I love baking with apples for so many reasons: they are available and accessible all year 'round, they are inexpensive and they store well. This Caramel Apple Cake is a simple recipe that delivers big flavor! It is a soft, moist brown sugar yogurt cake packed full of tart cinnamon apples, then topped with cinnamon sugar and drizzled with caramel sauce. It is a great way to celebrate Fall and it is incredibly easy to make. Serve it for dessert to your guests or enjoy it at breakfast or brunch - it is so versatile! If you love caramel and apple together, try my very popular Caramel Apple Cookies.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- Moist apple cake packed with apples - this recipe makes a moist cake that stays moist without drying out thanks to the apples baked right in! There are 3 whole apples packed into this dessert!
- Soft and tender texture - you will love how soft this cake is with a tender and delicate crumb.
- Buttery brown sugar cake - there's only 4 tablespoons of butter in this recipe, but it shines right through!
- Cinnamon apple cake - the apples are tossed in fragrant cinnamon before folding them into the batter and it smells so cozy and warming.
- Salted caramel drizzle - caramel is a staple in my fridge during the Fall! I always have a batch prepared to drizzle on... well, pretty much everything! Here is my recipe for Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce.
INGREDIENTS FOR CARAMEL APPLE CAKE
- Unsalted butter - butter adds richness and tenderness. For this recipe you can use unsalted or salted butter. I like to use butter instead of oil in this recipe for a rich taste to complement the apples.
- Brown sugar - brown sugar adds caramel-like flavor due to the molasses content and it really complements the apple and cinnamon. I prefer dark brown, but light brown will also work here.
- Egg - two large eggs will give this cake such a nice soft spongy texture to bind the cake without making the crumb too firm.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla will add rich backnotes. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Yogurt - I recommend using full fat yogurt for this recipe and it helps if it is at room temperature. You can also use sour cream.
- All purpose flour - regular unbleached all-purpose flour works great for this simple cake.
- Cinnamon - apple and cinnamon is a no-brainer combination!
- Salted Caramel Sauce - I use my recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce that you can find here. You can make it in advance and keep it stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Prepare the apples. Combine apples and cinnamon in a medium bowl until blended. Most of it will get folded into the batter, and some will go on top just before baking.
- STEP 2). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly.
- STEP 3). Cream fat and sugar. Combine soft butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth and a bit fluffy. There isn't that much butter, so it won't look pale like when you are creaming butter for a cookie recipe.
- STEP 4). Add eggs. Beat in eggs one at a time until evenly incorporated.
- STEP 5). Add dry ingredients and yogurt. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low then alternate adding yogurt and the remaining dry ingredients while folding gently with a spatula gently until just combined.
- STEP 6). Spread it out. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Scatter reserved apples on top. Drizzle a bit of caramel over the apples and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- STEP 7). BAKE. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then once cooled, drizzle caramel sauce over top just before serving.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR CARAMEL APPLE CAKE
- Do not over-mix the batter. Once the flour is mostly combined (with a few light streaks), then the batter is ready for baking.
- Use butter for the flavor. I like to use butter when making recipes that call for spice since it adds rich backnotes that carry the spice well so it is more rounded rather than sharp and astringent. Butter also helps to thicken the batter so they help hold up the apples too.
- Drizzle some caramel while the cake is warm. Using some caramel while the cake is warm means that the cake will absorb some of it and it will make the cake moist and rich with flavour!
Butter is important for this recipe to thicken the batter and suspend the apple pieces. If you were to use oil, then the batter will be more fluid.
I find a firm apple works great, such as Honey Crisp or Fugi, and my preference is for tart apples like Granny Smith for the best flavor.
I wouldn't recommend freezing this cake since the apples have high moisture and the cake may be too soft once thawed. The good news is that it keeps well in the fridge, and you can just warm slices up slightly in the microwave with a scoop of ice cream - YUM. If you do decide to freeze it, you should freeze it before adding the caramel on top.
If you love cake, check out these recipes!Cinnamon Streusel Coffee CakePumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingULTIMATE Moist hocolate Fudge CakeCopycat Starbucks Lemon LoafRaspberry Almond CakeONE BOWL Vanilla Cake with Chocolate FrostingSticky Toffee Date CakeBlueberry Peach Upside Down Cake
Baking with apples
Looking for more recipes with apples? Try these:
Here are more easy cake recipes:
Caramel Apple Cake
- 1 ¼ cups 180g all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup 56g unsalted butter softened
- ⅔ cup 145g packed dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon 5ml pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- ⅔ cup 160ml full fat plain yogurt
- 3 cups 300g chopped tart apples from about 3 medium cored and peeled apples, divided (they should be cut into small ½-inch cubes)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 x Recipe Salted Caramel Sauce for drizzling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang at each side.
- Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly.
- Combine butter, brown sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer for 2 minutes on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition and scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl until it looks creamy. Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low to combine. Mix in yogurt. Add remaining flour mixture and fold it in until just combined but there are a few streaks of flour. Toss apples with cinnamon and add 2 cups to the bowl over the batter, then fold it in.
- Spread batter into prepared pan and then scatter remaining 1 cup of apples on top. Drizzle about 2 tablespoons of caramel sauce over the apples.
- For the topping, blend together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it over top. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 1 hour, then drizzle caramel sauce over top before serving.