Fall is the perfect season to cozy up with a slice of this delicious and easy Salted Caramel Apple Cake. This moist made-from-scratch cake is packed with fresh apples and real, wholesome ingredients you probably have in your pantry. And the decadent salted caramel sauce comes together in just minutes on the stovetop!
It’s Not Fall Without Homemade Apple Cake
Fall has finally arrived here in New England in all of its regal splendor. Dazzling colors spill in every direction, and if you’re lucky enough to be near a pond or lake, the reflections of the surrounding foliage are Monet-like and magnificent. While I loved my years living in the south, I always longed for the vivid colors and crisp nights of a New England autumn.
Last night, I slept with my bedroom windows cracked, and it was cool when I woke up this morning. Or should I say when I was woken up by a little blue-eyed figure about three feet tall who stole into my bedroom early, climbed up on my bed, and pullsed the covers up under his chin. He faced me, locked eyes, exhaled, and giggles. His little ice cube feet pressed on my warm ones as he snuggled in for a cuddle.
His name is Hudson, he’s six years old, and he’s a little love. He also has Down syndrome. And while he doesn’t have many words in his vocabulary, this little boy’s communication skills rival mine. So much love so freely given. I’ve told you before how he quietly tiptoes in the morning, noiselessly shuts the door behind him. He was so happy to have me all to himself for just a few minutes.
Hudson had breakfast and left for school on his little yellow school bus, and then I baked this scrumptious Salted Caramel Apple Cake. The sweet aroma filling my kitchen was all things fall and fabulous.
The Salted Caramel Sauce Makes This Cake!
I had a lovely quiet morning baking until my failed attempt at making salted caramel sauce. And then another fail. Ouch. I just couldn’t get the consistency right. But then I tried this easy Caramel Sauce recipe from Chef Bobby Flay, and I think it’s perfect with this cake. Rich and smooth and salted. Oh boy, perfection!
So, Hudson got home from school today, and the first thing he spied was this Salted Caramel Apple Cake on the cake platter, just waiting. He went right over and started pointing. And I said, “Do you want cake?” And very clearly, he said, “Cake!” So, I cut him a big ‘ole slice.
You’ll need a few pantry staples to make this homemade apple cake — granulated sugar, coconut oil, pure vanilla extract, self-rising flour, coconut cooking oil, and eggs — as well as peeled and diced apples, cinnamon, and chopped nuts like pecans or walnuts.
And the 5-ingredient salted caramel sauce couldn’t be simpler! All you need is some granulated sugar, heavy cream, sea salt, unsalted butter, and cold water.
How To Make a Salted Caramel Apple Cake?
- In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
- Then, add the wet ingredients — beaten eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla — to the same bowl.
- Lastly, toss in the diced apples, and stir until coated and just until combined.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and add the cake batter into a greased and flour-dusted bundt pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes (or until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean). Loosen it form the sides of the cake pan with a butter knife, then flip onto a wire rack to cool. Once completely cooled, drizzle the salted caramel sauce over the cake before slicing and serving.
Tips for Making the Best Caramel Apple Cake
- Measure all the ingredients carefully beforehand, and have them at room temperature — especially the butter and eggs in this case — to prevent lumps.
- For a tender cake, don’t over-mix the batter. Mix on low speed and until ingredients are just incorporated.
- Bake on your middle oven rack, and start checking at the 55-minute mark, but if the top isn’t even golden brown, don’t open your oven yet. (Opening and closing the oven to check a cake before it’s done causes it to fall.)
- I experimented with a new kind of cooking oil in this recipe I recently discovered — coconut cooking oil. It’s different from regular coconut oil in that it stays liquid at room temperature. I found it on the shelf at my local health food store. There are many health benefits to coconut oil, so I was thrilled that it worked well in this recipe. (Vegetable oil also works fine, too.)
- It’s normal for the batter to be thick and crumbly, just like shown in the picture.
- Adding chopped nuts such as pecans is optional, but it definitely adds a lot of texture and flavor to the cake.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store leftover cooled cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
- Freeze this cake whole or by the slice in an airtight, freezer-safe container or plastic bag for up to 3 months. And freeze the caramel sauce separately, too, or make fresh before serving.
- Reheat room temperature cake in the oven until toasted or in the microwave until slightly warmed through. Reheat frozen cake the same way, or allow it to come to room temperature first.
More Delicious Cake Recipes You’ll Love
- Cinnamon Apple Coffee Cake
- Raspberry Cream Cheese Cake
- Lemon Pound Cake
- Triple Berry Crumble Recipe
- Blueberry Pound Cake
- Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake
- Brick Street Chocolate Cake
Salted Caramel Apple Cake
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup coconut cooking oil or vegetable oil
- 3 1/2 cups diced apples peeled first
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 beaten eggs
- optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans I used pecans
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Grease and flour a tube pan.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, self-rising flour and cinnamon until combined.
- Stir in beaten eggs, cooking oil and vanilla.
- Stir in diced apples (and optional nuts) until just combined.
- (Batter will be very thick, maybe even crumbly.)
- Spoon batter into prepared pan.
- Bake for 50 - 60 minutes. (Check with cake tester at the 50 minute mark.)
- Remove from oven and let cool on a rack 20-30 minutes until warm.
- Loosen all edges including around the center tube with a sharp knife before turning out onto a cake platter.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- In a medium-sized sauce pan stir together 1/4 cup cold water and granulated sugar until combined.
- Set over medium-high heat on the stove top and cook 9 -11 minutes without stirring until mixture is a deep amber color.
- Start checking closely at the 8 minute mark.
- Meanwhile, warm heavy cream and butter together with sea salt in a small sauce pan over medium heat. (Absolutely do not boil.)
- When sugar and water mixture is a deep amber color, slowly whisk in the warm cream and butter mixture.
- Whisk over the heat until it's smooth a minute or two, then remove from the heat.
- Salted caramel sauce will thicken up as it cools.
- When sauce is still warm, spoon over apple cake and cascade down the sides.
- (Re-heating the caramel sauce will thin it.)
- I used coconut cooking oil in this recipe. Coconut cooking oil is a type of coconut oil that remains liquid at room temperature. I found it at my local health food store. It worked perfectly in this recipe. You can also use vegetable oil with good results.
- It's normal to get a thick and crumbly batter.