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.

Naked Cake: Caramel Apple Cake

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?

Naked Cake

Ingredients

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.

Apple Cake Recipe

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.

Caramel Apple Cake! My secret method is what makes this cake amazing!

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! My secret method is what makes this cake amazing!
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4.72 from 7 votes

Caramel Apple Cake

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
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.

Ingredients

Apple Cake

  • cup (135 g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks / 226 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 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

Cinnamon Buttercream

  • 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

Instructions

Apple Cake

  • 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.

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.)

Assembly

  • 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.

Notes

 
 

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Meet Amanda Rettke

Amanda Rettke is the creator of I Am Baker, and the bestselling author of Surprise Inside Cakes: Amazing Cakes for Every Occasion – With a Little Something Extra Inside.Over the course of her 15+ year blogging adventure, she has been featured in and collaborated with the Food Network, New York Times, LA Times, Country Living Magazine, People Magazine, Epicurious, Brides, Romantic Homes, life:beautiful, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Mail, Star Tribune, The Globe and Mail, DailyCandy, YumSugar, The Knot, The Kitchn, and Parade, to name a few.

Reader Comments

  1. I have made this cake more than once. It is AWESOME.I get asked for it time and again. Sometimes, old fashioned is just the way to go.

  2. Hello, this Apple cake recipe looks delicious and amazing, Iam definitely making it..
    I will check other recipes in your blog!!😀👏
    Thnx
    Chef Pia🌹

  3. I don’t believe this recipe to be correct. The recipe claims it will make about 6 cups of batter. That is is a joke. The batter is so thick and sticky, it reminded me of pizza dough. The batter would not spread in the cake pan. So I added a little more milk and still just too thick. So I added a third egg and almost another cup of milk. I also did not hand stir but used my mixer to help incorporate everything due to the fact the batter was so thick and sticky. I think I probably had somewhere between 3.5-4 cups of batter after my additions. We’ll see how it turns out. There was also no way the original recipe batter would bake in 35 minutes or less. That’s a joke. I’m checking mine at 35 minutes and will go up in increments of 5 minutes. I don’t think this cake in the picture was actually made using the recipe posted above. There’s no way. It’s disappointing when you’re looking forward to making a pretty simple cake and it ends up taking way longer to actually putt together because you have to keep adding things.

    ***Be warned that the recipe posted is not correct and you can find it on Food Network website and it’s the exact same recipe so its probably an inaccurate recipe. I feel like something is missing***

    1. Sorry you feel that way and didn’t have success. I wrote the recipe for Food Network, as I am a contributor there. It went through extensive testing here in my kitchen and in theirs.

      1. I lowered the flour and added coconut flour. I also added Splenda sugar so my husband could have it wit sugar free carmel topping.
        The brown sugar again was swerve
        It was this but with a little imagination and a little longer it turned out great for a Labor Day gathering with a smokehouse meat theme neighborhood party. Thank you

  4. Please give the recipe for the caramel sauce for the caramel apple cake recipe. I would love to make it

  5. I checked on my cake at 30 minutes and it was already done, nearing overdone. I followed the reviewers who said it would take longer than 35 or 40, and wish I had just followed the recipe. If I had checked it at 25 min, it would have been way better.

  6. I made this today and followed directions carefully. Had a hard time getting it evenly done. Both layers had a spot on them that were underbaked but the rest was becoming close to overbaked so I took them out.

  7. My cake is currently in the oven but I’ve never seen a batter like this. Turned out very sticky and I followed all the instructions to the T. I could barely spread the batter at all.. hopefully it bakes properly.

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