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Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

This intricately layered Caramel Apple Cake is the epitome of autumn indulgence. A blend of rich spice cake mix, fresh apples, and a topping of caramel and ganache, it's every dessert lover's dream. Whether you're an experienced baker or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress.

Caramel Apple Cake Recipe
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Photos of Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

While most of the ingredients are standard pantry items like butter, heavy cream, and chocolate chips, there are a few you might need to pick up. The spice cake mix can be found in the baking aisle of most supermarkets. Look for three fresh, crisp apples of your choice. Lastly, you'll need a jar of caramel, which is typically located near the ice cream toppings.

Ingredients for Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

Spice cake mix: Forms the base of the cake, bringing a blend of autumnal spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Apples: Adds a fresh, juicy contrast to the rich cake. Choose any variety you prefer.

Peanuts: Provides a crunchy texture and nutty flavor.

Chocolate chips: Used to make the ganache, creating a rich and indulgent layer.

Heavy cream: Adds richness and creaminess to the ganache and buttercream.

Butter: Gives the buttercream its velvety texture and indulgent taste.

Caramel: Drizzled over the top and combined with the buttercream for a sweet, sticky finish.

Powdered sugar: Sweetens and thickens the buttercream.

Vanilla extract: Enhances the flavors in the buttercream.

Cinnamon: Adds a warm spice to the buttercream, complementing the apple and caramel.

One reader, Damara Irvine says:

star icon star icon star icon star icon star icon

This caramel apple cake recipe is a game-changer! The combination of moist spice cake, rich caramel buttercream, and decadent chocolate ganache is simply divine. The apples and peanuts add a delightful crunch and the caramel drizzle is the perfect finishing touch. It's a showstopper that's guaranteed to impress!

Damara Irvine

Techniques Required for Making Caramel Apple Cake

How to make ganache: Heat heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until bubbles form around the edges. Pour the hot heavy cream over chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let it cool slightly.

How to make buttercream: Beat butter and caramel in a large bowl using a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in powdered sugar, then add vanilla. Mix in heavy cream until smooth.

How to assemble cake: Place the bottom layer of the cake on your serving platter. Spread with buttercream and pour ganache over the buttercream. Place the second layer of the cake on top, then frost the cake entirely with buttercream. Pour ganache over the buttercream, letting it drip over the edges. Refrigerate until the ganache sets, about 10 minutes.

How to decorate with caramel and apples: Pour caramel over the ganache, letting it drip over the edges. Dunk apples in caramel, then place them on top of the cake. Sprinkle chopped peanuts around the apples. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

How To Make Caramel Apple Cake

This caramel apple cake is made with heavy chocolate ganache and caramel buttercream. The cake is topped with apples dunked in caramel.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total: 2 hours 50 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 1boxspice cake mix,plus ingredients called for on box
  • 3apples
  • cuppeanuts,preferably roasted, chopped

For the Ganache:

  • 3cupschocolate chips
  • cupsheavy cream

For the Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1cupbutter,(2 sticks) softened
  • 1cupcaramel,plus more for decoration
  • 4cupspowdered sugar
  • 1tsppure vanilla extract
  • 2tspcinnamon
  • 3tbspheavy cream
  • pinchkosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line two 8 or 9-inch cake pans.

  2. Prepare cake batter according to package instructions. Divide between pans and bake according to package instructions.

  3. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Ganache:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, heat heavy cream until bubbles begins to form around the edges. Add chocolate chips to a large heatproof bowl, then pour hot heavy cream on top.

  2. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let cool slightly.

Caramel Buttercream:

  1. In a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat butter and caramel until light and fluffy. Add vanilla then gradually beat in powdered sugar.

  2. Add heavy cream and mix until smooth.

to assemble the cake:

  1. Place the bottom layer of cake on your serving platter. Spread with buttercream and pour ganache over the buttercream.

  2. Place the second layer of the cake on top then frost the cake entirely with buttercream. Pour ganache over the buttercream, letting the ganache drip over the edges.

