Rum-Raisin Apple Butter & Easy Apple Butter Coffee Cake


Apple butter in autumn is an Appalachian tradition. Historically, it’s a day-long event. Whole families would join together to simmer apple butter in copper kettles as big as wash tubs. This tradition is largely lost, but you can still find communities coming together over apple butter. The little church in town is making apple butter this weekend, the old-time way, in a copper kettle, and it’ll take all day. But you can make it at home and it’s just as good–minus the copper kettle ambience. I love apple butter. Apple butter is one of the traditions my father brought with him when he left these hills long ago after World War II. I grew up on apple butter and yes, sometimes I thought it was odd. None of my friends had apple butter at their house. But we did. I still love apple butter today, so it’s been fun to learn how to make it. I learned straight from the feet of Georgia, so I figure mine’s as traditional as it gets without getting out a copper kettle, though of course I couldn’t resist playing around with the recipe a bit.

First, you gotta get some apples and I got mine the old-fashioned way, off the apple tree behind the old farmhouse. First, you gotta shake the tree.

I would tell you how many apples hit me on the head, but that would be embarrassing.

For each batch per this recipe, you’ll need about four pounds (maybe 16 medium) apples (or more if your apples are small, like the ones off the old apple tree).

Cut, peel (if you must, see note), and core them. Place in a large pot; bring to a boil and simmer until soft but not liquified. Puree using a food processor or food mill.

Note: I don’t peel them. I just cut, core, and cook. I use a food mill, and by the time the apples go through the food mill, the peel is pretty well strained out. (It’s so much easier not to peel!)

What you want to end up with is two quarts of apple pulp (per recipe batch).

Don’t know how to can? Learn how here.

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How to make Apple Butter:

2 quarts apple pulp
4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Combine apple pulp, sugar, and spices in a large pot. Simmer slowly until mixture thickens and rounds up on a spoon. (May take a couple of hours.) Stir frequently. Ladle hot butter into jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Put on lids and bands. Process in a hot water bath for ten minutes. For me, this makes about five and a half jars (half-pint size). You can double, triple, etc, the recipe to make as much as you want. Your house will smell great while it’s cooking!

And oh my, this is good. Yet I had to play with the recipe anyway. What’s good with apples? Raisins! How about a little rum? And I made the best apple butter in the history of apple butter. Don’t ask me for my research to back up this claim. I have none. I just know.

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How to make Rum-Raisin Apple Butter:

Per the 2-quarts apple butter in the above recipe, add 1 cup raisins when combining the apple and spices in the pot to begin simmering. Toward the end of the simmering time, as the mixture is thickening, add 1/2 cup rum. (Don’t add the rum earlier as you don’t want all the good rum flavor to boil away!) Simmer a little while longer until mixture is thick and ready for canning, and can as per the previous instructions.

Spread it on some toasted Grandmother Bread and it’s just outrageous.

And then, as if this isn’t enough goodness, I made coffee cake. With apple butter. YUM. This recipe is similar to biscuit twists, except instead of separating the dough into twists, you bake it all together and slice it. And it’s so easy!!

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How to make Easy Apple Butter Coffee Cake:
3 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup butter
2 cups Quick Mix or other baking mix
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup milk
approximately 3/4 of one jam-sized (half-pint) jar of apple butter (or any jam of choice)

Cut cream cheese and butter into baking mix plus the one tablespoon of added sugar using a pastry cutter. (If you don’t want this to be as sweet, leave the extra sugar out. Depends on your sweet tooth!) Add milk. Mixture may seem a little dry; knead with your hands to work in remaining dry ingredients and form a soft ball. (If your mixture is too wet, add a little more flour, but it should be just right now.) Roll out on floured waxed paper, sprinkling flour on top, too, into an approximately 12×8 rectangle. Transfer dough to a greased cookie sheet. Make two and a half inch cuts all along the long sides. Spread most of a half-pint jar of apple butter down the center. Criss-cross cut strips of dough over the top and pinch ends to seal. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 25 minutes or till nicely browned on top. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing.

Powdered Sugar Icing:
Combine 1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, and enough milk (one to two teaspoons) for drizzling consistency.

Who wants some apple butter coffee cake?

See these recipes at Farm Bell Recipes and save them to your recipe box:
Apple Butter
Rum-Raisin Apple Butter
Easy Apple Butter Coffee Cake

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  1. LatigoLiz says:

    Uh oh! Another recipe I need to stash away and another preserving recipe to try! We’re probably going to pick our apples this weekend.

  2. TeresaH says:

    oh yummy! I love good homemade apple butter. I’ve never tried it with raisins, I bet that is good too. And the coffee cake…mmmmm….. :hungry:

  3. jan 'n tn says:

    We got all the apples off our tree last week. I’ve put up about half in jars for later use. :shimmy: The rest have been hibernating in the spare frig(got tired of peeling). Now I have the answer for the last two bushels, Suzannes’ Rum-raisin Apple Butter will soon be slathering my biscuits :hungry: YUMMY. Thank you

  4. Patty says:

    Oh wow the memories that just brought back to mind. Makin’ apple butter with the big kettle and the long wooden stirring stick … and makin’ molasses – another all day family event. I still remember licking the molasses off the sugar cane sticks as a kid. And the smell of the apple butter in the pot,.. oh it was so good. I don’t know which I like better on hot biscuits!

