Two Kooks ยป All Recipes ยป Dessert Recipes ยป Moist Apple Cinnamon Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Moist Apple Cinnamon Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

This moist apple cinnamon cake is a wonderful celebration of Fall or any occasion. The cake is delicious on its own, but a real standout with a drizzle of silky bourbon caramel sauce.

So grab a cup of coffee and get baking! You won’t be disappointed.

apple cinnamon cake beside vanilla ice cream with caramel bourbon drizzle.

I make this fresh apple cake recipe every year with a combination of seasonal apples or my faves, Gala apples. It’s a wonderful holiday or potluck dessert and one of my favorite Rosh Hashanah recipes.

The recipe is an adaptation and blend of three other recipes. I cut way back on the sugar which gets compensated with the sweetness of the apples and, of course, the caramel sauce.

What to expect

The cake is loaded with fresh apples which is why it ‘s such a moist cake. Many recipes call for 3 apples. This one has 5.

The bourbon caramel sauce is delicious and addictive. Just a drizzle goes a long way. It does have a good kick of bourbon even though the recipe only calls for one tablespoon, so cut it back a bit if you’re not a big fan of bourbon. You can, of course, omit the sauce altogether, but I don’t suggest that. It’s so worth the extra step. And you can make it well ahead.

The cake serves a crowd of 12 or more if you are serving it along with other desserts. Perfect for the holidays.

Ingredients – tailored to your taste

apples, flour, sugar, eggs, oil, baking powder, cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon, half and half cream, butter.

Apples: I like to use a variety of apples. Gala, Granny Smith apples, Cortland, Empire, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Northern Spy or Fuji are all good choices. Delicious or Honey Crisp are ok too, but they won’t hold their shape as well (so just use one perhaps). I dice the apples, but if you don’t like little chunks in your cake, you can grate them instead.

Topping: We have two options. The first is easier and just uses cinnamon and sugar. The second is a crumble topping which includes butter, cinnamon, brown sugar, flour and nuts. It just takes a few more minutes. Instructions for both are in the recipe card below.

Bourbon caramel sauce: adds a decadent and delicious finish. It is made with sugar, half and half cream, bourbon, water and butter.

Variations to try:

  • Make it lighter: You can reduce the calories by using half applesauce and half oil instead of just oil in the cake.
  • Add-ins: Feel free to add a half cup of raisins, walnuts or pecans (chopped).
  • Sauce: You can skip the sauce (noooooo!) or try a vanilla sauce instead.

Step by step instructions

5 apples of different varieties on table.
Peel, core and dice apples.
wet ingredients in mixing bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.  Then beat in the oil and vanilla.
dry ingredients being sifted over mixing bowl.
Place all purpose flour, cinnamon, baking powder and a teaspoon salt in sieve and sift/shake into the wet ingredients.
Combine wet and dry ingredients. Incorporate the diced apple slices.
batter with apples and crumble topping in cake pan.
Pour the batter into a greased and floured pan. Add your choice of topping. (Pictured is the crumble topping.)
baked apple cinnamon cake in baking dish.
Bake in a preheated oven until a tester comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes.
caramel bourbon sauce in pot.
Make the bourbon caramel glaze (or make it up to 2 weeks ahead).
apple cinnamon cake with vanilla ice cream on top with caramel bourbon drizzle.
Let the cake cool for a few minutes then drizzle with the sauce.

Tip on pan sizes

Bake the cake in a 9 x 13 inch (33 x 23 cm) Pyrex dish or a 14-cup Bundt pan. To cut the recipe in half, use an 8 x 8 inch (20×20 cm) pan. Here’s a great article on pan-size conversions if you need it.

How to serve caramel apple cake

The Fall flavors in this apple cake pair will with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream – and don’t forget a drizzle of the easy caramel sauce!

For a more decadent option, create an apple cake parfait in a glass cup. Cut the cake into small pieces and layer it with whipped cream (or ice cream) and nuts with a final drizzle of bourbon caramel sauce.

Shortcuts

  • Skip the warm caramel sauce if you must ๐Ÿ™ or buy a good quality caramel sauce and add a couple of teaspoons of bourbon.
  • Peel, slice and dice the apples ahead of time. Just spritz them with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown.
  • Don’t bother peeling the apples – the peels have extra nutrition.
  • Choose the easier cinnamon-sugar topping instead of the crumble topping.

