This moist apple cake with caramel sauce is a wonderful celebration of Fall. Laden with apples and drizzled with a silky sauce, it’s a real crowd-pleaser.
This apple cake is always popular at dinner parties and potlucks. As for the caramel sauce? It’s 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 want a more subtle taste. You can, of course, omit the sauce altogether, but seriously, it’s worth the extra step.
The recipe is an adaptation and blend of three other recipes. We cut way back on the sugar, particularly fine if you use sweeter apples, and we vary the toppings from a simple sugar-cinnamon topping to a crumble topping. Both are included in the recipe.
Tailor To Your Taste
- We like to use a variety of apples like Gala, Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire or Fuji. One Delicious or Honey Crisp is fine, but they won’t hold their shape as well .
- You can also reduce the calories a bit by using half applesauce and half oil instead of just oil.
- Feel free to add a half cup of raisins, walnuts or pecans.
- Bake the cake in a 9 x 13 inch Pyrex dish or a Bundt pan.
- Serve with ice cream or whipped cream (along with a drizzle of the caramel sauce)
Make Ahead Apple Cake With Caramel Sauce
- The apple cake can be made ahead and warmed in the oven at 350F for 5 minutes.
Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce Recipe
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil (or 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 cup applesauce)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tsp baking powder
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 5 apples (Note 1)
- 1/2 cup Optional: raisins, walnuts and/or pecans
- 4 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup half and half cream (or heavy cream)
- 1 tbsp Bourbon (optional, but good; use less if you like)
- 1 tbsp salted butter (if using unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9 x 13 pyrex dish (or Bundt pan) with oil and lightly flour it.
- PREPARE THE BATTER: Beat eggs and sugar for 10 minutes in a large bowl. Add oil and vanilla. Blend in. [ALTERNATIVELY: Using a processor, process eggs and sugar for two minutes. Add in oil and vanilla. Process for a few seconds. Pour mixture into a large bowl]. Put flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a mesh strainer over the bowl. Sift the dry ingredients through the strainer into the mixture in the bowl below. Blend well with a mixing spoon. Peel, core and chop the apples. Fold them into the batter. Mix in nuts or raisins if using.
- MAKE THE TOPPING: In a cup, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of the batter. Note 2.
- BAKE: Bake the apple cake for 35-45 minutes. Check after 35 minutes. If a toothpick or tester comes out clean, it's done. If the toothpick has batter sticking to it, bake longer until toothpick comes out clean. If using a bundt pan, bake the cake 45-50 minutes.
- MAKE THE CARAMEL SAUCE: Place sugar and water in a medium saucepan and heat to medium. 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 and stir (it will bubble up then settle down). Place back on the burner, add the bourbon and butter (and pinch of salt if using unsalted butter). Stir for another minute. The sauce can be prepared up to a week ahead of time by storing it in a sealed container in the fridge.
- SERVE: Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or whipping cream. Caramel-sauce can be drizzled over the cake before serving or passed on the side.
- Kinds of Apples to Use: A variety of Gala, Granny Smith, Cortland, Empire or Fuji are best. One Delicious or Honey Crisp is fine, but won't hold their shape as well .
- To make a crumble topping instead: Combine 4 tablespoons softened butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour,1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup chopped pecans (if desired) with your fingers until a crumbly texture is formed. Sprinkle over batter.
Here are two other delicious cakes you might like: