Caramel Apple Cake
Packed with apples, pecans and bits of caramel, this Caramel Apple Cake is a tasty way to celebrate the arrival of cooler autumn days!
As soon as the calendar flips into September, I start craving this Caramel Apple Cake. My mother has been making this cake every year since I can remember – it’s one of those tried-and-true recipes that was a family favorite when I was a kid. And now this recipe has become a family favorite in my own family!
Over the years, I’ve played around with this recipe a number of times. Sometimes I add a vanilla glaze to the top. One year I whipped up a bourbon glaze – there’s just something about the combination of apples, cinnamon and bourbon! One year I even added a bit of bourbon into the cake itself. Delicious! This year? I put a caramel spin on this cake by sprinkling a package of caramel baking bits into the batter.
Caramel Apple Cake
We enjoyed the first slice of this Caramel Apple Cake while it was still warm out of the oven. The ooey, gooey caramel bits were amazing! However, something magical happened when we refrigerated the leftovers of this cake. It got even better!
After chilling in the fridge overnight, the caramel bits turned into little pieces of chewy deliciousness. They were amazing! Who would’ve thought cold cake would be so tasty!? I thought I would be eating this leftover cake warmed up with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Nope. We actually ended up eating the rest of the leftovers cold. It didn’t even need a scoop of ice cream!
Aside from the taste, one of the things I love the most about this Caramel Apple Cake is how easy it is to make. Mix wet ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients together. Combine into one bowl. Stir in apples, pecans and caramel bits. Done!
And another hidden advantage of this cake? The smell! Your house will smell amazing while this cake is baking in the oven. Forget lighting a cinnamon-apple candle. Just put this cake in the oven instead. After all, you can’t eat a candle! I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do in our house – it’s one of our favorite fall desserts. Happy baking!
Did you bake this Caramel Apple Cake recipe at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Caramel Apple Cake
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 4 cups diced apples I used a combination of Granny Smith and Honeycrisp
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 11-oz. package caramel baking bits see note
- Butter and flour a 13"x9" baking dish (or spray with nonstick cooking spray); set pan aside.
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Using a large bowl, add sugar, brown sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla extract; stir until well combined. Set bowl aside.
- In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg; stir until well combined.
- Pour dry ingredients into the wet ingredients; stir until well combined.
- Fold in diced apples, chopped pecans and half of the caramel baking bits.
- Transfer mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle remaining caramel baking bits on top. (Tip: Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly into the pan before baking.)
- Bake for 30 minutes. Tent top of pan with foil and continue baking for another 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out mostly clean.
- Let cake cool before serving.
Looking for more caramel apple recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:
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cant wait to make this soon for me i never had caramel apple cake before perfect for my after office snacks love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work
Oh you should make this cake, Ramya! It’s full of all the best fall flavors!!
I can almost smell the aroma of this cake through my computer. Everything about this recipe screams Fall. I’m like you, when September 1 finally rolls around, I’m so ready for sweatshirts, football and now this Caramel Apple Cake. What a wonderful surprise that you added the caramel bits. And I love that you loaded this cake with apple chunks. I can’t wait to pull this out of my oven. Thanks David for great recipes.
You and I share the same fall sentiments, Kristy! Now that we’ve moved South, fall weather will be arriving a little bit later. (I’m ok with that since it means winter won’t be so crazy!) All of the orchards around here are packed with apples, and I need to head out and pick some up. This is one heck of a tasty Autumn recipe. The caramel bits in here? Yum!! (And try it cold…seriously!)
I can see why this cake is a yearly craving, David! My mouth is watering just looking at the photos. Such a perfect fall treat.
This cake is fantastic, Marissa! The apple cake alone is delicious…but add in those caramel bits? Yum!!
I’ve been away from your blog too long! My work has taken over my life lately. I love apple deserts the best; I will chose them over chocolate any day. Heading to Vermont next week for two weeks ( and working 7 days a week in order to do that). Apples will be in abundance there, along with our beloved Cabot cheese. I’ve bookmarked this for when I return.
Hey Kim!! I totally know what you mean about life – it’s been a bit hectic with the move to Asheville on our end. Life is starting to get into a rhythm now though! I hope you have an AWESOME time in Vermont. I love that state! Make sure to load up on apples and Cabot! 🙂
Definitely channeling all those fall vibes with this caramel apple cake! I think it’s better than apple pie, with all that chopped pecan running through it!
