Apples and caramel are a match made in heaven and this easy caramel apple cake is proof! It’s so delicious and packed with apple flavor! I make this apple cake recipe with a caramel cake batter using my Homemade Caramel Sauce recipe and diced, sweet apples. It’s also topped with my Homemade Apple Butter, more caramel and whipped cream! Every bite of this fall dessert is bursting with incredible flavor!
Apple Cake Video Tutorial
Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions! Want to receive new recipe emails in your inbox? Make sure to subscribe to my website and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications!
Ingredients for Caramel Apple Cake
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:
- Apples: I recommend using crispy and hard apples that will bake well. I like to use Granny Smith apples.
- Cornstarch: this ingredient is important as it thickens the apples as they bake.
- Buttermilk: adding buttermilk or soured milk makes the cake extra soft and more moist.
- Dulce de Leche: this thick caramel is actually cooked, sweetened condensed milk. You can also use a thick caramel sauce.
- Heavy Cream: make sure to use well chilled heavy cream for making the whipped cream frosting.
- Apple Butter: for topping the caramel apple cake. Add the apple butter once the cake is baked. You can use store-bought apple butter or make a batch my Homemade Apple Butter, recipe linked below.
- Caramel Sauce: add a drizzle of caramel sauce as a topping!
How to Make a Caramel Apple Cake
You’ll love easy this caramel apple cake is to make!
- It’s starts with an amazing caramel cake batter. For this recipe, I’m using my Homemade Caramel Sauce recipe. This sauce is so easy to make and always a hit! You can also use store-bought caramel sauce or even canned dulce de leche for this recipe.
- Simply combine all the wet ingredients and sugar in a large bowl: eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, sugar and caramel. Whisk them together for a few minutes until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter and stir until well incorporated.
- Once you have the caramel cake batter ready, it’s time for the apples! I recommend using a firm variety of apples for this apple cake for best results. I love Granny Smith apples for baking! Dice the apples into small, pea-sized pieces; the skin be left on or peeled. Toss the apples with a bit of cornstarch and ground cinnamon. The cinnamon will add lots of flavor to the cake and the cornstarch will help thicken the apple juices as the apples bake!
- Fold about two-thirds of the apples into the cake batter and sprinkle the rest on top. Now, the cake is ready for the oven!
- Transfer the cake batter into an 8-inch spring form pan and then top the cake with the remaining apples. Bake in the preheated oven at 350F/177C for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Do not frost the cake while it’s warm!
Why is My Apple Cake Dark?
If you check out the edges of my caramel apple cake, you’ll notice the edges look nicely caramelized. And that’s because we added the caramel into the cake batter! The sugar crystals will caramelize further as the cake bakes, making the edges of the cake almost toffee-like. Don’t worry! This will not affect the flavor of the cake and it will not taste burnt!
Apple Butter Topping
Once your apple cake is all done baking, let it cool completely and then work on the toppings. I love to add even more apple flavor to the cake by spreading some homemade apple butter on the top. Check out my separate video recipe for making this spread at home. You can also use store-bought apple butter.
Making the Easy Whipped Cream
For frosting this caramel cake, I went with a simple whipped cream. It’s super easy to make with just heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Whisk the cream until stiff peaks form, then top the cake with the frosting. I also like to drizzle more caramel sauce over the top and add a sprinkling of cinnamon. Enjoy the cake for breakfast as a coffee cake, or after dinner for dessert!
Enjoyed this delicious and easy fall recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Maple Pecan Apple Pie Cake – delicate maple pecan cake layers filled with apple pie filling and caramel buttercream!
- Maple Apple Streusel Cake – quick and EASY apple cake sweetened with maple syrup and topped with a crunchy almond streusel!
- Easy Apple Fritters – these easy donuts are made with diced apples, cinnamon and a simple glaze!
- Cranberry Apple Crisp – the easiest apple recipe with crispy and crumble oat, almond and cranberry topping!
- Apple Pie Caramel Cheesecake – the best caramel cheesecake topped with apple pie filling and whipped cream!
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Easy Caramel Apple Cake Recipe (video)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup cooking oil or melted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup white granulated sugar
- ½ cup caramel or dulce de leche
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp EACH: baking soda, baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 large apples, diced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
For Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Homemade Caramel Sauce, (recipe linked above)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup Homemade Apple Butter, (recipe linked above)
- Preheat the oven to 350F/177C. Line an 8-inch (20-cm) springform pan with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, sugar, vanilla and caramel. Beat the ingredients together on medium to high speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until the eggs are well beaten. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Sift the dry ingredients into the cake batter. Mix the flour into the batter on low speed for about 1 minute, just until it’s incorporated.
- The apples can be used with or without the peel. Dice the apples into small, pea-sized pieces and place into a bowl. Add the cornstarch and cinnamon and toss the apples until they’re well coated. Add two-thirds of the diced apples into the cake batter and fold them in.
- Transfer the cake batter into the prepared pan and then top the cake with the remaining apples. Bake in the preheated oven at 350F/177C for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Do not frost the cake while it’s warm!
- Once the cake is cooled, prepare the whipped cream. Place the chilled heavy cream, sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl and whisk on medium-high speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
Apple Cake Toppings:
- To assemble the cake, first spread about ½ cup to ¾ cup of prepared apple butter onto the cake. Spread it evenly to the edges. Next, add the prepared whipped cream, creating a heaping pile on top of the cake. Sprinkle the cream with a bit of ground cinnamon and drizzle caramel sauce over the top. Keep the cake refrigerated when not enjoying.