• pinterest
  • facebook


by Christa on October 25, 2009

Caramel Apple Spice Cake
with Brown Butter Frosting & Toasted Pecans!

Hello friends! I was inspired to make this recipe after eating a killer caramel apple… and let me just say, this cake is 10 X better than that caramel apple (and those are hard to beat!) My pictures of this cake make the cake look VERY hard and not fluffy, but its actually EXTREMELY moist and dense. The original recipe called for too much sour cream, and not enough baking soda… so I went ahead and modified it, so when you all make this cake it’s perfectly fluffy, but still just as moist!
It tastes like you’re biting right into CHRISTMAS!

Thank you to all of you who entered my “Hello, Cupcake” Book Giveaway. The winner of the giveaway is PATRICIA from BUTTERYUM!!!! Please contact me within the next 24 hrs. or another winner will be chosen!


Print This Post Print This Post


  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light molasses
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons groundcinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons groundallspice
  • 1 teaspoon groundnutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon groundginger
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 Granny Smithapples, peeled and shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract


  • One 14-ounce bag caramels
  • 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) mascarpone (Italian cream cheese, available at most grocery stores)

  • 2 cups pecan pieces, toasted (optional)

  1. Place one oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and a second rack in the top third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350Β°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with butter orcooking spray, then line each with a parchment paper round and grease the rounds.
  2. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the molasses. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices to blend. Add the flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter. (Start and end with the flour mixture, adding the flour mixture in 3 increments and the sour cream in 2 increments.) After each addition, mix on low speed just to combine the ingredients. Stir in the shredded apples, vanilla, and ginger.
  3. Spoon the batter (it will be thick) evenly into the prepared pans. Place two cake pans side by side on one rack and the third on the other. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until firm to the touch. Monitor the layers carefully for doneness; each one may be done at a different time. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pans and unmold the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely, 15 to 30 minutes, before frosting.
  4. The cakes can be kept frozen, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 3 weeks. Defrost them at room temperature before unwrapping. Frost immediately.

To make the frosting:

  1. In a medium stainless-steel bowl, combine the unwrapped caramels, 2 tablespoons of the cream, and the 2 tablespoons butter. Place over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Stir the caramel mixture until smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat. Let cool, stirring the mixture every few minutes until cool to the touch, about 20 minutes. (If the mixture is too warm, it will melt the buttercream frosting when it is stirred in later.)
  2. While the caramel is cooling, make the buttercream: Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the 1 1/2 cups butter on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, until pale in color. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons cream and the vanilla and powdered sugar, and beat for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the mascarpone and beat on medium-low speed until incorporated. Do not overbeat the mascarpone, or it may separate. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooled caramel mixture to drizzle over the cake once it is frosted. Stir the remainder of the caramel into the frosting, using large strokes to create caramel swirls throughout. Don’t stir it too much or the ribbons of caramel will disappear.
  3. Place one cake layer on a serving plate and spread a thick blanket of frosting on top. Add the second layer and spread thickly with frosting. Add the third layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with an even layer of frosting. Use a small spoon to drizzle the reserved 1/4 cup of caramel over the top of the cake. Pat on the toasted pecan pieces to cover the sides of the cake.

  • Related posts:

    { 43 comments… read them below or add one }

    ButterYum October 25, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Whoo-hoo…. I'm so excited. Thank you so much!!!


    PS – I am so going to make this cake… Mascarpone and caramel…. hello!!!


    Gloria October 25, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    Mini baker this is absolutely amazing and delicious! gloria


    The Fancy Lady October 25, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    im about to drool on the screen i need to make this my family would love it lol


    Leslie October 26, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Ohhhhhh my..I am soooooo going to have to put this in my "to bake" list


    EAT! October 26, 2009 at 12:20 am

    What an amazing cake! And it has all the fall flavors I love. Thanks for post it and I will be making it soon.


    Lissaloo October 26, 2009 at 12:59 am

    Gorgeous and delicious! I am definitely making this cake! πŸ™‚


    Monica H October 26, 2009 at 5:00 am

    OMG! That frosting sounds incredible! With the combination of the mascarpone cheese, the heavy cream and the caramel, you have me drooling.

    This looks so tasty!


    Sophie October 26, 2009 at 7:50 am

    What a real treat this piece of cake is!!

    You are a master in creating lovely desserts!!


