If you are looking for a delicious Fall Dessert for the upcoming season, look no further. My Caramel Apple Cake is perfect. It’s a super moist spice cake filled with chunks of juicy apples, toasty pecans, and did I mention a caramel glaze? It is amazing!
What’s so special about this Caramel Apple Cake?
This yummy fresh apple cake is incredibly simple, and perfectly moist! You can totally make it year around, but it is a long time tradition in my family that this cake is made during the Fall months and especially at the holidays.
This cake is a super moist tender cake that lends it’s flavor profile to a mild spice cake that has chunks of juicy apples, toasty pecans, and the most amazing caramel glaze over the top.
This cake is so special to me as it is a recipe we all referred to as “Nannie’s Apple Cake”. My mom and her four sisters call it that because it was a recipe my their grandmother, my great grandmother, made for years and years.
As she got older the baking of the apple cake torch was passed onto my mother who has provided it for every Christmas gathering with her family for years. It is something many of her sisters look forward to each season.
Now she has passed that yearly honor over to me and for the past two years I’ve brought this famous apple cake to Christmas. I will admit I do feel a little pressure to get it just right. Who want’s to be the one to mess up the famous family favorite, right?
I think I’ve made it enough now to master it, so with her permission I’m excited to share our family’s favorite apple cake recipe with you here on the blog. But I couldn’t do that without adding a little of myself into the cake first.
Just because I like to go big when I bake, I am throwing in a yummy caramel glaze recipe that gets drizzled over the top making this Carmel Apple Cake the most heavenly thing you can image!
What is the best kind of apples to use in this Caramel Apple Cake?
With apples being the star in this Caramel Apple cake it is important to choose the most delicious type of apples to use. Can you use any apples you have on hand?
Yes, you can totally use any kind of apple you may have laying around the house, but if you are looking for the perfect variety of apple to bake with, you’re in luck. I’m going to share my top 3 choices of apples that work perfect in this fresh apple cake.
You may wonder why it matters about the variety of apple, and the answer to that is simple. Each variety of apple has it’s own characteristic that will determine if it is a good choice to bake with or not. Some of the characteristics of a good baking apple will be: a combo of tart and sweet, a little acidic, crisp, and most import juicy.
Things to avoid when picking up apples for baking are a mushy texture, mealy or overripe fruits, too tart, and under ripe fruit. These are all things that will hinder the success of your recipe whether it be this cake or a pie.
Here are my top two picks for this cake:
Fuji: Not only are these some of my favorites to eat raw, I love using them in my favorite baked desserts. The Fuji apple is sweet, juicy and firm with a pretty red skin. I love their texture too. They are so crisp when used in their prime, making them perfect for this apple cake, pies, and desserts like my Individual Apple Crumbles. Fuji apples usually ripen later in the season, usually around November and December so perfect for all your fall desserts.
- Pink Ladies: These pretty in pink apples are really good in this cake too. They, like the Fuji, are excellent for baking anything from breads and pie to cake. They hold their shape nicely and still have a good texture even after baking for longer periods of time. I like these apples because they have a really nice balance of sweetness and acidity that gives them a nice bite of flavor raw or baked. I’d say this is my all time favorite apple! They are also harvested in late fall.
With all that being said, I’ll mention it again that this cake is a great way to use up any apples you have on your counter that need to go. Just to speak to this, my mom said that she has always just used the Red Delicious Apples. It was the only one she ever bought.
I think the apple varieties have grown greatly since times times when my Nannie was first making this cake because I’m sure she also used whatever she could get at that time.
How to make a easy Caramel Sauce for this Apple Cake.
The cake part of this recipe is pretty straight forward and easy to follow. So instead of going through those steps again in this post I thought I will talk a little more about making my simple caramel glaze.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- dark brown sugar
- heavy whipping cream
- pure vanilla extract
Once you have these four ingredients in a saucepan turn the heat onto medium and slowing everything down. You’ll need to bring this glaze to a rolling boil and let it boil for one minute to make it work.
This is going to require you to stay at the stove the entire time, whisking constantly. This sauce will be easy to burn so stay with it as you don’t want to risk wasting ingredients or having to start over.
When the caramel has reached the boiling point carefully whisk or stir it for one whole minute then remove it from the heat carefully and continue to stir it for another 2 minutes. Be very careful as the caramel sauce will be scolding hot.
After you’ve hit the 2 minute mark, pour the caramel sauce into something with a easy pour spout and let it cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.
