Caramel Apple Cake
This stunning fall cake starts with an apple and cinnamon spiced cake, then is layered with salted caramel frosting, spiced apples and even more salted caramel sauce.
This cake is a delicious celebration of apples, cinnamon and caramel!
What could possibly be more perfect for fall?
This recipe was created in partnership with Sprouts Farmers Market.
Each element of this gorgeous cake is delicious on its own… apple spice cake, YUM… salted caramel frosting, double YUM… cinnamon spiced apples, YES PLEASE… more caramel sauce, OH MY!
When you combine each of these delicious elements you have a stunning fall cake that is sure to be the hit of any fall party or holiday celebration!
This recipe really celebrates fresh fall apples!
I picked up the perfect Granny Smith Apples for this cake on my weekly trip to my local Sprouts Farmers Market.
I can always depend on Sprouts to carry a large variety of fresh produce to keep my family healthy and well fed all through the year!
Sprouts has created a super helpful chart, along with descriptions to help you know which apples to choose for baking, snacking and more!
You’ll find that helpful Apple Chart on Sprouts.com
After I stocked up on plenty of apples for this recipe, as well as extras for snacking on all week, I was able to grab all of my favorite Sprouts brand baking staples to complete this recipe.
Even more delicious fall recipes…
If you’re ready to really dive into fall baking here are some of my most popular fall recipes.
Pumpkin Salted Caramel Cake – It’s like the Pumpkin version of the Caramel Apple Cake in this post!
Apple Cinnamon Bread – Love apples and cinnamon? This loaf cake is so good and will make your kitchen smell AMAZING!
Pumpkin Cheesecake – Classic, perfect… delicious!
Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookies – A delicious fall twist for decorated cookies!
Caramel Apple Cake Recipe
This cake is sure to be the star of any fall celebration!
Caramel Apple Cake
Yield: 1 (three layer) 8" cake, 12-14 servings
Apple and cinnamon spiced cake is layered with salted caramel frosting, spiced apple filling and a caramel drizzle.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3/4 teaspoons salt (such as good quality sea salt)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large (or 4 medium) tart, firm apples (such as Granny Smith)
- 3 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. salt
Apple Cinnamon Cake
- 3 cups flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (or 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup oil (vegetable, canola or light olive oil)
- 1/4 cup sour cream (regular, full fat)
- 1 cup whole milk (or 2%, but avoid lower fat)
- 1 1/2 cups Spiced Apples (from recipe above)
Salted Caramel Frosting
- 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 4 oz. (1/2 block) cream cheese
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce (cooled, from recipe above)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Make the Caramel Sauce -
- Warm the heavy cream in a bowl in the microwave and then set aside.
- In a large saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir gently to incorporate the ingredients.
- Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring gently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is bubbling.
- Stop stirring and allow the mixture to boil undisturbed until it begins to darken in color. You want the mixture to reach a honey color, but no darker. The syrup will change from light in color to dark very quickly, so it's important to watch closely and remove the pan from the heat as soon as it's light-medium honey color.
- Once removed from heat, carefully and slowly pour in the warm heavy cream (the mixture will hiss and bubble). Stir to full incorporate the cream.
- Add butter and salt and stir to combine. Add vanilla.
- Allow sauce to cool a bit, then pour into a jar. Continue to cool, until ready to use.
Prepare the Spiced Apples -
- Peel apples and dice into small pieces (about 1/2 inch cubes).
- Add apples, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt into a skillet and cook over medium-high heat.
- Cook 3-5 minutes, or until the apples begin to soften, but still have some texture. Remove from heat and set aside.
Bake the cake-
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Prepare three 8" cake pans by lightly greasing the sides of the pans and then dusting with flour, then line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Whisk, then set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. While mixing, slowly add sugar and continue to beat until the butter and sugar are well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy. Don't skimp on the mixing at this stage.
- While mixing, add the eggs one at a time, blending at least 10-20 seconds between each additional egg. Mixing well to incorporate some air is important in this step.
- Add vanilla and oil, and blend well to combine.
- Add sour cream and blend.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low, and pour in about half of the milk, then half of the flour mixture. Repeat with milk and flour. Blend just until all ingredients are well combined. Stop mixer and scrap down the sides of the bowl, and stir (just a couple times) by hand just to make sure all ingredients are well blended.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of the cooked spiced apples (from recipe above) to the bowl and use a large spatula to fold the apples into the batter. Stir just until evenly combined. (Reserve the remaining spiced apples for when the baked cake is being assembled)
- Divided batter evenly into prepared pans.
- Bake in preheated 350°F. oven for 22-28 minutes, or until the cake has a slight dome and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no wet batter.
- Cool cakes in pans for 5-10 minutes, then carefully remove and continue cooling on a wire cooling rack (leave the parchment on the bottoms at this point). Once cakes are mostly cool, wrap well in plastic wrap and place cakes in the freezer. This will help keep them moist as they fully cool, and will make them easy to handle (stack and frost) when you're assembling the cake.
Make the Salted Caramel Frosting -
- Cut cold butter into a few large pieces and then, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.
- Add cream cheese and blend until fully combined and smooth.
- Add about half of the powdered sugar, then while the mixer is running, pour in the caramel sauce. The caramel sauce should be no warmer than room temperature. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Continue blending and add the remaining powdered sugar, vanilla and salt.
The frosting should be thick, creamy and fluffy. If by chance your kitchen is very warm, or the caramel sauce was too warm when you added it, place the bowl of frosting in the fridge to firm up, then beat once more before use.
Assemble the cake -
- Level and split cake layers as desired.
- For easy assembly, add the frosting to a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip. This is optional.
- Begin with a layer of cake on the plate or cake stand of your choice. Add a layer of frosting by piping a large spiral, then spread as needed with an offset spatula. Alternatively, scoop a large dollop of frosting onto the cake layer, and spread as needed with an offset spatula.
- Add some of the spiced apples, using a spatula to press into the frosting just a bit.
- Add a drizzle of caramel sauce on top of the frosting.
- Repeat layers of cake, then frosting, apples, and caramel drizzle.
- On top of the cake, add a generous topping of apples.
Prepare ahead - This cake has several components, but the work can be broken up over 2 days. Feel free to bake the cake and make the caramel sauce a day in advance. Wrap the cake well (in plastic wrap, and/or a large ziplock bag, and keep in the freezer. Keep the caramel sauce covered in the fridge. If the caramel sauce is made ahead you will need to warm it just a bit in the microwave so it's pour-able.
Cake sizes - The cake pictured is a 8"" cake. I baked three 8" pans of cake. If you'd like to make slightly different sized cake, you will likely need to adjust the baking time.
Caramel Sauce - With the recipe listed, you will have leftover caramel sauce. This is a good thing! Store remaining sauce in a jar in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Microwave as needed to enjoy on ice cream, as an dip for fresh apples, or with or any dessert.
Recipe source - Glorious Treats
Happy fall baking!
Disclosure – I created this recipe in partnership with Sprouts Farmers Market. Partnering with brands I love allows me to provide you with high quality content at no cost to you. I only work with brands I use and love. All images, text and opinions are my own.