  5. Carolyn A. says:

    May I have a slice with my tea this morning, please? Or two or three? I am so bad! xxoo

  6. jane says:

    Thank you- have been waiting for these recipes. I went to the hardware store yesterday to get new lids for my jars. Wal-mart only carries canning supplies in the spring and summer and they had NONE – I was so mad. is it that way up there too. what are they thinking. I cant wait to try this.

  7. Tresha says:

    OK, this does it…Suzanne make room because I am moving in. who cares if you don’t know me….you won’t even know I am there…I will be outside all the time. I am pretty neat…sorta….I am driving around today to find me an apple tree to steal apples from! you think I am kidding don’t you?!! ha.. Do apple trees grow fast? if I planted a pretty mature one this fall how long would it take to make fruit?

    coffee cake: when you criss cross the strips across the top..its not completely covered and sealed right? there are still openings on top right? I am trying to grasp this…I want to make it today….OH our fair is in town….I should make some of your funnel cake today instead of paying 8.00 a plate for it…besides…I made yours SO EASY and DELICIOUS

    Tresh in Oklahoma

  8. wkf says:

    Good Morning! Those apple pictures are so pretty! They make me smile. I liked the one from the other day alot!

  9. Becky says:

    My neighbors back in WV used to make it with the copper kettle. I loved to hang around and enjoy the aroma!

  10. Blaze says:

    I absolutely LOVE apple butter on fresh made buiscuts that is just TASTEY!

    And now I’m hungry.

  11. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Tresha, I’ve never planted an apple tree, so I don’t know, but I’m planning to grow some, hopefully starting next year! Yes, pinch the ends to seal, but the top is just criss-crossed. It looks really pretty and the apple butter won’t ooze all over the place so you don’t have to worry about that.

    Jane, a good place to get canning supplies is a hardware store! Check out your local hardware stores to find which ones carry canning supplies (most of them do).

  12. Shari C says:

    Me me! I would love some Apple Butter Coffee Cake…it sounds wonderful and the photos look absolutely mouth-watering. Another recipe for my box. Can’t wait to try it!

  13. Kayis says:

    I WANT APPLE BUTTER COFFEE CAKE!!! C’est ci bon!!!


  14. mim says:

    Gonna make this for my Dad this weekend…. I can try a “little” piece and give him the rest… He needs to gain weight not me…. :heart:

  15. Sarita says:

    I made apple butter a few days ago and truly, the house smelled incredible. I’m going to give the cake recipe a try, thanks for sharing it. It looks wonderfully fast and simple–and yummy!

    Great post.

  16. angiecmt says:

    Yum Yum – I haven’t had apple butter in a while. Looks great ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Lisa says:

    Suzanne, I’m glad you added the comment about Coco wanting you to milk her next! It’s so appropriate! I’ll have to put some pictures of some of the Pyrs I’ve had on my site for you to see. Pyrs are such awesome dogs, whether they be farm dog or house dog.

  18. Suzette says:

    I LOVE apple butter…but have never made it. I’ll probably not get the time to do it this year…but some day!

    I WILL try the coffecake. But, you know what? I’m going to make a thinned burnt sugar cake icing to drizzle over it. That will be heavenly!

  19. BethAnn says:

    Good Morning Suzanne!

    Can I freeze this recipe for apple butter like I do my homemade strawberry jam and my applesauce?? Inquiring minds want to know.

    I enjoy checking your site each morning with my cup of tea!

  20. Cheryl in Sunny Cal (Calhoun Co.) says:

    My mom and dad make apple butter once a year in the old copper kettle that used to be my grandfathers. They wait until the weather starts cooling down so that you can stand to be next to the fire to stir. What wonderful memories! She always puts a couple bags of those little red cinnamon candies in it to give it it a nice red tinge. Apple butter time is just around the corner :hungry: Fall is the perfect season! :thumbsup:

  21. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Suzette, it would be great with burnt sugar icing!!! That’s a good idea!!

    BethAnn, yes, you can freeze it, just like with jams!

    Lisa, we LOVE Coco!!!

  22. Twigs says:

    My family has always raised apples here in the heart of apple country in WA state…and apple butter always had a spot on our table too. Now my son raises 50 acres of fruit…cherries, pears, peaches, apricots, nectarines, apples and a huge garden for his fruitstand. All organic. ๐Ÿ™‚

    One suggestion for apple cooking novices. I always cook my apples up like Suzanne with the peels on…they quickly are separated with the food mill, but make sure you cut out the stem end and blossom end. Those are the two areas where sprays (if they aren’t organic) might be lurking. It is easy enough to wash the rest of the apple clean, but those two spots are hard to get at.

    That’s the basic way I make apple sauce too, but I make it a bit thinner by using a little more water for cooking…add some cinammon and sugar and you are good to go.

