What makes this Caramel Apple Bundt Cake work is a combination of fresh juicy apples in the batter and a rich sweet caramel glaze…together they create complete and utter bundt cake bliss. Let’s just say this is the fall apple dessert of your dreams.
My caramel apple bundt cake should be one of your first fall bakes!
I love the idea of caramel apples, but to be honest I don’t love eating them, they’re too sticky and hard to handle. This moist apple cake has all that good stuff in a much more user friendly form. It’s positively loaded with chunks of apple, and has a thick layer of luxurious caramel icing draped over the top. Toasty pecans complete the caramel apple theme.
Bundt cakes are the quintessential fall dessert, there’s something so homey and inviting about them.
As the season progresses I’ll move on from apple to pumpkin, and make my Best Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread, which is a longtime family favorite and always signaled the change of season for my kids when they were growing up. My daughter in Boston has already put in her request 🙂 Then I’ll definitely move on to my Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake, a personal favorite of mine because I adore anything gingerbread, and this one happens to be gorgeous, too. And somewhere along the line I’m sure someone will
demand request my Chocolate Sour Cream Doughnut Bundt Cake because…chocolate.
This is an easy cake to whip up because you can do everything in a big bowl with a spoonula or whisk. It’s got an oil base, rather than butter, which not only makes it easier, but ensures a moist cake. The multitude of little apple chunks helps in that department too.
The cake releases easily from a bundt pan that’s been prepped correctly: butter AND flour every nook and cranny and you’re good to go.
But let’s be honest, with this cake it’s ALL about the cooked caramel frosting.
I guarantee you’ll be scraping every last bit out of the pan with your spoon and looking pretty desperate while you’re at it (hopefully no one’s looking.) But save all that for later because you have to be on your toes with this frosting…the minute it’s done you have to get to your cake and pour it on because the caramel starts to set up very quickly. In fact the first time I made this cake I was too slow and only the outer half of my cake got glazed. It was still delicious, but I learned a lesson. Don’t hesitate when it comes to hot caramel icing!
Troubleshooting your Caramel Apple Bundt Cake ~
- Your cake won’t come out of the pan: bundt pans don’t last forever, so if yours is old and scratched the nonstick surface may be damaged. It’s not worth risking a failed cake, so update your pans. Also make sure you butter AND flour the entire surface of the pan before you add your batter.
- Parts of your cake stuck to the pan: this moist, chunky cake is not appropriate for intricate bundt cake shapes. Use a classic simple bundt without lots of detail.
- Your cake tastes wonderful but it’s soggy inside: this probably means it’s been undercooked. Possibly your oven is not at the correct temperature (get an inexpensive oven thermometer to hang inside so you always know exactly what the real temperature is.) Or perhaps your bundt pan was too small; this is a large cake and needs a standard full sized 10-12 cup bundt pan like the one I used, here. One more possibility is that you used too many apples. 3-3 1/2 cups is plenty, and for extra assurance, be sure to weigh them according to the recipe.
- Your cake is dry: this cake is unlikely to be dry, but if that happens it either means your oven is too hot and your cake has over-baked, or maybe you’ve measured out too much flour. Use the fluff/scoop/and level method: fluff up your flour before lightly scooping it with your measuring cup, then level off with the side of a knife. To be extra sure you can weigh your flour according to the recipe.
- Your frosting has lumps: I find I sometimes get lumps even when I sift my confectioner’s sugar, so I like to use electric beaters to really get it smooth. Sometimes I even blitz my frosting in my food processor. It’s unconventional, but it makes a perfectly silky caramel frosting. If you do this you may want to put your caramel back over the heat to rewarm it before frosting the cake.
Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
- a standard 10-12 cup bundt pan
- 1 1/2 cups or 375 ml vegetable oil
- 1 cup or 213 grams sugar
- 1 cup or 254 grams packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3 large eggs
- 2 3/4 cups or 394 grams flour
- 1/4 cup or 35 grams corn starch
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 heaped cups or 400 grams chopped apples apples peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch dice (this was 2-1/2 apples for me)
- 1/4 cup or 55 grams unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup or 80 grams heavy cream
- 1 cup packed brown sugar or 168 grams
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 cups or 217 grams powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup or 37 grams chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 325F Butter and flour a standard bundt pan.
- In your largest mixing bowl whisk together the oil, sugars, vanilla, and spices.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt, and fold into the wet ingredients. Fold in the apples.
- Turn into your prepared pan and spread out if necessary.
- Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. The cake should be nicely browned, fully risen, with small cracks down the center.
- Let the cake cool on a rack for 15 minutes, then carefully run a thin spreading knife around the edges to make sure they're loosened before turning out of the pan onto a plate or platter. Let cool before frosting.
- When the cake is cool, make the frosting. (Don't make it ahead of time because it firms up quickly as it cools.) Heat the butter, sugar, and cream in a sauce pan, stirring constantly, until it comes to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and whisk or blend in the powdered sugar. Whisk or beat to remove any lumps. If the frosting is too thick you can add a small amount of cream, and if it's too thin you can add more sugar. Put it back on the heat to loosen it if it stiffens too soon.
- Immediately pour over the cake, working quickly to pour it over the entire top, letting it drip down the sides. Top with the crushed pecans while the frosting is still soft.
notes and variations