This cake is literally packed with all the fall things, Michelle! It smells amazing while it’s baking…and it tastes even better!
this looks just gorgeous david. great flavours. yep me too – i can smell it baking … I made some tartlets the other day, and worried about having to put them in the fridge overnight but yes – i reckon they tasted before the next day!
It’s funny how some desserts just taste better the next day, right? This cake is one of those. It’s fantastic when it’s warm out of the oven, but a slice out of the fridge the next day? So good! (It sounds strange, I know…but it really is good!)
not sure if any of my comments are coming thru lately david! Anyways your cake looks gorgeous and delicious. cheers sherry
Yup, your comments keep coming through! I’ve seen you leave a similar note in the past, but your comments are always here, Sherry. Maybe hit reload if you aren’t seeing the comments after you post??
David, I remember eating a similar cake at an Amish restaurant in Ohio. I loved it but never tried to make it, but now I want to. I’ve never seen caramel baking bits here, any ideas for a substitute?
Hmmm…that’s a good question, Ron. Can you find those chewy caramel candies over there? I think Kraft makes them (https://amzn.to/3cYNfFq). You could chop those into smaller pieces and mix ’em in. This cake is good enough to hunt down caramels! (In truth, though, you could leave the caramels out entirely. That’s how my Mom always made it, and it was delicious!)
After reading your description of how the caramel bits go chewy after leaving in the fridge overnight, I loved that. I’m not sure if this cake would last that long here in order for us to taste that experience though! Ha ha!
Haha – you make a good point, Neil! This cake is delicious when it’s warm out of the oven, so it would be hard to save it. It’s worth trying, though, as this cake is SO good when it’s cold. Happy fall, Neil! 🙂
Oh my!!! This sounds amazing! I love everything apples this time of year and when it’s in cake form, I just can’t resist. Caramel and apples are a great pairing so I can imagine how delicious they’d be in this cake. Our apples will be ready for picking in the next several weeks! I can’t wait to make this cake.
I hear ya, Kathy! Apple season is the start of my favorite time of the year! Cooler weather, all of the fall smells, leaves…and baking!! Definitely put this cake on the list to make once your apples are ready. This is an all-time favorite here in our house!
I love apple cakes. This one looks delicious. The caramel bits sound perfect for this recipe. Perfect for fall.
Thanks so much, Dawn! The caramel bits in this cake really were a fun addition. You can’t resist a good caramel apple!! 🙂
Hi David! Do you need to peel the apples first? What size diced? Also I don’t know if it’s just me but the link to the caramel bits is broken!? And is it whipped cream or ice cream shown in your pictures? Sorry for all of the questions. 😂 This recipe looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!!
Hey April!! So peeling the apples is entirely up to you. I personally don’t peel them, but you can go either way there. Thanks for letting me know about that broken link – not sure what happened there. I just fixed it! (To be fair, though, I wouldn’t recommend ordering those caramel bits from Amazon. Use the link to see what the package looks like, but look for them in your area – Walmart, Target, etc. For some reason, Amazon’s prices on those is WAY too high…)
And that is ice cream that I put on top of the cake in the photo. You could certainly do whipped cream if you wanted, though! And honestly we liked this cake even better the next day straight out of the fridge – so you wouldn’t need ice cream or whipped cream that way. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do here in our house! Let me know if you have any other questions!!
Woa – so I think am saving this to make when I have G back in town cos I won’t be able to have any kind of self control with this one! And ooh – that glaze with bourbon you said you made once before – mmm mmm mmm! Apples, cinnamon and bourbon are indeed a mighty marvelous combo! Fantastic recipe, my friend!
Haha – I totally know what you mean about self control with yummy goodies like this around! And this one is yummy for sure. The caramel chips in this one are fantastic…and yes, that bourbon glaze would take this to a whole new level. In fact, maybe I need to make this again as we’re going apple picking this weekend…and this time I’ll add the bourbon glaze! Thanks, Shashi!
Oh yeah, I bet this caramel apple cake is absolutely divine warm out of the oven!! Aside from cinnamon, apples pairs so so good with caramel (and this cake is so much better than, say, caramel apples). Maybe a scoop or two of ice cream to go along with and I’m set! Think this is acceptable for breakfast? 😉
Well ice cream has dairy in it. And milk is dairy. We drink milk for breakfast, so the ice cream on this is kinda like having milk for breakfast, right? Haha! No matter when you eat this cake, I can promise it’s a good one, Dawn!!
Nice, I love the addition of caramel in this traditional recipe. Will add a really nice touch to it
Thanks, Raymund! The apple + caramel combination is pretty tasty for sure!