This recipe for sticky caramel apple cake is packed with spicy apples and topped with a decadent caramel glaze!
Why we love this recipe
Hi there, fellow apple lovers, and welcome to the rich, tender, sweet apple cake of my dreams!
This is what I like to call a knife and fork cake, meaning (unless you are the Southern husband) you will want to eat this with the nearest possible utensil, because it is gooey and rich and sticky in all the best ways.
And how does this wonderfulness happen? Because while the cake is cooling, you make an easy breezy caramel glaze out of butter and sugar and cream.
Before you pour the glaze over the cake, you take a skewer or a toothpick and you poke holes all over the top of the cake, so that when you pour the glaze over it, not only does it coat the top of the cake, but it also sinks down into the middle of the cake via all those little holes.
I KNOW. Sweetly tender fruit desserts…they can give chocolate a run for their money!
So grab those apples and let’s make this baby!
Ingredients you need
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Apples: We love Granny Smith apples for this recipe because they are firm and tart and work really well with all the sweet ingredients, but if you have another favorite apple, it will be just fine.
- Cream: Make sure you use heavy cream for the caramel sauce – you need that depth and thickness to make the caramel sauce all it needs to be.
- Oil: We like canola oil for this recipe, but vegetable oil works too.
- Spices: Those spices trying to sneak out of the picture up there are cinnamon and nutmeg, which are so important for that lovely fall flavor we are after.
How to make this recipe
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 350 and butter and flour a 13×9 inch baking pan.
STEP 2: In a large mixing bowl, beat together 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of white sugar and a cup and a half canola oil. Beat in three eggs one at a time.
STEP 3: In a separate bowl, whisk together 3 cups of flour, with a teaspoon of baking soda, 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, a half teaspoon of nutmeg and a half teaspoon of salt.
Pro Tip: Mixing dry ingredients with a whisk (instead of a spoon) ensures that everything gets mixed up thoroughly. No whisk? A fork works well too!
STEP 4: Mix the flour mixture into the sugar mixture.
STEP 5: Stir in the apples, nuts (oh, and if you want or need to, you can leave the nuts out) and vanilla.
STEP 6: Spoon into the prepared pan. It’s going to look like a whole lot of apples and not enough batter, but I promise it’s going to be fine!
STEP 7: Bake for one hour or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool while you prepare the glaze.
STEP 8: Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a small pot over medium low heat. Add 1/4 cup each of brown and white sugar along with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and stir for two minutes.
STEP 9: Turn the heat up to medium high, pour in the cream and simmer for 2 more minutes (it’s going to bubble up dramatically at the end – that’s what it’s supposed to do so don’t worry!).
STEP 10: Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer or a toothpick and pour the glaze over the top.
You’re going to want to give this an hour or so to cool (I know! So hard!) before you serve it up.
Technically yes, but I like to go for firm, tart apples like Granny Smiths to balance out the sweetness of the caramel.
Yep! If you make it the day before, I recommend storing it in the fridge and then letting it come to room temperature before you serve it.
You can! Or you can swap them out for a different nut that you like better (hello, pecans!)
You can…heat it up in the microwave so that it is as liquid as possible before pouring it over the cake.
Pop your question in the comments section below and I will answer pronto!
Want to round out your dessert?
Well OBVIOUSLY this cake would be even more scrumptious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top.
And a cup of red wine hot chocolate on the side? Yes please!
Other apple recipes we love
Looking for even more cake inspiration? You can find our complete collection of cake recipes here.
If you try this recipe, we would love to hear how it came out for you! I’d be super grateful if you could leave a star rating (you pick how many stars! 🌟 ) and your thoughts in the Comments section.