Caramel Apple Cake is a layered cake made with Granny Smith apples, drizzled with caramel sauce, and frosted with cinnamon buttercream. It is the perfect Fall dessert. Check out Dwight’s Caramel Apple Pie for another favorite dessert.
Caramel Apple Cake
There is nothing quite as magical and comforting as Fall baking. The changing colors of the leaves usually mean we can utilize those familiar flavors of cinnamon and apples! And this Caramel Apple Cake does exactly that! And, of course, I couldn’t leave out caramel! I mean, is there anything better than caramel apples?
Apples: I love a good Granny Smith apple because it holds its shape and texture better than other varieties. The tart apple is the perfect complement to the sweet caramel and cinnamon. You can certainly try other kinds of apples, but the texture of the cake may change.
Caramel: If you don’t have caramel on hand, make your own homemade caramel to soak into the cake. Be sure to have enough to also serve with each slice of cake.
Buttercream: The cinnamon buttercream frosting is a perfect pairing for the flavors in the apple cake. Be sure the cake has cooled to room temperature before frosting.
When is the Cake Done Baking?
It is important to not overbake this cake. I start checking it at 25 minutes with a toothpick. If the inserted toothpick is removed with a few crumbs, the cake is perfect! If it is removed cleanly then the cake is too done and will be dry. And no one wants a dry cake! But… we add some caramel directly to the top of the layers of this cake so if it is a tad overbaked you may be able to hide it when the caramel soaks into the layers.
How to Store Caramel Apple Cake
After the cake has been baked and assembled, it is best served immediately. However, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days.
Caramel Apple Cake
- ⅔ cup (135 g) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks / 226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups (375 g) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup (245 g) whole milk, room temperature
- 2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- ¼ cup (½ stick / 57 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup (125 g) confectioners' sugar
- 1 -2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- caramel, for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray or line each with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until smooth and creamy (1-2 minutes). Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until incorporated.
- Add vanilla extract. Once incorporated remove bowl from mixer.
- In a bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder. Then, stir it into the creamed butter mixture by hand. Mix milk into batter until smooth.
- You should have about 6 cups of batter. Pour 1½ cups of the batter (or ¼ of your total batter) into one of the prepared cake pans. Then, add ¼ of the apples and ¼ of the brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat the apple mixture into the batter. Gently pour another 1½ cups of batter over the apple layer. Top with another ¼ of the apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apples into the batter.
- Repeat this layering with the remaining batter and brown sugar and apple mixture in the second cake pan.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out mostly clean. (Do NOT overbake!) The cake is done when the edges are golden brown and the cake has just slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan.
- Let the cakes cool before assembling and adding the cinnamon buttercream.
- Add butter, vanilla, cinnamon, confectioners' sugar, and 1 tablespoon of heavy cream to stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. (You can also use a handheld mixer.)
- With the mixer on low, incorporate all ingredients. If the frosting seems too thick, add the remaining heavy cream. Turn the mixer on high and mix for 1-2 minutes, or until the buttercream is lighter and fluffier. (You want the frosting to be a spreadable consistency.)
- Place the first layer of cake on a cake stand. Drizzle with up to 3 tablespoons of caramel. (Allow to soak in, about 1-2 minutes.)
- Cover with all of the cinnamon frosting (about a cup). This is a naked cake so feel free to push the frosting all the way to the edge so that it is visible when you place the next layer on top.
- Place the other layer of cake on top and drizzle with more caramel. Allow caramel to spill over the sides if you would like. Serve the cake immediately with extra caramel for each slice.
- Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.
Did you make this recipe?
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