Apple, cinnamon, and caramel come together for the perfect fall treat. This moist apple cake with caramel frosting is filled with warm, comforting flavors and makes for the perfect dessert.
The Best Apple Cake Recipe
Today we’re embracing fall and making the perfect apple cake recipe. I’m not quite ready for pumpkin recipes yet, but I’m definitely ready for some caramel apple goodness. And that’s exactly what we’re making.
This apple cake with caramel frosting combines three of my favorite fall flavors: fresh apples, warm cinnamon, and a little salted caramel. The apple cake is moist, flavorful, and filled with little bites of apple. Then it’s topped with a sweet caramel frosting that takes this fall treat to the next level.
What you’ll love about this apple cake is that it’s oh so moist and packed with flavor. It’s a little denser in texture to support the chunks of apple, and the crumb is tender and soft. The amazing texture is thanks to the oil used to keep the crumb soft, eggs for tenderness, and sour cream for moisture. Then the cake is filled with so much flavor thanks to the brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and apples.
Moist Apple Cake Ingredients
This fresh apple cake recipe uses pantry staples you probably have on hand already. For the apple cake itself, you’ll need all-purpose flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt, vegetable oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, sour cream, and apples.
For the creamy caramel frosting, you’ll need unsalted butter, cream, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and powdered sugar. If you love the flavor of salted caramel, add a little more salt to the frosting. For a sweeter caramel flavor, scale back the amount of salt you add to the frosting.
What Are the Best Apples for Apple Cake?
For this apple cake, I definitely recommend using a tart baking apple, such as Granny Smith. The apple will sweeten as it bakes and the flavor will mellow. Another benefit of using a more traditional baking apple in this recipe is that it won’t release as much moisture into the cake (you want this cake to be moist, but the batter shouldn’t be too wet).
How to Make Apple Cake
This apple cake recipe couldn’t be easier to whip up! Here are the basic steps for making this fall dessert:
- Whisk together the wet ingredients in one bowl and the dry in another.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
- Carefully fold in the chopped apples.
- Turn the cake batter out into a greased 9×13-inch baking dish.
- Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Let the apple cake cool completely before frosting.
How to Make Caramel Frosting
Okay, let’s talk about this caramel frosting. It’s sweet, it’s delicious, and it’s perfect if you’re the type of person who could eat caramel sauce out of the jar. Here’s what to do:
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat.
- Add in the brown sugar and cream. Melt everything together while whisking gently.
- After it’s melted, bring to a gentle boil for 3 minutes while whisking.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and pour the mixture into a large bowl. Cool for at least 15 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract and salt.
- Beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream until the desired consistency and sweetness is reached.
How to Store Apple Cake
This moist apple cake can be kept on the counter for up to three days. You’ll want to cover it lightly with foil and keep it in a cool spot in your kitchen. To extend this cake’s shelf life, you can keep it in the fridge for up to a week.
Can I Freeze Apple Cake?
I’ve never frozen this cake before, but I don’t see why you couldn’t! You’d want to freeze the cake unfrosted, and then whip up a batch of caramel frosting when you’re ready to serve it.
Tips for Making the Best Apple Cake
For this apple cake recipe, it’s really important to cut the apples into very small pieces, otherwise the cake can kind of fall apart when you go to cut into it.
I love the salty sweetness of the caramel frosting, but it’s definitely sweet so you won’t need a really thick layer on the cake. If frosting isn’t really your thing at all, this cake is super delicious on its own or with a scoop of ice cream. You could also keep things ultra simple and top this homemade apple cake with a light dusting of powdered sugar instead of frosting it.
Finally, once you’ve made this apple cake recipe as written, feel free to play around with the spices as you see fit. You can add more or less cinnamon and nutmeg, or add in other spices altogether.
More CAKE RECIPES You Have to Try:
- Chocolate Sheet Cake
- Better Than Anything Cake
- Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake
- Carrot Cake
- Banana Cake
- Strawberries and Cream Jello Cake
- Banana Pudding Cake
- Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
- Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake
- Gingerbread Cake
- Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake
- Lemon Jello Cake
- All our Cake Recipes here!
More Easy Apple Desserts:
- Easy Apple Dumplings with Sprite
- Apple Brown Betty
- Apple Pie Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce
- Mini Dutch Apple Cheesecakes
- Apple Cheesecake Bars
- Apple Pie Bombs al la Mode
- Caramel Apple Sweet Rolls
- Apple Pie Pull-Apart Bread
- Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce
- Best Apple Crisp
- Apple Cider Cupcakes with Cinnamon Frosting
- Apple Pie Fried Ice Cream
Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 cups chopped apples, peel first then cut into very small pieces
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons cream, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, use 1/4 teaspoon if you prefer a less salted caramel flavor
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch cake pan.
- In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda & salt.
- In a large bowl beat together the oil, sugars, eggs & vanilla extract until no lumps remain. Then beat in the sour cream.
- With the mixer on low speed, beat the flour mixture into the wet ingredients about 1/2 at a time. Turn down the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Carefully fold in the chopped apple using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 28-34 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool fully before frosting
- In a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add in the brown sugar and 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) cream.
- Melt everything together while whisking.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil for 3 minutes while whisking constantly.
- Remove from the heat and pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl.
- Cool for 15 minutes.
- Add in the vanilla extract & salt. Then beat in the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, alternating with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream until the desired sweetness & consistency is reached.
- Frost the cooled cake and slice into pieces.
What kind of apples do you use?
Hi Becky! There is a section in post about the best apple to use, but I suggest a tart apple like a Granny Smith.
I followed this recipe exactly as written and wow…so delicious!! Oh that caramel icing….I’m going to make this again as one of our Thanksgiving desserts! 🍎🍏
You’ve made my day Lisa! Thank you so much for taking time to leave a comment!
I decided to make this today and am so glad I did! It was delicious and hit the spot on this chilly fall day! 😋
Yay! Love to hear this Kelly! Thank you for taking time to leave a comment!
This was DIVINE. We’re craving it as I type😊. Can it be baked in a Bundt pan?
Thank you Dyanna! It can absolutely be done in a bundt pan, just be sure you don’t overfill the pan. You’ll also want to increase the baking time to 35-40 minutes.
Well I’m very glad that you fixed it….. was a delicious recipe!
Yay!! So sorry about that! I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Ok, it is fixed now! Sorry about that!
Is it me?I’m still not seeing them🤔
Ugh! I don’t know what is going on with this recipe card! Let me work on it again! Thank you for your patience!
I’d like to make this cake… the recipe does not list the ingredients and their amounts??????
Noooo…how did that even happen? I’m on it! Thanks for the heads up! It should be up within the hour.
Does this cake need to be refrigerated?
Hi Salina! It is fine on the counter for 2-3 days or up to a week in the refrigerator.
the cake directions say to add salt, but there is no salt mentioned in the list of cake ingredients. how much salt goes into the cake?
Hi Nancy! Sorry about the confusion. You’ll want to use 1/2 tsp of salt. I will get that updated. Thank you for bringing it to our attention!
Brittany Audra @ Audra’s Appetite
Love caramel and apples together…such a perfect combination idea for cake!! 🙂
It is seriously so dreamy!!
This cake looks amazing! I have 1 question do you use kosher salt or table salt in the frosting? Thanks for the awesome recipe.
Table salt 🙂