Apple cake is one of the best parts of autumn and apple picking season – and there is one easy way to make it even better. Adding caramel to the layers of this cake ensures every bite tastes like a candied apple, a perfect counterpoint to this cake’s fluffy crumb texture.
Caramel Apple Cake
This layered, caramel apple cake recipe is a seasonal showstopper – elegant and not too complicated for a cake made from scratch.
A delicious twist on a classic apple cake, this distinctive dessert earns its name from the layers of thick frosting, dripping unapologetically with caramel.
Whether you dress this cake up or down with garnishes, every bite is reminiscent of apple season and all the goodness that goes along with it.
What Are the Best Apples for this Layered Cake?
For this cake a combination of tart or sweet-tart apples are nice and balances out the sweetness of the caramel.
A combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady tastes great here, and both varieties are easy to find.
Use medium or large apples, they take less time to peel and grate than smaller apples.
- This apple cake will keep under a cake dome for 2 days or in a container, in the fridge, for 4 days.
- When making the frosting, if it’s too thick, add a tablespoon of milk to thin it out. If it’s too thick, add 1/2 cup of confectioners’ sugar.
- You can easily exchange the Greek yogurt for sour cream if you prefer.
- While using lower fat options for the dairy in this recipe will lessen the calories, it does change the overall richness taste of the cake.
- Adding caramel to each layer of the cake is optional, but obviously tastes amazing.
- Make sure to use unsweetened applesauce, as the sweetened version makes the cake too sweet.
- You can bake the cake ahead of time and wrap each separately in saran wrap and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw for several hours on the counter before trying to frost.
MORE APPLE RECIPES TO LOVE
Let these delicious apple recipes get you through the season!
- Apple Crisp with Pie Filling
- Apple Spice Bars
- Butterscotch Apple Crisp
- Upside Down Apple Pie
- Apple Butterscotch Cake
- Apple Chimichanga
- Caramel Apple Crumble
- Baked Apples
- Apple Pie French Toast Casserole
- German Apple Cake
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Caramel Apple Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1-1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1-1/2 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt (full fat), room temperature
- 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- 2 tsp maple extract
- 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
- 1 cup grated apples
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1-1/4 cups dark brown sugar (packed)
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp maple extract
- 5 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 cup purchased or homemade caramel sauce
- extra sea salt
- apple slices (optional garnish)
- walnuts (optional garnish)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three (8") cake pans. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, apple pie spice and salt. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy; about 3-4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating each until smooth and incorporated. Mix in yogurt, applesauce and maple extract. Continue beating until fully combined.
- Alternate adding flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour (3 additions of flour and 2 of milk). Make sure to fully combine after each addition, but do not overmix.
- Gently, fold in shredded apples.
- Distribute batter evenly between the three cake pans. Bake on the middle rack of the oven until cakes bounce back in the center when pressed, about 30 minutes.
- Let cool in pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, heat butter over medium heat until melted. Whisk in heavy cream, brown sugar and salt. Bring just to a boil, whisking often. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl, and set aside to let cool slightly (10 minutes). Add maple extract.
- Gradually add the confectioners' sugar while beating with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
- Mix for 2-3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, ensuring all confectioners' sugar has been incorporated. Add milk to thin the frosting or add more confectioners' sugar to thicken if necessary.
Frosting the Cake:
- Make sure cake layers are level and not domed on top. Remove any cake dome with a large knife by slicing right across the top of the cake.
- On a cake stand, spread a small spoonful of frosting in the center to help secure your cake and place one cake layer on top of it.
- Using about 2/3 cup of frosting, top the first layer, pushing the frosting out to the edges. Spoon 1/4 cup caramel sauce on top of the first layer, spreading evenly, then sprinkle sea salt on top. Repeat with the second layer.
- With the top layer, frost with remaining frosting, drizzling the caramel on top and sprinkling with sea salt.
- Garnish with sliced and apples and walnuts if you choose.
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