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Caramel Apple Cake

Caramel Apple Cake with fresh, tart apples baked into a luscious brown sugar cake and covered with a sweet, caramel glaze…it’s just as amazing as it sounds! This is a great cake for a potluck as it can be made ahead—if you can hide it!

Caramel Apple Cake serving in a bowl.

Ooooh…this cake…this cake. Chopped Granny Smith apples surrounded by fluffy, brown sugar cake and topped with a caramel glaze that oozes down through holes in the cake so the whole thing is gooey and luscious. It’s so good!

Scott Peacock is one of my favorite Southern chefs and if you don’t own his and Edna Lewis’ cookbook, The Gift of Southern Cooking, then you need to get it right now. Inside you will find the recipe for this apple cake and many other wonderful dishes, some from yesteryear that you may have never heard of but are worth trying, like my Easy Chicken Pie or this Peanut Butter Pound Cake.

This same Caramel Apple Cake recipe can be found in several of my other old cookbooks including Taste of Georgia and Andersonville Skillet. It’s an old Southern recipe that, like most old Southern recipes, makes use of the simplest of ingredients: brown and white sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, apples, pecans and vanilla. I added allspice and cloves.

How to Make the Caramel Apple Cake

Mix the sugars and oil until well blended, then add the eggs one at a time and gradually add flour that you’ve sifted with the baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. The batter is thick and already starting to smell like apple pie.

Caramel Apple Cake batter

 Next stir in the chopped apples, pecans and vanilla. Then you need a taste. Trust me.

Caramel Apple Cake apples and nuts in bowl

 Spread the batter into a buttered 9×13 inch dish.

Caramel Apple Cake ready to bake in dish.

Bake for about an hour and 10 minutes but check it at about 50 minutes. Mine was not quite done in the middle so at 50 minutes, I began setting the timer for 2 minutes and kept checking until it was ready. You don’t want to over cook it.

Glaze Variations

The printable below has the version that I like to use.

While the caramel apple cake is baking, make the topping. Here’s where the variations in recipes come in. I made the topping from Scott Peacock’s recipe, which is just 1/2 stick butter (I actually used 6 tablespoons), 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup heavy cream. But I thought maybe there should be about a quarter cup to a half cup more topping to cover the cake.

Another version of Scott Peacock’s recipe calls for 6 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup white sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup heavy cream. And my Taste of Georgia version calls for 1 cup sugar, 1 stick margarine (please use butter), 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup evaporated milk and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. The Andersonville Skillet recipe is 1 stick oleo (butter), 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar and 6 tablespoons canned milk.

So now you have a dilemma: which topping to use? The first one is absolutely fine and we devoured the cake so there were certainly no complaints. If I make it again, however, I’ll probably just double Scott Peacock’s recipe, which is basically the Taste of Georgia version with the exception of the amount of cream (and what I’ve included on the printable below). So: 1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, pinch of salt (at least a 1/4 teaspoon) and 1/2 cup cream.

You can always add a little more cream if it’s too thick.

Caramel Apple Cake baked in dish

Let me know if you try this fabulous Caramel Apple Cake and which topping you use. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them!

Caramel Apple Cake serving in a bowl.

Caramel Apple Cake

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Caramel Apple Cake with fresh, tart apples baked into a luscious brown sugar cake and covered with a sweet, caramel glaze.

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 5 fresh apples, (Granny Smith is fine), peeled and diced into 1/2-inch pieces (this yields about 4 cups or a little more)
  • 1 1/4 cups chopped and toasted pecans
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla

Glaze

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Instructions

Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Butter and flour a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Beat sugars and oil in large mixing bowl until very well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each one.
  3. Sift dry ingredients and spices and add gradually to egg mixture. Stir in apples, pecans and vanilla.
  4. Pour into prepared dish and bake for about 1 hr 10 minutes. Begin checking with a toothpick at 50 minutes and then check frequently until a toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Remove from oven and make glaze.
  6. Poke holes all over cake with a skewer and then pour warm glaze slowly over the cake.

Glaze

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan and add both sugars and salt. Stir until blended, then cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  3. Remove from heat and pour over cake.

Notes

Scott Peacock's glaze version 1: 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar pinch of salt 1/2 cup heavy cream. Melt butter in a saucepan and add both sugars and salt. Stir until blended, then cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and bring to a boil; boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and pour over cake.

Scott Peacock's version 2: increase to 6 tablespoons butter, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar, pinch of salt and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Follow instructions above.

Taste of Georgia: 1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup evaporated milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla. Combine all topping ingredients (except vanilla) in a saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Spread over warm cake.

Andersonville Skillet: Melt 1 stick oleo (butter) and 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar. Boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add 6 tablespoons canned milk. Boil 1 minute. Cool and beat until creamy, then spread.

Glaze I would use next time: 1 stick unsalted butter 1/2 cup granulated sugar 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup heavy cream Follow Scott Peacock's directions above.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 12 servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 577Saturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 169mgCarbohydrates: 88gFiber: 3gSugar: 60gProtein: 6g

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roxey

Wednesday 10th of December 2014

Just what I was looking for in an apple cake! I had no allspice so I added a little more of the other spices. I also sprinkled a little sugar and cinnamon on the apples after I diced them up. Awesomeness!! Give this a try!!

Shawn

Thursday 16th of February 2012

How in the world did I miss this post?! Well, better late than never...I'm soooo making it this weekend!

Lucy

Wednesday 18th of January 2012

Awww, thanks Calli! We will have to eat it again soon! Love you sweet girl, have safe travels :)

Calli

Wednesday 18th of January 2012

This is the best cake I've ever had!!!

In a Southern Kitchen rocks!