This will allow for the caramel glaze to cool and thicken so it slowly drizzles down the sides of the cake as you pour. If the glaze is still hot, it run off onto the serving platter in a pool and not stick to the cake.
This sauce will set up as it cools completely and becomes slightly crunchy giving it the perfect texture, adding additional sweetness to this fresh apple cake.
Are there any tips or tricks for making this Caramel Apple Cake perfect every time?
This Caramel Apple Cake is one of those recipe that would be pretty hard to mess up, so if you are new to baking this would be one that you could totally do and look like a rock star. But just for some extra help here are my top tips and tricks for making this wonderful cake.
- Choosing the Cooking Oil: You can use vegetable oil in this recipe if you choose to as my family always has, but I make mine now with coconut oil. I make sure to use refined coconut oil, so it won’t add coconut flavor. I just like using this oil these days. It works great for me.
- Nuts: to me the pecans totally make this cake but if you or someone you will be serving this to has a nut allergy it will be totally fine to leave them out of the recipe entirely. I’ve also used walnuts in this cake when I didn’t have pecans and they were perfect also.
- Choice of Baking Pan: we have always used a Bundt Pan when baking our apple cakes. In fact I’m using an old one that my mom passed down to me like 14 years ago and it still works great. If you use this type of pan it is crucial that you grease it extremely well and even flour it some to avoid the Caramel Apple Cake from sticking. Pro tip: the less corners and crazy shapes your Bundt Pan has the more likely it will come out easier. Also if you want to bake this in a glass baking sheet you will need at least a 9×13 to hold all the batter and the cooking time will be much less than with a Bundt Pan.
- Cooling is Important: Let your cake cool in the pan at least 30 minutes before trying to turn it out of the pan and let it cool completely before you top it with the caramel glaze.
- Making the Glaze: Do not make your caramel glaze too far in advance because it will set up too thick to pour easily. I suggest making it about 20 minutes before you are ready to glaze your cake.
- Storing the cake: I like to cover the apple cake with a plastic cake cover and leave it out on the counter. You can also wrap it tight and store it in the refrigerator. You can even slice up the cake and freeze it for later.
That’s it folks, nothing left to do now except run into the kitchen and make you one of these Caramel Apple Cakes. You will love it!
A moist spice cake filled with fresh apples and all the flavors of Fall. This delicious Apple Cakes gets taken to a new level with homemade Caramel Glaze.
For the Apple Cake
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups of sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of oil
- 3 cups of All Purpose Flour
- 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 3 cups of chopped apples
- 1 cups of chopped pecans
- pinch of salt
For the Caramel Glaze
- 1 cup of dark brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla
- Peel and chopped up enough apples to make 3 cups. This will equal about 4 medium size apples. Sit them aside and mix the cake better.
- In a large mixing bowl add in the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and mix on medium to combine.
- Next slowly add in the three cups of flour by adding one cup at the time and mixing it in before adding another cup.
- Once all the flour is in mixing bowl the batter will be really thick. This is how it is supposed to be. It is not a pourable batter. It is almost as thick as cookie batter.
- Add in the chopped apples and pecans and slow mix until they are all combined.
- After you have your Apple Cake batter mixed add it evenly into the Bundt Pan that has been greased and floured well.
- Place the cake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees and back for one hour. Test with a tooth pick at the one hour make to make sure it comes out clean. If additional time is needed bake for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the over and let it cool in the pan on a wire baking rack for at least 30 minutes before trying to release the cake from the pan. Cool completely before glazing the cake.
- To make the Caramel Glaze add all of the ingredients into a sauce pan and turn heat on medium high. Bring the mixture slowly to a boil stirring the whole time.
- When the caramel starts to boil stir it for one whole minute before removing it from the heat and stirring for another 2 minutes.
- Remove the caramel glaze and pour it into a heat safe bowl and let it cool for 15-20 minutes so it thickens. Pour it over the cooled apple cake.
Notes: Do not make the caramel glaze too far in advance as it will set up to much. Make sure to grease and flour the making pan really well if using a Bundt Pan to avoid sticking. Also if the batter is to thick to mix completely which might happen if you choose to do coconut oil add in about a 1/2 cup of water if needed to loose it enough to get all the ingredients mixed well.
I am a southern girl through and through that loves to laugh, cook, read and spend time with family. My passions outside of home schooling my son are ministering to those in need and creating art in the kitchen! Every day is an adventure in our little house and I wouldn’t trade it or the chance to share here with you for anything!