Caramel Apple Cake is a taste of fall in an easy dessert, filled with fall spice,
studded with fresh apple and layered with a gooey caramel-pecan topping!
Let’s start the week off with an easy dessert to add to your fall “to bake” list~
Caramel Apple-Pecan Cake!
I had some fresh-picked apples ready for baking from my
You can use any apple that is suitable for baking from the store or apple picking.
Gala, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Golden Delicious
or Granny Smith would all be good candidates.
This easy and delicious recipe is adapted from The Shenandoah Valley Apple Cake
recipe in The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook.
This is a moist and flavorful cake and oh the aroma while baking. . . !
I made just a few changes, one of which was in the spices, as it called for
cinnamon and ground nutmeg. I only had whole nutmeg and didn’t want to spend 20 minutes
grating a teaspoon required, so I reached for the pumpkin pie spice in the pantry.
Spice blends can vary brand but my McCormick Pumpkin Pie Spice
only differs from their Apple Pie Spice with the addition of ginger,
both containing cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.
If you close your eyes and sniff your pumpkin pie spice and it brings to mind
the aroma of an apple pie fresh from the oven, don’t hesitate
to reach for pumpkin pie spice for your fall apple recipes.
This is an oil-based cake recipe, so basically you blend your ingredients and pour it into your pan.
You can use any neutral flavored oil that’s in your pantry . . .canola, vegetable, corn or safflower.
While butter is usually preferred for the flavor over oil when baking,
there are benefits to using oil in your cake.
Benefits of an oil-based cake:
- Oil-based cakes are typically one-bowl recipes so there is less clean up.
- They come together quickly, skipping the step of softening butter and creaming it with sugar.
- They stay moist longer after baking and their flavor tends to intensify the longer they sit.
- They’re more likely to be tender as the over mixing steps are eliminated that cause gluten development and makes for a tough cake.
The other change I made to the recipe was toasting the pecans, and adding them to the caramel topping.
Toasting nuts brings out the natural oils and enhances their flavor.
It only takes 6 – 8 minutes to toast pecans in the oven while prepping your ingredients.
Set your timer so you don’t forget and burn them or take them out as soon as you smell
them, your nose knows :) when they’re ready.
I also substituted salted butter in the caramel topping which helps
balance the sweetness of the caramel, but use unsalted butter if you prefer.
I shared this cake with my sister this weekend and it was declared a keeper!
Keep any leftovers in the fridge. Serve it at room temperature or
we enjoyed it cold from the fridge and with a cup of coffee or mug of hot tea.
The contrast of cold and hot was very appealing and delicious!
Find a harvest of Fresh Picked Apple Recipes, HERE.
The winner of a copy of The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook
is Mary Anne McWhirter!
The Southern Entertainer’s Cookbook: Heirloom Recipes for Modern Gatherings
is available whereever books are sold, online and on Amazon.
Easy Caramel Apple Pecan Cake
- 1 1/2 cups canola or neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 cups apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (use a baking apple variety such as Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Braeburn, Pink Lady or Granny Smith)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons apple or pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
To toast pecans
- Toasting pecans or any nuts brings out the natural oils and enhances the flavor in recipes and is easy to do! Spread nuts in an even layer on a sheet pan in a 350°oven for 6-8 minutes or until fragrant. Your nose knows :) when they’re done. Remove from oven and allow them to cool.
To make cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 9 x 13 pan with nonstick spray.
- In large bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, salt, eggs, apple pie spice, baking soda and vanilla.
- Add the flour, stirring until well blended.
- Fold in chopped apples and pecans with a rubber spatula. Batter will be thick.
- Pour batter into sprayed pan and bake 45 – 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool in pan before adding topping.
To make caramel topping
- Melt butter in a sauce pan.
- Add half and half and brown sugar, stirring over medium heat until sugar is melted.
- Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
- Pour over cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted pecans. Caramel topping will thicken and firm as it cools.
- Store leftovers in refrigerator up to 5 days. Allow cake to come to room temperature before serving or is also good cold.
- Apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice both contain cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice. Pumpkin pie spice has the addition of ginger. If you close your eyes and sniff your pumpkin pie spice and it brings to mind the aroma of an apple pie fresh from the oven, don’t hesitate to reach for it for your fall apple recipes.
- For accurate measuring of flour, fluff your flour from the canister or bag and then spoon into your measuring cup so it’s overflowing, then level off with the edge of a knife. Scooping directly from the bag or canister will yield a heavier cup and larger amount that can negatively affect your baking recipes.
- If using a glass baking dish, reduce oven temperature by 25 degrees and bake up to 10 minutes longer.
Happy Fall Baking!
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