Caramel Apple Cake

filed under: Cakes on November 13, 2015

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!

Naked Cake: Caramel Apple Cake

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?!?

Naked Cake


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!)

Apple Cake Recipe

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. 😉

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

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.


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

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!

Homemade Apple Pie

Apple Pie Cupcakes

Oatmeal Caramel Apple Bars

French Apple Cranberry Pie

Caramel Apple Cinnamon Cake

Caramel Apple Pie Toffee Bars

Chocolate Cinnamon Apple Roses (so beautiful!)

4.72 from 7 votes
Caramel Apple Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins

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!

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cake
Servings: 8 slices
Author: Amanda Rettke
Apple Cake
  • cup (135g) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cups (300g) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 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
Cinnamon Buttercream
  • ¼ cup (57g) unsalted butter room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup (125g) confectioners' sugar
  • 1 -2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • caramel, for drizzling
Apple Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans with either baking spray or line with parchment.
  2. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl. Set aside.

  3. 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.

  4. Add vanilla extract. Once incorporated remove bowl from mixer.
  5. Sift flour and baking powder together in a bowl then stir into creamed butter mixture by hand. Mix milk into batter until smooth.
  6. 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.
  7. Repeat this with remaining batter and brown sugar/apple mixture in other cake pan.
  8. 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)

  9. When ready to assemble cake prepare Cinnamon Buttercream.
Cinnamon Buttercream
  1. 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.) 
  2. 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.)

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Assembling Cake:

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.

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  • Lani says:

    I didn’t have enough batter for two pans. Batter was super thick. I did three layers instead.
    . It’s in the oven now.

    • Pam says:

      Me too, its in the oven now, hoping for the best! Lol

  • Tia Marie says:

    This recipe looks too good to pass up!
    Questions: Would this hold up well prepared a few hours ahead of time?
    What kind of apples do you use?
    There are so many varieties and they all taste so different to me, but I don’t know which would taste best with this recipe.
    Thank you!

  • Jan says:

    Yes, batter is thick and it appears to take longer to bake than 40 minutes. In oven now. Smells great!

  • Nicky Smith says:

    I made this cake for my church party last week and it was a hit. Everybody said how good it tasted. Notice i said everybody…. by the time i got to the cake it was gone so i didn’t taste it myself.

    • Amanda says:

      Bummed you didn’t get to taste it… glad that you are now the talk of the town!! I bet everyone is going to want your recipe… or to have you bake one for them! 🙂 <3

  • Lisa says:

    Made this cake and it was delish!! Only thing, it took almost an hour to cook. But well worth the testing every five minutes. Not only did it taste good, it was beautiful as well.

  • Dieselle says:

    The recipe says there is a total of 6 cups of batter divided between two 8-inch round pans, are the layers very thin?

  • Beth says:

    Could you bake this in a 9 x 13 pan? About how long do you think it would take?

    • Kathleen Gellart says:

      I was wondering the same thing. I’d like to bring it to a church supper and it would be easier to transport in a 9×13 pan. Amanda, what do you think??

      • Amanda says:

        You can definitely try but I have never made it in a 9×13 so can’t speak to it’s effectiveness.

  • Paula says:

    Could this be frozen ahead of time?

  • Rita says:

    Can’t wait to try this apple cake recipe. Sounds delish. Because I haven’t made it yet, only giving 4 stars.

  • savannagal says:

    Would be super helpful if the image of the cake printed along with the recipe. Thanks.

  • Judy says:

    There appears to be a word missing in the recipe….it says, “Place the other layer of cake on top and drizzle with of caramel.”(It’s in the recipe notes)

    • Amanda says:

      Whoops! Should just be “…drizzle with caramel.”

  • Liz Tosti says:

    WOW! My family I hit tonight’s dessert out of the park! I love salted caramel and had some leftover from another recipe so I used it to finish the cake before serving. Loved the dense texture of the cake. Frosting is my weakness and this cinnamon buttercream did not disappoint. I will be making this again.

    • Amanda says:

      So glad to hear it Liz!!

  • harriet says:

    how do I get this rscipe?

  • angie says:

    Has anyone tried to make cupcakes with this batter?

  • Mary Lou says:

    I’m planning to make this for my bunco group. If I make it and wait until serving to add store bought Carmel (ice cream topping) will it be ok?

    • Amanda says:

      That sounds just fine Mary. 🙂

  • Mande B. says:

    Can a glutten free flour be substituted? If so what are some recommendations?

  • Marilyn Crabe says:

    Can I freeze this cake before frosting it?

  • Sam says:

    Can I make this in a 13×9 pan for a crowd?

  • Qurat says:

    One of the best most moist cakes my daughter (7) and I have ever made although we had to cook it for 15 minutes longer and even though I had the caramel and icing ready we completely skipped using it as it was sweet enough…lovely cake- almost like and apple crumble version of a cake.

  • Sharon Kellogg says:

    I have looked and looked and cannot find recipe for the caramel to go on the homemade caramel cake . Please tell me how to make it or where the recipe is

  • Joy trahan says:

    What about the recipe for the caramel sauce

  • Debra says:

    I made this cake today! It is very moist and buttery. Tonight, it felt more like a breakfast cake and went down fabulously with a cup of hot tea. I will make it again with a variation on the amount of apple. Mine were small. So, I don’t think I used enough. Overall, yummy!

  • Pam says:

    I want to post my finishef product! How do i put another pic up?


    Thank you,for your knowledge sharing.. GOD BLESS YOU MORE

  • Suzanne Weir says:

    Looks yummy

  • I Am Baker Logo

    Brand new recipes that people find kinda acceptable.