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
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!
Thanks for catching that Candace, yes, it’s 2 cups, 240 grams!
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.
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!
Can you use pan size 10×15
The cake will take less time to cook in the larger pan, so be aware of that.
This sheet cake is absolutly amazing! I can’t wait to bake it again it was such a hit with my family.
This is so perfect!! Everyone at my house really loved it!
Apple and caramel is such a delicious flavour combination and this looks delicious.
This looks out of this world delicious! My family loves apples and we always have tons of them! Can’t wait to make this!
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!
We did the same, now I’m in apple heaven 🙂
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?
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.
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… 😉