Gooey Caramel Apple Cake

Gooey apple cake with caramel

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
485 Calories
27g Fat
55g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 485
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 35%
Saturated Fat 8g 40%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 426mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 55g 20%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 6g
Calcium 212mg 16%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Apple season might be the obvious time to bake with apples, but there's no reason to wait until fall. Fresh, crisp apples are available in supermarkets year-round, so why put off making this amazing gooey caramel apple cake? 

This easy one-layer cake is moist and perfectly spiced, and it contains a full two cups of chopped apples. But the thing that takes this cake to the next level is the hot caramel topping. It's a simple boiled combination of butter, brown sugar, and cream flavored with a splash of pure vanilla extract

Different varieties of apples have different characteristics. Some are better for baking, some are better for eating, some stay firm when cooked, and some break down. Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, and Jonathan, or Jonagold are all excellent baking apples. 


  • For the Cake:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (pure)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 medium tart apples (peeled, cored and coarsely chopped)
  • For the Caramel Topping:
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (firmly packed)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (pure)

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

  2. Grease and flour a 9-inch square baking pan.

  3. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir with a spoon or wire whisk and set aside.

  4. In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together 1 cup of brown sugar, the vegetable oil, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and beat until the batter is smooth.

  5. To the batter, add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Fold the chopped apples into the batter.

  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

  7. Bake the apple cake in the preheated oven until it is firm and springs back when touched lightly in the center with a finger, or about 30 to 40 minutes. 

  8. Meanwhile, make the caramel topping.

  9. In a heavy saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup of brown sugar,  1/4 cup of butter, and the heavy cream. Place the pan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low to maintain a simmer; continue cooking, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

  10. With a fork, pierce the hot cake all over.

  11. Pour the hot caramel topping over the cake.

  12. Serve the cake warm or at room temperature with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream or whipped topping. Alternatively, serve with a scoop of ice cream.

  13. Store leftover cake well-wrapped or in an airtight container for about 2 to 3 days at room temperature or up to 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.


  • Make sure to choose a neutral-flavored oil for the cake, such as canola oil, grapeseed oil, or plain vegetable oil. Avoid oils that alter the flavor of the cake, such as olive oil or coconut oil.


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