  3. Refrigerate until ganache sets for about 10 minutes. Pour caramel over ganache, letting it drip over the edges.

  4. Dunk apples in caramel then place on top. Sprinkle chopped peanuts around the apples.

  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 1099.55kcal
  • Fat: 54.44g
  • Saturated Fat: 31.70g
  • Trans Fat: 0.87g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 11.83g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 2.48g
  • Carbohydrates: 148.63g
  • Fiber: 4.50g
  • Sugar: 96.74g
  • Protein: 8.16g
  • Cholesterol: 114.03mg
  • Sodium: 678.85mg
  • Calcium: 205.82mg
  • Potassium: 168.43mg
  • Iron: 1.89mg
  • Vitamin A: 324.42µg
  • Vitamin C: 3.18mg

Helpful Technique for Perfecting Caramel Apple Cake

When making the caramel buttercream, ensure your butter is at room temperature. This will allow it to blend more smoothly with the caramel, resulting in a creamier, more consistent frosting. Additionally, when pouring the ganache over the buttercream, do it slowly and evenly to achieve the perfect drip effect. This not only enhances the presentation of your caramel apple cake, but also ensures an even distribution of flavors in every bite.

Time-Saving Tips for Preparing This Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop the apples and make the caramel and ganache in advance to save time on the day of baking.

Use store-bought caramel: Save time by using store-bought caramel sauce instead of making it from scratch.

Quick assembly: Use a cake mix for the base to save time on preparing the cake layers.

Efficient decorating: Use a squeeze bottle for the ganache to create perfect drips and save time on decorating the cake.

Multi-task: While the cake is baking, prepare the buttercream and ganache to maximize efficiency.

Substitute Ingredients For Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

  • spice cake mix - Substitute with homemade spice cake mix: You can make your own spice cake mix by combining flour, sugar, baking powder, and a blend of spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. This allows you to control the flavor and quality of the mix.

  • apples - Substitute with pears: Pears can be a great substitute for apples in baking, as they have a similar texture and sweetness. They also pair well with caramel flavors.

  • peanuts - Substitute with pecans: Pecans have a similar nutty flavor and crunch, and they complement the flavors of caramel and apple beautifully.

  • chocolate chips - Substitute with chopped chocolate: Chopped chocolate can be used as a substitute for chocolate chips in ganache. It melts smoothly and creates a rich, creamy ganache.

  • heavy cream - Substitute with coconut cream: Coconut cream can be used as a dairy-free alternative to heavy cream, providing a rich and creamy texture to the ganache.

  • butter - Substitute with vegan butter: Vegan butter can be used as a substitute for regular butter in the caramel buttercream, providing a dairy-free option without compromising on flavor or texture.

  • caramel - Substitute with homemade caramel sauce: You can make your own caramel sauce using sugar, butter, and cream, which allows you to control the sweetness and flavor of the caramel.

  • powdered sugar - Substitute with coconut sugar: Coconut sugar can be used as a less refined alternative to powdered sugar, adding a subtle caramel-like flavor to the buttercream.

  • vanilla extract - Substitute with maple extract: Maple extract can add a warm, caramel-like flavor to the buttercream, complementing the other flavors in the cake.

  • cinnamon - Substitute with apple pie spice: Apple pie spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, which can add warmth and depth of flavor to the cake and buttercream.

  • kosher salt - Substitute with sea salt: Sea salt can be used as a substitute for kosher salt, providing a similar level of saltiness and enhancing the overall flavors of the cake and frosting.

Presentation Ideas for Caramel Apple Cake

  1. Elevate the cake layers: Carefully stack and align the cake layers to create a visually appealing base for the rest of the presentation.

  2. Artful ganache drizzle: Skillfully pour the ganache over the cake, ensuring a smooth and even coverage that adds a touch of elegance to the dessert.

  3. Buttercream finesse: Apply the buttercream with precision, ensuring a flawless and smooth finish on the cake's surface.

  4. Ganache drip perfection: Create controlled and uniform ganache drips along the edges of the cake, showcasing attention to detail and artistry.

