Fall is officially here! Time for apples, pumpkins, changing leaves, and cooler weather. This cake represents everything I love about this time of year! The perfect blend of spice and sweet and all the flavors of the season. With a single bite, I wanted to wrap up in my favorite sweater, watch my high school football game, and go jump in some leaves. It is the perfect dessert to usher in the fall and an instant all-time favorite. Yes, it is that good!
This cake has a lot of steps, but the steps are pretty easy and it is so worth it! The caramel sauce is to die for! I couldn’t stop eating it. The cake itself was delicious and my husband told me he would like to try it warm out of the oven with no filling or buttercream. The cake by itself is that full of flavor. One tip I will give is while making the caramel sauce to watch it very carefully while it is boiling. I looked away for a minute and it had turned a darker color then I wanted! It still tasted great but I would have preferred it a little lighter. It seemed to take forever to turn a caramel color, but when it starts to change color is just sneaks up on you! Also, I used light corn syrup but you can use light or regular it doesn’t matter.
Recipe adapted from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
Caramel Apple Layer Cake
Prep Time: 45
Cook Time: 35
Keywords: bake dessert cake
Ingredients (8 inch cake)
For The Apple Cake
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups unsweetened applesauce
For The Caramel Sauce
- Yield: about 2 cups
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup corn syrup
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
For The Caramel Buttercream
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1⁄3 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄3 cup plus 2 tablespoons Classic Caramel Sauce (see recipe above), at room temperature
Method for Apple Cake
Preheat the oven to 325-degrees. Butter four 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together into a large bowl. Set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely
Method for Caramel Sauce
In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/2 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t slosh any of it up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color (if you don’t want to eyeball it, take the caramel to 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined.
You can save the caramel sauce, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using it on cakes, ice creams, or quick breads.
If you want a warm topping, heat the caramel sauce in short bursts in the microwave or in the top of a double boiler.
Method for Buttercream
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil and has thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until cool. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter and vanilla; mix until thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy.
Add 1⁄3 cup of the caramel and continue mixing until combined. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, set the
bowl over a pot of simmering water and beat with a wooden spoon until it is the proper consistency.
Assembly of cake
Place one of the cake layers on the cake base and level off the top. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on the layers and then spread caramel buttercream on top. Next, add another layer of cake and level and frost as you did with the first layer. Repeat with all 4 cakes. Trim the top of the last layer and then place it on top of the cake bottom side up. Spread a very thin layer of frosting over the entire cake (crumb coat) and place the cake on the fridge for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the fridge and use the remaining frosting to ice the top and sides. Use the remaining caramel to drizzle over the top. Add chopped peanuts, if desired.
I really hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do! I highly recommend making this cake for your family, they will love it! I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below if you would like!