substitute apples for pears with this recipe which would also be DELICIOUS! 


Brown Butter Apple Cake Bars

These Brown Butter Apple Cake Bars have the best texture and just the right amount of filling and spice for that perfect bite.
Course Cake, Dessert
Keyword apples
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 9
Author Leona G.


  • 8 inch square pan
  • Offset Spatula
  • Stand mixer or handheld mixer


  • cups flour
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs room temp

Apple Filling

  • 2 cups thinly sliced tart apples peeled
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp sugar


  • In a small saucepan, melt your butter on low-medium. Once the butter turns golden brown, remove from the heat and transfer to a heatproof bowl. Add in 2 tbs of water and stir. Pop it in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes until the butter is soft but not melted. Give it a good every 2 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 425. Combine your dry ingredients, except the sugar snd set aside. Add your slice apples to a brown with sliced and mix. Set aside. 
  • Cream the browned butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 2-3 minutes. Add in the vanilla and eggs and continue mixing for another 2 minutes. Next add in your flour mixture and mix until there are no dry pockets left. The batter will be thick. 
  • Add half the batter to lightly greased 8 inch square pan and add your apple filling evenly. Top with the remaining batter. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes and then reduce the temp to 350 and finish baking for 35-40 minutes, until the center is set. Allow the cake to cool before slicing. Top with powdered sugar (optional) and enjoy.


  • This cake batter is pretty thick. I use an offset spatula to spread it into a greased nonstick pan. I’d you’re using parchment paper to line your pan, you may want to use clean hands to spread the batter evenly, as the batter will slide on the parchment paper due to its thickness.
  • You can use any apple you’d like as long as it’s crisp. In my opinion, tart works best for this cake, so aim for a Granny Smith if you can.
  • When browning butter, I sometimes add water back in since it gets lost during the browning process. Stir it in thoroughly once it’s removed from the heat.

More recipes to try…

Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Brown Butter Icing

Overnight Focaccia Bread

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