Vanilla Apple Sheet Cake with Pecan Streusel
It’s apple everything season and I am so pumped about this vanilla apple sheet cake with pecan streusel! Maybe it is because I LOVE vanilla sheet cakes, maybe it’s because I love the smell and taste of baked apples… or because it is so dang easy and so cozy? I guess it’s all of the above but I have to admit I am super into one-bowl and quick and easy cakes these days.
The quickest and easiest apple sheet cake
Having 2 little girls around the house now (one of them turning one year old in just three week – say what??) really makes baking recipes with too many steps or dirty dishes more challenging. Who can relate? This vanilla apple sheet cake is so straight forward: Mix the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, mix, done! Just make sure not to overmix once you combined the flour with the wet ingredients, it will overwork the gluten and make the cake dense and tough.
How to make the best vanilla apple sheet cake
There are a few things that set this vanilla apple sheet cake with pecan streusel apart:
It’s all about the vanilla
I highly recommend using real vanilla beans here, vanilla extract just doesn’t compare. I understand not everyone has vanilla beans at hand and if you have to substitute with vanilla extract, it is certainly possible – just won’t taste quite the same!
What apples are best for this apple sheet cake?
Everyone has a different preference for the kind of apples they use in apple cake recipes. I prefer golden delicious apples not just because they are my favorite apple but they have a tart sweetness and are not too sweet and not too sour.
Super easy vanilla sheet cake
This recipe by the Kitchn is my go to recipe when I make vanilla sheet cakes, or just want a quick and easy one-bowl vanilla cake. I usually tweak it a little but, however I see fit and depending on the recipe I am making.
About those pecan streusel…
They really set this cake apart, don’t skip! However, you can substitute the pecans for hazelnuts (yum!) or walnuts.
FOR THE CAKE
- 3 cups cake or all-purpose flour
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4 large eggs
- 1.5 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup milk
- 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 apples
FOR THE STREUSEL
- 1 stick butter, soft at room temperature
- 1 cup pecan meal
- 1/5 cup sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.
- Chop the apples and set aside.
- Make the streusel by kneading all 3 ingredients together, set aside.
- Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder), then add the remaining ingredients (eggs, butter, milk, vanilla) and mix with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until mostly smooth, about 1 minute.
- Spread the diced apples over the cake, then crumble the pecan streusel on top.
- Bake until lightly browned for about 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
You can swap the pecans for walnut or hazelnuts if you’d like! The cake keeps well on the counter for about 2 days, then needs to be stored in the fridge. It is best when served within the first 1-2 days.
Keywords: vanilla sheet cake, apple sheet cake, streusel sheet cake, vanilla apple cake, easy sheet cake, pecan streusel