Caramel Apple Sheet Cake




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taking a bite of a piece of caramel glazed apple cake

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is a moist apple studded cake (almost a blondie) glazed with a thick layer of caramel icing  ~ it’s a favorite fall apple dessert that’s quick and easy to make!

caramel glazed apple cake on parchment paper with a fork

Caramel apple cake is a sweet fall indulgence

If you cross a caramel apple with an apple sheet cake you’d get something like this delicious dessert. It’s super moist and quite sweet, with plenty of juicy apple in every bite. And after the summer from @#%# I think we all deserve a treat, don’t you?

I went apple picking over the weekend and I’m in full-on Fall mode.  If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen me in my cute mask, we social distanced and scored bags of amazing apples (along with more than a few apple cider doughnuts.)

A wooden bowl full of macintosh apples

The best apples for baking?

Firm slightly tart apples like Granny Smith are my choice for best texture and flavor in baking.  I also like Honeycrisp, Jonagold, and SweeTango.

But honestly?  The best apples for baking are the apples you’ve got on hand. For this particular cake, which is quite sweet, I find tart apples work best.

Sweetango apples for Baked Brie with Maple, Apples, and Pecans ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com

Scratch your fall baking itch with apples!

So many of my favorite recipes for early fall, feature apples, like apple cider doughnut cake, apple cider doughnut muffins, or my apple fritter bread.  It’s definitely my favorite time to bake, so you can expect all sorts of easy snacky little treats to come your way this month and next, and apples are the ingredient of the moment!

apple cake batter in pan

This cake requires no heavy equipment…you’ll whip up the cake and the frosting in a saucepan on the stove, so easy.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • apples ~ firm tart apples are best for baking, I used Granny Smith.  No need to peel them!
  • all purpose flour
  • butter
  • eggs
  • sugar ~ granulated and brown (use light or dark brown sugar)
  • buttermilk ~ makes a tender cake with a subtle tang.  Use half and half or milk instead, or better yet, make your own buttermilk!
  • baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla

 

caramel apple cake with glaze, in pan with knife

How to make a pourable caramel frosting

I’ve made lots of variations on this simple cook-and-pour type frosting. I just LOVE the sweet, crackly texture and buttery taste. It’s kind of like a cross between a glaze and a proper frosting, and is super easy and quick to make in a saucepan. Fair warning: it’s so insanely good that you’ll be hunched over the pan with a spoon scraping out every last bit, trust me.

  • Melt butter, half and half, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar.
  • Add (sifted) powdered sugar and vanilla, off the heat, and whisk until incorporated.
  • Put back on very low heat and stir until any little lumps of powdered sugar dissolve.
  • Pour over your cooled, or slightly warm, cake.  It starts to set up immediately.

You’ll know the texture of this cooked frosting if you’ve ever tried my Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake, my Brown Sugar Peach Cake, or my Maple Frosted Apple Blondies. I love the way it crackles on top when you cut into it, it’s the best!

a piece of caramel apple cake on a white plate with fork

My best sheet cakes for fall ~

taking a bite of a piece of caramel glazed apple cake

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caramel apple cake with glaze, in pan with knife
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5 from 22 votes

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is a moist apple studded cake (almost a blondie) glazed with a thick layer of caramel icing  ~ it's a favorite fall apple dessert that's quick and easy to make!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Yield 20 servings
Calories 351kcal

Ingredients

Cake

  • 2 cups (254 grams) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • 1 cup (235 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups (200 grams) cored and chopped apples (no need to peel) I used Granny Smith apples, and I think firm tart apples work best.

Caramel frosting

  • 1/2 cup (118 ml) half and half (or heavy cream)
  • 6 Tbsp (85 grams)butter
  • 1 cup (200 grams) packed brown sugar (use light or dark)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups (240 grams) confectioner's sugar, sifted

Instructions

Cake

  • Preheat the oven to 350F Lightly spray and flour a 9x13 pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Put the butter and water in a large heavy bottom saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk or stir in the flour. Then mix in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla, stirring just until blended, don't overmix.
  • Fold in the apples and turn the batter into your pan, spreading out evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched and a toothpick comes out without wet batter on it (moist crumbs are fine.) Let cool on a rack.

Frosting

  • Note: wait until the cake has cooled for at least 20 minutes before making the frosting. To make the frosting, heat the half and half, butter, and brown sugar in a saucepan until it comes to a boil, stirring constantly. Take off the heat and beat in the vanilla and sifted confectioner's sugar (I like to use a whisk.) At this point I put the pan back on the warm burner and whisk or stir until any lumps disappear. The warmth will keep the frosting from setting. Quickly spread over the cake, the frosting will set up quickly at this point.

