There is nothing quite as magical and comforting as fall baking. The changing colors of the leaves usually means we can utilizing those familiar flavors of cinnamon and apples! And this Caramel Apple Cake does exactly that!
Caramel Apple Cake
This Caramel Apple Cake is a wonderful way to enjoy the beauty and essence of fall! It’s best served on a slightly chilly night surrounded by family. Although I didn’t include it with this recipe, we will often make our own Homemade Caramel to drizzle over the layers. Is there anything better than caramel with apples?!?
I say it every year, but fall is definitely my favorite season. I remember the long drives up to Bemidji, MN to visit family. I remember the trees along the way… mostly the birch. There is nothing as beautiful as a birch tree with its bright yellow leaves.
The very best part of that scenic drive was most definitely the moment I would step foot in grandma’s house. Grandma would be in the kitchen with an apron on; she would wipe her hands on her sides as she rushed towards us, extending her arms for a big hug. I would lean into the hug and she would immediately pull back, press both of her hands to my cheeks and go in for a kiss. (which of course was totally gross as a little kid but now I love it and do it to my own kids!)
We would all make our way back to the kitchen and sit around talking and watching Grandma prepare the meal.
I can remember the smell; there was always something cinnamon in the oven. Grandma instilled a love of baking in me and I am forever grateful to her for that! I also love the fact that we both use McCormick spices and have for the last 60 years! Well, only about 20 years for me. 😉
Apple Cake Recipe
Apples are an important part of this recipe! I love a good Granny Smith because it holds its shape and texture better than other varieties. The tart apple is the perfect compliment to the sweet caramel and cinnamon. You can certainly try other kinds of apples, but the texture of the cake may change.
It is important to not over bake 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 overbaker you may be able to hide it when the caramel soaks into the layers.
- 2/3 cup (135g) brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups (300g) granulated white sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups (375g) all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup (245g) whole milk room temperature
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled and finely chopped
- 1/4 cup (57g) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup (125G) confectioners sugar
- 1 -2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Carmel for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with either baking spray or line with parchment.
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar together in a bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment 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.
- Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl then stir into creamed butter mixture by hand. Mix milk into batter until smooth.
- You should have about 6 cups of batter. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the batter (or 1/4 of your total batter) into one of the prepared cake pans; add 1/4 of the apples and 1/4 of the brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apple mixture into batter. Gently pour another 1 1/2 cups of batter over apple layer; top with another 1/4 of the apples and brown sugar mixture. Lightly pat apples into batter.
- Repeat this with remaining batter and brown sugar/apple mixture in other cake pan.
Bake in the preheated 350°F oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out MOSTLY clean, 25 to 35 minutes. (Do NOT overbake! Cake is done when the edges are golden brown and the cake has just slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan)
- When ready to assemble cake prepare Cinnamon Buttercream.
- Add butter, vanilla, cinnamon, confectioners sugar and 1 tablespoon in heavy cream to stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. (You can also use a hand held mixer.)
- Turn mixer on slow to incorporate all ingredients. If frosting seems too thick add remaining heavy cream. Turn mixer on high and mix for 1-2 minutes or until frosting is lighter and fluffier. (You want frosting to be a spreadable consistency.)
Place the first layer of cake on cake stand. Drizzle with up to 3 tablespoons of caramel. (Allow to soak in, about 1-2 minutes)
Cover with all of your cinnamon frosting. (Should be about 1 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 caramel. Allow caramel to spill over the sides if you would like. Cake should be served immediately. Serve extra caramel with each slice.
Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days.
Recipe adapted from my Grandma. <3 We absolutely love this Caramel Apple Cake and hope it’s a new tradition in your home too!
Looking for more Apple Pie treats? Try these!
Chocolate Cinnamon Apple Roses (so beautiful!)