  5. Caramel artistry: Skillfully drizzle the caramel over the ganache, allowing it to cascade down the sides in a visually captivating manner.

  6. Apple and peanut placement: Strategically position the caramel-dunked apples and sprinkle the chopped peanuts around them for a visually stunning and balanced presentation.

  7. Refrigeration for precision: Ensure the cake is refrigerated to set the ganache and caramel, maintaining the integrity of the presentation until it is ready to be served.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Caramel Apple Cake

  • To store the caramel apple cake, cover it tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. This will help maintain its freshness and prevent the buttercream and caramel from melting or becoming too soft.

  • If you want to freeze the cake, first let it cool completely to room temperature. Then, wrap it securely in plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Label the wrapped cake with the date and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

  • When you're ready to serve the frozen cake, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Once thawed, unwrap the cake and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before serving.

  • If you have leftover slices of caramel apple cake, you can store them individually in airtight containers or wrap them in plastic wrap before refrigerating. This will help prevent the cake from drying out and keep the caramel and buttercream intact.

  • For best results, consume the stored or frozen cake within the recommended time frames to ensure optimal taste and texture. The longer the cake is stored, the more likely it is to lose its freshness and flavor.

How To Reheat Caramel Apple Cake Leftovers

  • To reheat leftover caramel apple cake, first let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before reheating. This will help the cake reheat more evenly and prevent it from drying out.

  • One of the best ways to reheat the cake is to use a microwave. Place a slice of the cake on a microwave-safe plate and heat it in 15-second intervals until it reaches your desired temperature. Be careful not to overheat the cake, as it can cause the caramel and ganache to melt and become runny.

  • Another great option is to use an oven. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C) and place a slice of the cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the cake loosely with aluminum foil to prevent it from drying out. Heat the cake for about 5-7 minutes, or until it's warmed through.

  • If you want to reheat a larger portion of the cake, you can use a covered dish in the oven. Place the cake in an oven-safe dish and cover it with a lid or aluminum foil. Heat the cake at 350°F (175°C) for about 10-15 minutes, or until it's heated through.

  • For a quick and easy method, you can also reheat the cake in a toaster oven. Place a slice of the cake on a toaster oven tray and heat it at 350°F (175°C) for about 3-5 minutes, or until it's warmed to your liking.

  • If you want to add a little extra flavor and moisture to your reheated cake, try drizzling some warm caramel sauce or chocolate ganache over the top before serving.

Interesting Trivia About Caramel Apple Cake

Caramel apple cake is a delicious dessert that combines the flavors of caramel, apple, and chocolate. It's a perfect treat for fall and can be a great addition to any holiday gathering.

Is Making Caramel Apple Cake at Home Cost-Effective?

This caramel apple cake recipe is moderately cost-effective for a household. The use of basic ingredients like cake mix, apples, and peanuts keeps the cost reasonable. However, the quantity of chocolate chips and heavy cream for the ganache might slightly increase the overall cost. The indulgent nature of the cake makes it a special treat, justifying the cost for occasional enjoyment. Rating: 8/10. Approximate cost for a household of 4 people: $25-$30.

Is Caramel Apple Cake Healthy or Unhealthy?

This caramel apple cake recipe is undeniably indulgent and unhealthy. The main ingredients, such as the spice cake mix, chocolate chips, heavy cream, butter, caramel, and powdered sugar, are all high in calories, sugar, and fat. While the apples do provide some nutritional value, they are overshadowed by the other components. The peanuts offer a small amount of protein and healthy fats, but not enough to counterbalance the overall unhealthy nature of the cake.

