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 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 all the summer heat and hectic-ness I think we all deserve a treat, don’t you?
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.
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!
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
- 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
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!
all my best sheet cakes for fall –
- The Best Pumpkin Crunch Cake
- Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Cake
- Super Easy Cinnamon Coffee Cake
- Gingerbread Crumb Cake
Caramel Apple Sheet 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.
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350F Lightly spray and flour a 9×13 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Questions and Reviews
I’m going to make this tomorrow. This seems to be a variation of Texas Sheet Cake, just apple instead of chocolate. When I make Texas Sheet Cake I always add pecans to the topping. Would you do this, or add nuts to the cake itself, and maybe raisins as well. Also, do you prefer light or dark brown sugar. Your recipes never fail, I’m so excited to try this. TIA for answering my questions.
Hi Daisy, and thanks so much! I think nuts are always good, so yes, go for it. They’d make the topping really pretty, too. I usually use light brown sugar, but either one will work.
This was SO tasty! The cake was tender and the frosting/glaze put it over the top. It was even better the next day because the glaze had soaked in a bit. Great recipe!
Hi Sue, quick question, I don’t really like super sweet desserts so could I cut the sugar and brown sugar by 1/2 in the cake?? (1 cup total?) I’m so excited to get started on fall baking and this looks like a perfect beginning! Thank you!
The general rule of thumb is that you can safely cut 1/3 of the sugar in a recipe without too much trouble, so I’d start there.
This cake is the bomb! My mama used to make it and it is foolproof ‘cause mama ain’t no cook! It is so moist and is even better the second and third day if there’s any left!
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!
There’s a very interesting answer to that Suzi 😉 I’ll be letting everybody know in an email soon…
Love love love this. I made it today and it is delicious. Should I store the leftover in the fridge? Thanks for the recipe.
Glad you loved it Sue. I did leave mine out overnight, but you can refrigerate if you like.
I made this to share, and it was delicious! Thank for sharing a great recipe!