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Easy Caramel Apple Pecan Cake

A taste of fall in an easy dessert, this Caramel Apple Cake comes together quickly and is studded with fresh apple, pecans and layered with a gooey caramel-pecan topping.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple, cake, caramel, dessert, easy, fall
Servings: 20 servings


Apple 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

Caramel-Pecan Topping

  • 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.