Make ahead

  • The apple cake can be made ahead and warmed in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • It can be stored on the counter for a day or two in an airtight container. Or in the fridge for 4-5 days.
  • Or freeze it, well wrapped in plastic wrap then foil for up to 6 months.
  • The bourbon caramel sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for 3 months.
piece of apple cake and bourbon caramel sauce on plate p

Other great Fall desserts

If you like this recipe, please leave a 5 star rating ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸ๐ŸŒŸin the recipe card below. And if you REALLY like it, consider a review in the comments. Thanks very much!

apple cinnamon cake beside vanilla ice cream with caramel bourbon drizzle.
Print Recipe Pin Save Recipe

Rate this recipe here

4.82 from 22 votes

Moist Apple Cinnamon Cake with Bourbon Caramel Sauce

TThis moist apple cinnamon cake is a wonderful celebration of Fall or any occasion. The cake is delicious on its own, but a real standout with a drizzle of silky bourbon caramel sauce.
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup/118 ml oil + 1/2 cup/118 ml applesauce)
  • 2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 5 small-medium apples, peeled, cored and diced, Note 1 (dice 1/2 inch/1.27cm (you will have about 4 cups/472 grams chopped)
  • 1/2 cup Optional: raisins, walnuts and/or pecans

Topping (Note 2 for crumble option)

  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon

Caramel-Bourbon Sauce

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup half and half cream (or heavy cream)
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon (optional, but good; use less if you like)
  • 1 tablespoon salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt)

Instructions

  • PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F/177C. Spray a 9 x 13 inch/22.8 x 33 cm pyrex dish (or Bundt pan) with oil and lightly flour it. To flour, add a tablespoon of flour to sprayed pan, shake to cover evenly, discard remaining flour.
  • MAKE WET BATTER: Beat eggs and sugar with immersion blender or handheld mixer for 2 minutes in a large bowl until fluffy. Blend in oil and vanilla.
  • ADD DRY INGREDIENTS TO WET: Put flour mixture of flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mesh strainer sitting over bowl containing wet batter. Sift/shake dry ingredients through the strainer into the mixture in the bowl below. Blend well with a mixing spoon. Don't over mix. Fold chopped apples into cake batter. Mix in nuts or raisins if using.
  • MAKE TOPPING: In small cup, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Note 2 to make crumble topping instead.
  • BAKE: Pour batter into prepared pan scraping sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Sprinkle crumble topping on top of the cake batter. Bake apple cake for 35-45 minutes until golden brown. Check after 35 minutes. If toothpick or cake tester comes out clean, it's done. If toothpick has batter sticking to it, bake longer until toothpick comes out clean. If using a bundt pan, bake the cake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick/tester comes out clean.
  • MAKE BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE: Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Swirl pan occasionally (don't stir) for 12-15 minutes until a medium to deep amber color appears. Careful that it doesn't burn. Remove from heat. Slowly add the cream while stirring (it will bubble up then settle down). Place back on the burner, add bourbon and butter (and pinch of salt if using unsalted butter). Stir for another minute until silky smooth.
  • SERVE: Serve warm cake or at room temperature with a scoop of ice cream or whipping cream. Bourbon caramel sauce can be drizzled over the cake before serving or passed on the side.

Recipe Notes

  1. Type of apples to use: (combine 2-3 types if you like) – Gala, Granny Smith. Cortland, Empire, Northern Spy, Pink Lady, Braeburn or Fuji are great options. One Delicious or Honey Crisp apple is fine, but won’t hold its shape as well.
  2. To make a crumble topping instead: In a small bowl, combine 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 cup/110 grams brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour/62 grams,1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup/54 grams chopped pecans (if desired) with your fingers until a crumbly texture is formed. Sprinkle over batter.
  3. Make Ahead
    • The apple cake can be made ahead and warmed in the oven at 350F/176.7C for 5 minutes.
    • It can be stored on the counter for a day or two in an airtight container. Or in the fridge for 4-5 days.
    • Or freeze it, well wrapped in plastic then foil for 6-12 months.
    • The bourbon caramel sauce can be made ahead and stored in the fridge in an airtight container for a week or in the freezer for 3 months.ย 
ย 
Nutrition values are estimates. You will likely have leftover caramel sauce so the calories and fat per serving will be less than what the nutrition calculator is showing. Unless you drown your apple cake in caramel sauce ๐Ÿ™‚

Nutrition

Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 295mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 47g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 126mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?We’d love you to rate it above under ‘rate this recipe’ or in the comment section below. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating