Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

This lightly sweetened and spiced cake is filled with chunks of apple, then drizzled with warm caramel sauce just before serving. A sprinkling of raw sugar over the top of the cake adds a bit of crunch and sweetness as well.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce on a square white plate with fork

Apple Spice Cake

There are a few different ways to serve this cake. I like it best when topped with warm salted caramel sauce, and my husband prefers his topped with whipped cream. (Naturally, my kids voted for both toppings.)

If we’re lucky enough to have a slice of cake left the next morning, I usually snack on it with my morning coffee.

With fragrant cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom complementing the chunks of soft sweet baked apples, this apple spice cake is a popular fall and winter dessert.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce with whipped cream and caramel

It’s a common misconception that a moist cake is created by the amount of liquid used in a recipe. The truth is that moistness is actually created by the fats in ingredients like eggs, butter, oil, sour cream, and milk.

A generous helping of sour cream in this apple cake helps creates a dense, super-moist crumb. Full-fat Greek yogurt may be substituted for the sour cream here if you happen to have it on hand and do not have sour cream. Both options will work nicely.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce diced apples

Apple Cake with Cinnamon

As with most cake recipes, there are only a couple of steps. To make this apple spice cake, you’ll begin by stirring together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, salt, and brown sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream, milk, and butter. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce topping with raw sugar

Most of the time whether or not you choose to peel the fruit in a given recipe boils down to personal preference. This cake is the exception.

The apples in this spice cake become soft and almost melt into the cake while it is baking. You won’t want to have any peels left behind when the apples soften so beautifully.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce cake batter in pan

Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle generously with raw sugar. Are you familiar with raw sugar or turbinado sugar? The crystals are larger and coarser than regular granulated sugar, giving it a crunchy texture and a slight caramel taste.

The sugar topping will not melt into the batter while baking. It will remain on top of the cake, creating a crunchy sugary layer with that hint of caramel flavor.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce in pan

Cinnamon Apple Cake

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • all-purpose flour (see below for gluten-free alternative)
  • baking powder
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground ginger
  • ground cardamom
  • kosher salt
  • light brown sugar
  • eggs
  • sour cream
  • milk
  • butter
  • apples
  • raw sugar
Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce without caramel sauce

This cake can be stored at room temperature for a day or two. If you would like it to last longer, cover it tightly and tuck it into the refrigerator for up to a week.

I’m a big fan of stashing desserts in the freezer too, both to preserve them at their best and to ensure that I’ll have a sweet bite available whenever I want one. To freeze this cake, wrap individual slices tightly in plastic wrap and then store them in an airtight container in the freezer.

You can freeze the cake whole, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. When making a 9×13 dessert for just our family, I often cut the cake in half and wrap a portion tightly before sliding it into a gallon-size freezer bag.

Frozen cake can be thawed in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Feel free to warm a frozen slice in the microwave if you’re impatient and want it for an afternoon snack – not that I would know anything about that.

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce square piece on white plate with cream and fork

Caramel Apple Cake

Apples and caramel is a classic food pairing that simply doesn’t get old. That’s part of the reason why this apple spice cake topped with caramel sauce is a guaranteed win. The other reason? It’s just plain irresistible.

Crisp apples are caramelized and then layered in between a buttery brown sugar crust in these Apple Pie Bars with Bourbon Caramel Sauce. Strudel topping before baking turns into chewy sweet bars.

Chewy edges, crazy moist blondies, and a crackling crust add up to these mouthwatering, slightly sweet Apple Brownies.

With little more than fresh apples, cream, sugar, and spices, this German Apple Pie is loaded with so much flavor you’ll hardly believe how easy it is to make.

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Servings: 16 servings

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  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9×13 pan with butter or line with parchment. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.

  • Whisk the eggs lightly and then whisk in the sour cream. Add the milk and butter and whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Gently fold in the apples.

  • Scoop the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle generously with the raw sugar. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.

  • Serve with warm salted caramel sauce poured over the top.

Calories: 322kcal · Carbohydrates: 48g · Protein: 5g · Fat: 13g · Saturated Fat: 7g · Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g · Monounsaturated Fat: 3g · Trans Fat: 1g · Cholesterol: 61mg · Sodium: 171mg · Potassium: 257mg · Fiber: 2g · Sugar: 21g · Vitamin A: 431IU · Vitamin C: 2mg · Calcium: 111mg · Iron: 2mg

{Originally published 10/16/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 3/15/23}

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

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