Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Published Date: September 7, 2023

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Caramel apple sheet cake with a slice missing.

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is a sweet cinnamon cake loaded with tender apple chunks and covered in a homemade caramel frosting! The perfect fall treat that’s easy to make!

Caramel apple sheet cake with a slice missing.

The Perfect Fall Sheet Cake!

Everyone knows that September, October, and even November is prime time for making homemade apple desserts! Therefore, this delicious Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is a must-try!

The best part about this dessert, aside from its fall flavor and easy ingredients, is that it’s a sheet cake recipe! Meaning it serves a crowd! Making it perfect for those fall family gatherings, Thanksgiving, and even Football season!

Overhead photo of ingredients to make caramel apple sheet cake on a marble counter.

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake Ingredients

  • Apples
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Water
  • Sour Cream
  • Large Eggs
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Heavy Cream
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla Extract

Pair your freshly picked apples from your local orchard with pantry staple ingredients to create this easy fall cake! The sour cream encourages this cake to come out perfectly moist while the ground cinnamon pairs with the chopped apples to create a mouthwatering spiced apple cake flavor!

Once baked, the cake is finished off with a homemade caramel frosting that’s deliciously smooth and creamy!

What kind of apples are best for baking?

The best apples to use for baking largely comes down to personal preference. I prefer making this baked apple dessert with Granny Smith or Honeycrisp.

Honeycrisp apples are easy to find and bake up really nicely! A bonus to using Honeycrisp is the slight touch of honey flavor they add to the recipe.

As for granny smith apples, they’re a go-to option for lots of bakers since they’re tart and hold their shape the best during baking. Their tart flavor balances out sweet desserts such as this one to prevent it from becoming too sweet.

Other great apple options for baking include Cortland, Braeburn, Empire, Jonathan, and McIntosh. However, if using McIntosh apples, I would suggest keeping in mind that this type of apple is really soft and breaks down quite a bit when baking.

Therefore, I’d recommend also using a sturdier apple such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious.

A slice of caramel apple sheet cake on a green jade plate.

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake Substitutions & Variations

  • Unsalted Butter – Using unsalted butter in baking allows for more flavor control. However, if needed, you can use salted butter and omit the 1/2 teaspoon of salt in the apple cake recipe.
  • Light Brown Sugar – Dark brown sugar can be used in place of light brown sugar. Just keep in mind this will slightly alter the final flavor of the icing.
  • Frosting – Try this cake with my Easy Salted Caramel Frosting for a tasty frosting variation!
  • Add Nuts – Add a slight bite of crunch to this cake by adding chopped walnuts or pecans to the cake batter or topping the finished cake with them!

How To Make Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Step 1: Chop the apples and set them aside.

Apples being peeled and chopped on a cutting board.

Step 2: Whisk all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set this flour mixture aside.

Sugar and flour being whisked together in a green bowl.

Step 3: Melt unsalted butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Then add in the water and bring it to a simmer.

Melted butter in a saucepan.

Step 4: Pour the melted butter and water mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.

Melted butter poured over dry ingredients to make cake.

Step 5: Mix in the sour cream and the beaten eggs and mix until combined.

beaten eggs and sour cream added to cake batter.

Step 6: Fold the chopped apples into the cake batter.

Chopped apples folded into cake batter in a green bowl.

Step 7: Spread the batter evenly into a greased baking pan. Then transfer the pan to the oven to bake.

Apple cake batter in a large sheet pan.

Step 8: Bake the apple cake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean or with a few soft crumbs. Then, allow the cake to cool in the pan.

Overhead photo of apple sheet cake.

Step 9: Prepare the icing by melting unsalted butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Then add in light brown sugar and heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.

Step 10: Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the heavy cream mixture to cool slightly.

Icing being made in a small saucepan at a rolling boil.

Step 11: Whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Mix on high until the icing becomes smooth and creamy.

Powdered sugar being whisked into icing in a small saucepan.

Step 12: Spread the icing evenly over the cooled cake.

Icing being poured over the cooled cake.

How To Serve Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Once the cake has cooled and been frosted, I suggest letting the icing set for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving. This will allow it to firm up a bit, which will make it easier to slice and serve.

You can then serve the cake garnished with fresh apple slices, chopped walnuts or pecans, or even a scoop of ice cream on the side!

How To Store Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Store Caramel Apple Sheet Cake tightly covered or transfer slices into an airtight container. Leftovers can then be stored at room temperature for 2 days or stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

Since this cake is made with chopped apples, I do find it has the best taste and texture when enjoyed within 24 hours of making it.

Overhead photo of apple sheet cake on a wooden table.

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake FAQs

How do I prevent clumps from forming in homemade frosting?

The best way to avoid getting clumps when making homemade frosting is to mix it using a hand mixer or stand mixer instead of a whisk.

Why is my apple cake wet?

It’s possible that the apple cake wasn’t baked long enough or that the apples used were a type that bakes up mushy. I recommend using a sturdier apple that holds up well with baking, such as Granny Smith or Honey Crisp.

How long does homemade apple cake last?

For longer storage, it’s best to keep this apple cake in the fridge. When stored in the fridge, this cake will remain enjoyable for 3 to 4 days.

What’s the difference between apple pie and apple cake?

Apple pie is made in a pie dish with a bottom crust and usually a top crust. The filling for apple pie is gooey and filled with spiced apples. Whereas apple cake is simply a cake that’s studded with chopped apples, it isn’t made with a pie crust or has a gooey pie filling.

A slice of apple sheet cake with caramel icing on a green plate on a wooden table.
A slice of caramel apple sheet cake on a green jade plate.

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is a sweet cinnamon cake loaded with tender apple chunks and covered in a homemade caramel frosting! The perfect fall treat that's easy to make!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: apple cake, apple sheet cake, caramel apple cake
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Cooling Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 20 people
Calories: 474kcal

INGREDIENTS

Apple Cake

  • 3 cups chopped and peeled apples Granny Smith or Honeycrisp recommended
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs

Caramel Icing

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups light brown sugar packed
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 12×17 or 12×18-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
  • Chop 3 cups chopped and peeled apples and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan, melt the ½ cup unsalted butter over medium heat. Add 1 cup water and bring to a simmer.
  • Pour the butter and water mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until combined.
  • Mix in the ½ cup sour cream, then the 2 large eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated.
  • Fold in the chopped apples.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.
  • Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for about 1 hour before icing.

Icing

  • In a large saucepan, melt the 1 cup unsalted butter over medium heat. Add the 2 cups light brown sugar and ¾ cup heavy cream. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the 3½ cups powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, until the icing is smooth and creamy. If the icing seems too thick, you can add a little more heavy cream, a tablespoon at a time, to reach the desired consistency.
  • Quickly pour the icing over the cooled cake, spreading evenly. The icing will begin to set very fast and be hard to spread and work with as it cools.
  • Let the cake set for 20 minutes after icing before slicing and serving.

NOTES

  • You can use a hand mixer on high speed to make the icing to reduce the risk of clumps. 

NUTRITION

Calories: 474kcal | Carbohydrates: 77g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 106mg | Potassium: 100mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 65g | Vitamin A: 632IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 1mg

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Gabby Hubbell Family Busy Family Recipes Author

From one busy family to another, I see you.

Hi, I’m Gabby! From crockpots to one-pot recipes, we’re eager to make dinner time a breeze for you and your family. Follow along for recipes even the pickiest of eaters will enjoy time and time again!
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