Red Hot Cinnamon Apple Cake


Welcome to February!  February is for lovers, and I’m so happy it’s finally here!

Valentine’s Day is a big deal around these parts, and I’ve got loads of cute desserts for two to share with you this year.  First up:  this spicy cinnamon apple cake.  I made a cinnamon cake in a 6″ round cake pan, sliced it in half, and spread it with cinnamon buttercream.  I left the edges of the cake bare, but you can frost the edges if you wish.  Then, I cooked apple slices in a mixture of cinnamon red hots and sugar.  (Here’s a link to the exact candy I used for my overseas friends: Cinnamon Imperials).  The apple slices that I did not eat straight out of the skillet, made it on the cake.  They were the lucky ones.


I can’t resist these bright red candied apple slices.

Over the holidays, my husband’s Grandma served us a ham casserole with a big bowl of these apples.  Since dessert on the dinner table is my favorite thing ever, I had no fewer than 3 servings.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a meal that reminded me so much of being a kid.  Doesn’t Grandma always cook slightly naughty recipes?  Only Grandmas serve candy as a side dish at dinnertime.  Moms serve steamed broccoli.  And I think we all feel the same way about that.

Candy for dinner + dessert = the good life.


If you’re a veteran dessert for two baker, all we’re doing here is making my recipe for mini lemon layer cake minus the lemon.  I substituted cinnamon (obviously).  The buttercream recipe is brand spankin’ new (because I love you).

If you’re a new mini dessert baker, look for a 6″ round cake pan at a hobby store, a specialty cookware store, or Amazon (I linked to mine).  I bought mine at Hobby Lobby, but I just saw a similar pan at Sur La Table.  My pan is only 2″ deep; I do not recommend the super deep ones.  Those are meant for the top layer of wedding cakes.  I’m sure it would bake up fine in it, but I just haven’t tested it.

Red-Hot-Cinnamon-Cake-2 001b

Will you be my Valentine?

Red Hot Cinnamon Apple Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
yield: 1 6" cake to serve two
Serves: 2
For the cinnamon cake:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup buttermilk
For the apples:
  • 2 small apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup red hot candies
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
For the cinnamon buttercream:
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and grease a 6” round cake pan.
  2. First, make the cake: In a medium bowl, beat together with an electric mixer the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat very well, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the egg and beat until well combined, about 15 seconds.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add half of this to the wet batter and beat lightly.
  5. Stir in half of the buttermilk and continue beating. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat, then stir in the last of the buttermilk.
  6. Scrap the batter into the pan, smooth the top with a spatula, and bake for 35-39 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean (moist crumbs are okay).
  7. Let cool on a wire rack in the pan. Carefully remove the cake from the pan once it has cooled and set aside.
  8. Meanwhile, cook the sliced apples with the red hot candies, sugar and water in a small saucepan. Cook, stirring often over medium heat until the apples collapse and are cooked entirely, about 15 minutes. The apples will no longer be crunchy. Strain the apples mixture, reserving the syrup mixture for another use (cocktails, anyone?)
  9. Next, make the frosting: beat together butter and shortening until well combined. Stir in the powdered sugar and cinnamon slowly. If needed, add the milk to bring it all together.
  10. Slice the cooled cake in half, and spread half of the buttercream on the bottom half. Lay the other cake half on top, and spread with the remaining buttercream. Top the cake with the strained apple slices, and serve.



  1. says

    Your cake looks fantastic, I love 6 inch cakes. I’m a co-host for Sweet ad Savoury Sundays and would love for you to stop by my blog and link up some of your recipes. I found your blog via pinterest and I’m now following you!

    • says

      Hi Christine–you mean like Big Red the soda? While that sounds absolutely delicious, I can tell you it doesn’t taste like Big Red. Big Red has a bubblegum flavor to me, not cinnamon. I could be wrong, though, it’s been ages since I’ve had it. You should definitely make a Big Red cake and blog about it :)

  2. Joanne weber says

    The apple cake looks absolutely fabulous! Do you think the sugar could be substituted with honey? Thanks for your delicious recipes!

    • says

      No, Joanne. I would not substitute. Baking is a science, and if you switch in ingredients with different viscosities and sugar levels, the cake will sink and fail. Honey is 1.5x sweeter than sugar. Not to mention that sugar is considered a liquid in baking, and honey is ‘wetter.’ You’re definitely welcome to try it, but I did not test the recipe with honey, so I cannot guarantee your results.

  3. Penny says

    Help!! I’ve just made the base of this lovely cake – twice!! I thought I must’ve done something wrong the first time as the cake only seemed as deep as one of your layers – and that’s before it was sliced in half. So I did it exactly the same second time around, but it’s still the same. I was very careful – especially the second time – not to over-beat the air out of it. My two layers together look as deep as your two halves.

    I haven’t tested it yet, other than a few crumbs from the tin once turned out because this is supposed to be for the weekend. The crumbs taste great!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks and all best wishes,


    • Penny says

      Sorry … that should read ”My two layers together look as deep as ONE OF your two halves”.

      End result : I decided to go with another recipe for this weekend. The cake itself – think as it may be – tastes absolutely delicious as I took it into work today, cut into 2” squares and declared it ”Friday snacking cake”. Everyone loved it and by late afternoon there were only a few crumbs left on the plate.

      But I would still love to know what you think may have gone wrong!!

      All best,


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