    Cheryl October 26, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    OH my gosh, that cake looks moist and delicious!


    Mary October 26, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    This looks fabulously delicious! I'm really tempted to give this a try.


    Bob October 26, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    That cake looks wicked good! I love caramel apples.


    A Feast for the Eyes October 26, 2009 at 11:26 pm

    First, thank you so much for your very kind remarks. I'm not a chef really– just a passionate home cook. As for you, young lady– I wish I had half the talent that you do. I adore baking, but I have no artistic talent. You have done an amazing job and I am crazy about caramel. I would make this in a heartbeat, though it would not be as pretty as yours. Great job! I hope to see more of your creations.


    Danielle October 26, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I bought some apples with the intent of making something else but I just might have to change my mind! OMG!!!!


    Heather October 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm

    that looks AMAZING! love brown butter!


    Valerie October 27, 2009 at 12:53 am

    That is a work of art! I only have one apple left so I'll have to go buy some more and try this. I can't wait to bite into that soft cake.


    figtree October 27, 2009 at 1:19 am

    Im not a baker..but the pic of your cake has just made me one.YUM


    Debbie October 27, 2009 at 11:11 am

    The cake looks so moist and delicious! Great frosting!


    the ungourmet October 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    Oh my golly! This is such a magnificent dessert! I love all the wonderful spices and the frosting is fantastic! Can you ship me over a slice?!


    The Blonde Duck October 27, 2009 at 8:18 pm

    I'm so glad you found ME! I'm going to drool over this cake for hours! WOW! I'm so impressed!


    Mimi October 27, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    How could I not make this cake? Apple, caramel and mascarpone…yum. It looks so delicious.


    Maria October 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    Mmmm! What a cake!


    Elra October 27, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Beautiful and delicious cake.


    Donna-FFW October 28, 2009 at 12:50 am

    This cake looks so moist, delicious and perfectly seasoned for fall. I bet the smell was incredible!


    Me and My Pink Mixer October 28, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Wow – this cake looks fantastic! Definitely saving this recipe to try soon πŸ™‚


    Grace October 28, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    wow. just wow. that is a DENSE and delightful cake! nothing screams fall like caramel apples, and i applaud your abundant use of spices! this is one fine and fantastic cake, and that's all there is to it.


    Bridgett October 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Amazing! That is such a gorgeous cake! I definitely need to bake this.


    Robin Sue October 28, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Everything about this cake looks delicious! Love the frosting ingredients, so very decadent. This cake looks super moist too.


    Pam October 29, 2009 at 1:55 am

    That is one delicious and beautiful looking cake.


    Katie October 29, 2009 at 2:47 am

    WOW!! that looks sooooooooooooo good!


    Tami October 29, 2009 at 2:59 am

    Wow! Your cake looks divine! I see dense and moist when I look at it. YUM!


    teresa October 29, 2009 at 3:27 am

    oh yum, this looks amazing! it doesn't get any better then flavors like these!


    Sara October 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Thanks for the comment on my blog! I love your blog too. That cake looks awesome and so moist! I'll be visiting back often too. πŸ™‚


    stephchows October 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    oh WOW that cake looks intense!! and tasty πŸ™‚


    The Blonde Duck October 29, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Popped in to say hi! This looks amazing!


    Natashya KitchenPuppies October 29, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Gorgeous cake! So decadent and delicious.


    Melody October 29, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    So that is what Christmas tastes like…..love it!


    Lynda October 30, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Wow! This cake is decadent and so moist and caramel in the icing! To die for!


    Adam October 31, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Beautiful looking cake! That caramel drizzle on the side is almost too much to handle this morning. I think I got a sweet sugar high looking at it πŸ™‚

    Have a good Halloween, you gotta put up some pics πŸ™‚


    Shannon November 1, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    that cake looks so incredible… perhaps you can send me a slice? πŸ™‚


    Julie November 5, 2009 at 5:54 am

    How did miss this cake? It's so beautiful…love all those flavors πŸ™‚


    Ingrid November 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    Holy smokes that looks insanely, over the top good! I bet it tastes even better than it looks with all that butter!

    Thanks for sharing!


    cookies and cups November 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    omg, I don't know how I missed this post..This looks like heaven!


    Alona November 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Do you think this recipe could be made into cupcakes?? Any suggestions? I am eager to try πŸ™‚


    Leave a Comment

    Previous post:

    Next post: