Photo Credit: Antonio Achilleos

Fresh Apple Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce


This cake recipe tastes like a caramel apple, with a not-too-sweet cake and a deliciously sweet caramel sauce. We recommend adding a scoop of vanilla ice cream or enjoying the cake without the sauce for breakfast.

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I first served this on a crisp fall evening. We were eating outside and the air was just starting to get that chill that signals autumn has arrived. The comments that I heard after my family and dinner guests took the first couple of bites were: “This tastes like apple cider in cake form” and “No, it tastes just like a caramel apple” and “I think this tastes just like fall.” I like that the cake isn’t overly sweet, because the sauce is. So, if super-sweet is not your thing, you can leave off the caramel sauce. I drizzled, okay ladled, warm caramel sauce over the top and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream because…well, why not? But the next morning I had a piece of the cake sans sauce with my cup of coffee. On its own, it was light and equally delicious.  

Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Martina McBride
Makes: 16 servings


  • 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (about 2 apples) grated unpeeled Granny Smith apple
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Homemade Caramel Sauce
  • Whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

Homemade Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1⁄2 cup half-and-half
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • Pinch of kosher salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  2. Beat the butter with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy; gradually add the sugar, beating well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add the apple, beating just until blended.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; add to the butter mixture, and mix just until blended. Stir in the walnuts, if desired.
  4. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in  the center comes clean. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Serve with Homemade Caramel Sauce and, if desired, whipped cream or ice cream.
  5. Caramel Sauce: Cook the sugar, half-and-half, butter, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking slowly until thickened. Remove from the heat, and let cool slightly before serving.

Tip: You can use most any kind of apple. Gala or Red Delicious work great too.

Excerpted from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

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