Notes

Yummy variations:

  • If you don't have buttermilk you can use milk, half and half, cream, or make your own buttermilk by adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to milk, half and half, or cream and let sit for 15 minutes.
  • Use pears in place of apples.
  • Add in some chopped pecans or walnuts.
*Cake recipe adapted from Tessa Arias at Handle the Heat
* Caramel frosting recipe from my Pecan Praline Pumpkin Cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 351kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 75mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 45g | Vitamin A: 488IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

fall food image

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20 Comments

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  • Reply
    Suzi
    September 27, 2020 at 6:59 am

    Okay, Sue. I know you’re an L.A. girl, so where did you go apple picking? The only place I know of is Oak Glen, and I didn’t think they were in good shape with the fire. Can’t wait to make this, and maybe some apple butter, too!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 27, 2020 at 7:43 am

      There’s a very interesting answer to that Suzi 😉 I’ll be letting everybody know in an email soon…

  • Reply
    Sue
    September 26, 2020 at 4:29 pm

    5 stars
    Love love love this. I made it today and it is delicious. Should I store the leftover in the fridge? Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 26, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      Glad you loved it Sue. I did leave mine out overnight, but you can refrigerate if you like.

  • Reply
    Blair
    September 15, 2020 at 8:31 pm

    I made this to share, and it was delicious! Thank for sharing a great recipe!

  • Reply
    Candace
    September 15, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    5 stars
    Just made this, Sue and it’s a hit! I wonder, though, if you meant to say 240 grams of powder sugar for the frosting. I measured out 120 and it didn’t look like two cups, so I used a regular measuring cup to check. Sure enough, it was only one cup. Or perhaps you meant just one cup of powdered sugar. In either case, two cups made a great frosting! This recipe will go into regular rotation!
    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 15, 2020 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks for catching that Candace, yes, it’s 2 cups, 240 grams!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    September 14, 2020 at 2:13 pm

    Oh boy. I just made this and had a taste before serving for dessert. I will be making this again and again. So good and so unfussy to make. A go-to dessert for sure.

  • Reply
    Jill
    September 13, 2020 at 10:39 am

    5 stars
    This cake is delicious! I don’t know how to determine how many and what size apples equals 2 cups so I tried 2 large Granny Smiths. That gave me 3 cups of chopped apples and I decided to use all of them rather than throw away the leftovers. The extra moisture gave it more of a bread pudding consistency but the frosting held it together enough to cut into squares and the taste was amazing. Great recipe Sue!

  • Reply
    Donna Townley
    September 12, 2020 at 7:10 am

    Can you use pan size 10×15

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 12, 2020 at 7:14 am

      The cake will take less time to cook in the larger pan, so be aware of that.

  • Reply
    Jacque
    September 11, 2020 at 7:00 am

    5 stars
    This sheet cake is absolutly amazing! I can’t wait to bake it again it was such a hit with my family.

  • Reply
    Toni
    September 11, 2020 at 6:52 am

    5 stars
    This is so perfect!! Everyone at my house really loved it!

  • Reply
    Dannii
    September 11, 2020 at 6:47 am

    5 stars
    Apple and caramel is such a delicious flavour combination and this looks delicious.

  • Reply
    Beth
    September 11, 2020 at 6:29 am

    5 stars
    This looks out of this world delicious! My family loves apples and we always have tons of them! Can’t wait to make this!

  • Reply
    Lauren R.
    September 11, 2020 at 5:29 am

    5 stars
    We just picked a ton of apples and I was looking for some new and different ways to use them. This caramel apple cake is so perfect for fall and delicious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 11, 2020 at 5:30 am

      We did the same, now I’m in apple heaven 🙂

  • Reply
    SallyBR
    September 10, 2020 at 6:40 am

    Lovely cake! I would love to know, does the top sets hard enough that squares could be wrapped in saran wrap and sit at room temperature for a while without getting too messy?

    • Reply
      Sue
      September 10, 2020 at 6:46 am

      Hi Sally ~ the cake is so moist that even though the icing hardens, if you wrap it tightly in plastic it will go soft. I just laid a piece of foil over the top, no need to even crimp the edges, it stays pretty soft even exposed to air. So to answer your question I don’t think it’s a good choice for wrapping individually in plastic, bake sale style. But honestly I haven’t tried, so if you let the frosting fully harden, you might be able to do it.

      • Reply
        SallyBR
        September 10, 2020 at 7:02 am

        I can see that to be the case… thank you!!!!

        I could still do it to share with co-workers, as I can set the pieces open, but for donation to the place I normally do, it would not work, I am afraid…

        I can almost taste it through your pictures… 😉