    I was thinking of canning peaches this weekend and I suppose some apple butter isn’t far behind.

  23. Cheryl in Sunny Cal (Calhoun Co.) says:

    We love coco at our house also……have you ever made your own with powdered milk, powdered coffee creamer and Nesquik?

  24. Jill S. says:

    I gain weight just looking at your pics. I LOVE me some apple butter.

  25. Abiga/karen says:

    :thumbsup: Good Morning! Another superb recipe to try except I will have to leave out the rum. I just never liked the weird taste of it and I like mostly everything. Blessings.

  26. MARY says:

    ๐Ÿ˜† YUM!!!!!! Cake, please!!! I can almost smell the apple butter cooking from here! Have a great weekend, all! :treehugger:

  27. Carole @ Fowl Visions says:

    How about sharing with your readers? Do a contest and the winner gets a jar of your apple butter :thumbsup: .

    Everything looks so yummy I just gained five lbs. I’m due for WW next week.

  28. Robin G. says:

    I actually have about sixty million apples right now. That looks awfully good.

  29. Treasure says:


    Have you thought of selling your Apple Butter Coffee Cake? If it tastes half as good as it looks you could be rich by next month.


  30. catslady says:

    I always had this weirdness that I didn’t like lumpy (tapioca, cottage cheese etc) foods or grainy and I’m afraid applesauce and apple butter fit that category. Then there’s foods like sour cream that just sounded bad (I love it now lol). But the biggest thing was probably because it wasn’t something my mom ever made or cooked with. One of these days I’m going to have to try it.

  31. jodie says:

    I’m from Texas and I grew up eating store bought apple butter. I’ve discovered other fruit butters now too. I’m currently working on a pint of peach butter from Fredricksburg TX. It’s yummy and probably as close to making it as I’ll get.

  32. cgReno says:

    My daughter and i made applebutter for Christmas gifts, packaged with homemade scone mix and instruction. We did it two years in a row and quit, thinking, OK, been done.
    The response was, what? no Christmas breakfast? Now, its what we do, and our baskets number about 20. And now its a little boring for us, Christmas morning i love to think of our friends eating scones and applebuttter from us!

  33. Belladonna says:

    OHHH, that Coco!!! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Little stinky!!!! She wants to see what all that milking is about! LOL :mrgreen: She tickles me to death! I love her! :mrgreen:

    We grew up with apple butter! I think my other family members were more crazy about it than me..I was VERY finicky and hated everything, growing up. I like EVERYTHING NOW, well, pretty much. LOL My mother in law makes that filling and serves it at meals…I call it pie filling, but it is WONDERFUL.

    Your recipes look scrumptous as usual and I LOVE rum, in ice cream, cakes, ect.!! In chocolate… :mrgreen:

    I would LOVE to pick fresh fruit/veggies..even that sounds so fun…..and you make it so funny, talking about the apples falling on your head! Ha! :fryingpan:

  34. Brandy says:

    I have homemade apple butter stocked in my pantry, but I didn’t make it my MIL did! And you’re right, it’s something we grew up with in both my and my hubs home grwoing up.

  35. Susan C says:

    I love apple butter! There is nothing better!

  36. anne says:

    ๐Ÿ™‚ How yummy! I’m going to make some to
    give to my friends! Very fall like ! Maybe some
    Grandmother bread to go with. Suzanne, your Grandmother recipe bread is a winner !
    Anne from PA

  37. Estella says:

    I use basically the same recipe for apple butter as you do. I cheat and cook it down in the oven, tho.

  38. Claudia W. says:

    MMMM… looks like a good breakfast food!

  39. sunnid755 says:

    My son cooks his apple butter (and pumpkin butter..yummy) in the crock pot. I can almost smell and taste yours through the screen!

  40. Donna says:

    and I forgot to add, up there…that I bet homemade apple butter is MUCH better than the commercial…all we ever had was commercial, I THINK – I am not positive…I think my sister loved it best.

  41. Sheila says:

    I love apple butter. I made it for the first time this summer with a recipe I found for Caramel Apple Butter. It is so delicious! My kids would rather have apple butter than jelly on their toast.

  42. Gizmo says:

    Do NOT feed the peels (or apples) to Clover!!! It will dry up her milk. She can have the leaves/branches, just not the fruit.

    I can’t wait to give this a try too.

  43. Diane says:

    I love making applebutter in the crock pot. Fill it full with peeled apples and add 2 cups of water or apple juice. one jar of cinn. oil and add sugar and cloves. Set it on low and go to bed…. next day stir it and go to work….and when you get back the whole house smells great…. then can it in the little jars… people will love you…oh yea don’t tell anyone you are making it or they will “visit” you and some of it will come up missing….Roane,WV is my home too…

  44. Tracy says:

    I just made the Rum-Raisin Apple Butter and it is OUTSTANDING! I added a little bit of salt (1/2 tsp) and substituted one cup of brown sugar for one of the white and it is soooo good. Thank you for this recipe, I’ll be making it again and again.

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