To make this recipe healthier, consider the following suggestions:

  • Replace the spice cake mix with a whole wheat or gluten-free alternative, and reduce the amount of sugar in the batter
  • Use dark chocolate chips with a high percentage of cocoa for the ganache, as they contain more antioxidants and less sugar
  • Swap out the heavy cream for a lower-fat alternative, such as coconut milk or Greek yogurt
  • Reduce the amount of butter and caramel in the buttercream, and replace some of the powdered sugar with a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup
  • Increase the number of apples used and incorporate them into the cake batter for added fiber and nutrients
  • Opt for a healthier nut variety, such as almonds or walnuts, and use them as a garnish rather than a main component

Editor's Opinion on Caramel Apple Cake

The combination of warm spice cake, rich chocolate ganache, and creamy caramel buttercream in this recipe creates a delightful symphony of flavors. The addition of fresh apples and crunchy peanuts adds a delightful texture and a touch of tartness to balance the sweetness. The presentation with the caramel-dipped apples and chopped peanuts is visually stunning and adds a playful element to the cake. Overall, this recipe is a perfect blend of fall flavors and textures, making it a show-stopping dessert for any occasion.

Enhance Your Caramel Apple Cake Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Roasted Butternut Squash: Try serving a side of roasted butternut squash with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon for a sweet and savory complement to the caramel apple cake.
Grilled Pork Chops: Grilled pork chops seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices make a delicious and hearty accompaniment to the rich flavors of the caramel apple cake.
Mixed Berry Salad: A refreshing mixed berry salad with a tangy citrus dressing adds a burst of freshness to balance out the sweetness of the caramel apple cake.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Like Caramel Apple Cake

Savory Beef Stew: This hearty beef stew is perfect for a cozy night in. Packed with tender beef, hearty vegetables, and flavorful broth, it's a comforting meal that will warm you up from the inside out.
Citrus Grilled Chicken: This zesty grilled chicken is bursting with bright citrus flavors. The marinade infuses the chicken with a tangy and refreshing taste that pairs perfectly with a side of grilled vegetables or a fresh salad.
Berry Chia Seed Pudding: This healthy and delicious chia seed pudding is packed with juicy berries and creamy coconut milk. It's a satisfying dessert or snack that's loaded with nutrients and natural sweetness.

Appetizers and Main Dishes to Serve with This Recipe

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Impress your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a delicious blend of cheeses, herbs, and breadcrumbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Indulge in this creamy and flavorful spinach and artichoke dip, served with crispy tortilla chips or warm bread. A crowd-pleasing appetizer that will leave everyone coming back for more.
Main Courses:
Chicken Alfredo: Create a creamy and indulgent pasta dish by combining tender chicken with a rich and flavorful Alfredo sauce. Serve it over a bed of al dente fettuccine for a satisfying and comforting meal.
Beef Stir Fry: Whip up a quick and delicious stir fry by sautéing thinly sliced beef with an assortment of colorful vegetables. Season with a savory stir fry sauce and serve over steamed rice for a flavorful and nutritious dish.

Why trust this Caramel Apple Cake Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a perfect treat for any occasion. The rich and moist spice cake, complemented by the sweetness of caramel and the tartness of fresh apples, creates a harmonious blend of tastes. The addition of peanuts provides a satisfying crunch, while the decadent chocolate ganache and luscious caramel buttercream add a touch of indulgence. With the careful layering and assembly of these components, this recipe promises a delightful and visually stunning dessert that will surely impress and satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth.

Share your thoughts on the Caramel Apple Cake recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know how it turned out for you!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of cake mix for this recipe?
Yes, you can use a different type of cake mix if you prefer. A yellow cake mix or a white cake mix would work well with the caramel apple flavors.
Can I make this cake in advance?
Yes, you can make this cake in advance. The flavors actually meld together nicely if the cake is made a day ahead. Just be sure to store it in the refrigerator.
Can I use a different type of nut instead of peanuts?
Absolutely! You can use any type of nut you prefer or omit them altogether if you have a nut allergy.
Can I use store-bought caramel sauce instead of making my own?
Yes, you can use store-bought caramel sauce if you're short on time. Just make sure it's a good quality sauce for the best flavor.
Can I use a different type of apple for this cake?
Yes, you can use a different type of apple if you prefer. Granny Smith apples are great for their tartness, but you can use any variety you like.

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