Sourdough Discard Apple Cake

Sometimes I’ll make a recipe and think, this REALLY needs to go on my website ASAP. I made this Apple Cake for book club last month and I couldn’t stop eating it. I knew it needed a permanent place on my site, so here it is: Sourdough Discard Apple Cake – a delicious spiced cake filled with a whole lot of freshly chopped apples. The apples bake and melt into the cake, resulting in little chunks of soft apple in every bite. This apple cake is just delicious and the perfect bridge from summertime weather to the cooler fall days.

Adding Sourdough Discard to Apple Cake

If you know me, you know I love throwing sourdough discard into almost anything–less waste and the health benefits of sourdough. Yes please! In order to not have an overpowering sourdough flavor, which I don’t like in sweet apple cake, I use sourdough discard that is no more than a day or two old. Sometimes I’ll even use bubbly, fresh sourdough starter. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, you can use refrigerated discard from up to a week or two old.

For more favorite sourdough discard recipes, check out these favorites: The Best Zucchini Bread with Sourdough Discard, Brown Butter Sourdough Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Sourdough Blueberry Crumb Cake and so many more!

Fresh Apple Chunks

To peel or not to peel? That is often the question I ask myself when working with fruit that has a skin on it (I ask the same question when making this perfect peach cobbler). Truthfully, I have made this recipe many times with the apple skins on, and I don’t notice them at all. If you are super sensitive to apple skins, it may be worth it to peel your apples. I do peel apples when I make apple pie, but I don’t think this fresh apple cake needs it. Just grab an apple, cut off the sides and cut them into chunks. If you do want to peel your apples, grab yourself one of these apple peelers/corers. It makes the job SO much easier. I’ve had one for over 3 years and it’s still going strong–I won’t go back! It also makes quick work for dried apples, which we love this time of year.

Lining the Pan for Apple Cake

This apple cake works perfectly for a 9 by 13 pan. I always bake cakes in metal pans instead of glass because they tend to turn out more consistently. If you want easier clean up, do yourself a favor and make a parchment sling (I didn’t do that as you can see in the photos, though it was okay thanks to my favorite non-stick pan and a little cooking spray). The sourdough discard apple cake itself is light and not too thick, which makes this pan a good size to bake in.

Ingredients Listed by Weight instead of Cups

I’ve listed all the ingredients for this sourdough apple cake in grams. I grew up using cups, Tablespoons and teaspoons but have found over the years that they are not as accurate when it comes to baking. With that said, I still go back to my roots and find myself pulling out the cups to measure things by weight (ha!). I try to list both in my recipes to help those who are just starting out baking with sourdough make the transition. And definitely a kitchen scale is a game changer. Grab one if you haven’t already!

Mix together the Sourdough Apple Cake Batter

Put your bowl on a kitchen scale and tare the scale (set it to zero). Add the sourdough discard, sugar, eggs, applesauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Mix together until completely combined. In a small bowl whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add right on top of the wet ingredients and gently mix to combine until just a few streaks of flour remain. Pour in the chopped apples, mix together and then spread into the prepared pan.

Baking and Serving Sourdough Discard Apple Cake

Bake this cake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. The apples will get all tender and soft. The cake will be moist and baked through. Remove the pan from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. I like to whip up some fresh whipped cream. Add some heavy cream to a bowl. Sprinkle on a teaspoon or so of granulated sugar and whip until light and fluffy. Cut a slice of apple cake and top with a dollop of fresh whipped cream. Enjoy!

Looking for More Favorite Fall Recipes?

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of apples should I use for apple cake?

We picked honey crisp apples to use in this apple cake. Any tart/sweet apple will work well for this recipe. I would also use granny smith or pink ladies.

I keep sourdough discard in my refrigerator. Can I use it in this recipe?

You can. I prefer to use fresh discard that hasn’t been sitting in the refrigerator longer than a day or two. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, you can use it up to two weeks from your refrigerator.

How do I store leftover sourdough discard apple cake?

I store this at room temperature for the first 24 hours in an airtight container or ziplock bag. After 24 hours I stick any leftovers in my freezer. When you’re ready to eat a slice of apple cake again, thaw back to room temperature and enjoy!

Can this recipe be cut in half?

Yes. You can cut this recipe in half and bake it in an 8 by 8 pan. I do prefer to cut it by a quarter for a little thicker apple cake, but cutting it in half will work too.

Sourdough Apple Cake

Sourdough Discard Apple Cake

Sourdough discard apple cake is a sweet, spiced cake filled with fresh apples and enhanced with sourdough discard. We love to serve this apple cake warm with a dollop of whipped cream. Absolutely delicious!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Dessert
Cuisine American, German
Servings 12 servings


  • 450 grams chopped apples about 4 cups
  • 245 grams sourdough discard, 100% hydration see recipe notes
  • 220 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs about 100 grams
  • 65 grams applesauce
  • 55 grams vegetable oil or other neutral flavored oil
  • 8 grams vanilla extract about 1 teaspoon
  • 115 grams all purpose flour
  • 10 grams ground cinnamon about 2 teaspoons
  • 8 grams baking soda about 1 teaspoon
  • 6 grams salt about 1 teaspoon


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 by 13 metal pan with cooking spray or a parchment sling.
  • Chop apples and set aside. Apples can be peeled or skins left on, whatever you prefer. We like honey crisp or granny smith apples in this recipe.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix together sourdough discard, sugar, eggs, applesauce, vegetable oil and vanilla extract until completely combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients on top of the wet ingredients and gently combine until a few streaks of flour are left with most of the mixture combined. Add the chopped apples to the batter and mix until combined.
  • Pour the apple cake mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Let the apple cake cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving warm. We love eating this cake warm with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. It is also delicious at room temperature.


Sourdough Discard: In order to avoid a stronger sourdough flavor, use sourdough discard that is no more than a day or two old. You can use fresh, bubbly sourdough starter if you want. If you don’t mind a more pronounced sourdough flavor, you can use refrigerated discard from up to a week or two old. 
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Recipe Rating


  1. I made this for our anniversary, so baked in two 6″ rounds, stacked them, with dulce de leche on top of each and drizzling down the sides, with toasted walnuts on top. Delicious!

  2. Very yummy! I didn’t do well with measuring because I don’t have a scale, but it still turned out so delicious. I also didn’t have applesauce so I used mashed banana mixed with water, and I added walnuts. Will definitely make again!

  3. This came together so easily and was a great way to use up extra apples hanging around. The cake itself had a beautiful texture and was not too sweet. This will definitely go into the rotation for using up my discard!

  4. I am newer to measuring ingredients by weight. I used measuring spoons to add the low volume ingredients to my bowl on the scale, zeroing in between. I found that the weight volumes were much higher than the measured amounts. (Eg, I had already put in 1 tsp of baking soda and I was still several grams off) Is there a trick to using my scale for smaller ingredients? Should I not weigh in a bowl that already has a large volume of ingredients in it? Thanks in advance for any advice!

    1. Some scales are better than others with the lower weight ingredients. I tend to add my flour first and then add the baking powder or soda on top without tare-ing the scale – just add a few grams onto whatever the flour says. Or I use the tablespoon and teaspoon measurements.

  5. 5 stars
    This turned out excellent! I reduced ingredients to 3/4 and baked in an 8×8 pan, it was the perfect thickness. I peeled too many apples so it ended up with 4 cups instead of 3. But can you ever have too many apples? I topped it with cream cheese frosting, this cake is not overly sweet so this complemented it perfectly. Next time I think I’ll try adding some raisins and pecans, just because I love them, not because it needs them. Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I will definitely be making again!