This Caramel Apple Crumble Cake features layers of moist and fluffy spiced cake made with lots of fresh shredded apples. Filled with a delicious homemade apple filling and covered in a luscious caramel cream cheese frosting and crunchy baked crumble, this cake is Autumn perfection!
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I know, I know, I’m still posting Fall recipes when there’s snow on the ground. To be fair, it’s technically not supposed to be Winter already. Winter is just a greedy brat who always shows up far too early and leaves far too late.
So as far as I’m concerned, it’s still Fall until December. So bring on the Autumn themed desserts!
Caramel Apple Crumble Cake
This cake is a Fall twist to my Perfect Carrot Cake recipe! Same cake recipe except it’s filled with shredded apples instead of shredded carrots, and I added some caramel to the cream cheese frosting (I’ve gotten quite obsessed with doing that now), then to bring it up a notch I added some homemade apple filling and baked crumble to the mix!
Apple Spice Cake Layers
To make the apple spice cake layers, start by shredding the apples. Peel and cut them into slices, then either shred them with a grater or in a food processor, which I find to be much easier.
Now that the apples are shredded, let’s make the batter! You only need 2 mixing bowls. Combine all of the dry ingredients in one bowl, then combine the wet ingredients in the second bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk to combine, that’s right you don’t need a mixer! Fold in the shredded apples and it’s ready to bake!
I used equal parts of brown sugar and granulated sugar to not only sweeten the cake layers, but to make them nice and moist and deepen the flavour! We also add some apple sauce to make sure the cake isn’t too oily since the base is oil instead of the usual butter.
Bake the cake layers, then refrigerate them overnight while you prepare the apple filling.
Homemade Apple Filling
Yummy, yum! I love homemade apple filling so much, those soft spiced cinnamon apples wrapped in a brown sugar glaze are the best of the best.
The apple filling is super easy to make, the hardest part is dicing the apples. Well it’s the most tedious part for me, at least. But once that’s done, the rest is a breeze.
All you need to do is add all of the ingredients to a saucepan, stir, let it cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally, then you’re done! Set it aside to cool completely, then move on.
Baked Crumble Topping
The crumble topping is also very easy. Just add all of the ingredients to a bowl, chill in the refrigerator for a few minutes then spread onto a baking sheet and bake, tossing around occasionally until it’s crispy. This crumble is gonna add so much great flavour and texture to this cake!
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
I don’t think there’s any frosting in the world that would pair better with this apple cake than a cream cheese frosting. A CARAMEL cream cheese frosting, to be exact because I have a huge obsession with combining apple and caramel.
This caramel cream cheese frosting is so smooth, creamy and velvety rich! You’ll certainly be licking your fork clean.
Beat some butter and cream cheese together, you’ll need 2 full packages along with 10 cups of powdered (icing) sugar. I know it seems like a lot, but it’s a cake! We gotta have enough frosting to fill and frost it beautifully! Mix in some of the caramel sauce and reserve the rest for decorating.
Assembling the Apple Crumble Cake
This cake is assembled just like my Turtle Chocolate Layer Cake and my other cakes that have a filling. I’ve seen maybe 2 or 3 people say that their cake slid off while assembling, well that’s because it needs to be assembled a certain way.
Don’t just spread on the frosting, spoon on the apple filling then place another layer on top. Start by spreading a layer of frosting onto the cake, then use a piping bag to pipe a thick rim around the edges of the cake. This will hold in the apple filling so it doesn’t spill out the sides. Spoon in the apple filling, sprinkle on some of the crumble, then place the next layer on top.
As for the final decoration, I had a million different ideas. I was gonna top it with swirls of caramel frosting and caramel dipped apple slices, but in the end, I decided to just do a simple spatula swirl design. Then drip the remaining caramel down the sides of the cake, you can even pour some in the middle if you’d like.
I was planning on pressing the remaining crumble onto the bottom, but I suck at doing that and didn’t wanna risk ruining the cakes design. So instead, I put a layer of crumble around the bottom and piled some bigger pieces around the top along with 3 apple slices. Very simple, yet gorgeous.
Loaded with warm, comforting Fall flavours and everything you love about apple crumble, this is the perfect dessert to finish off the season. Everyone will fall in love after the first bite!
Did you make this Caramel Apple Crumble Cake? Let me know how they turned out in the comments below! And don’t forget to leave a rating!
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Let’s get baking!
Apple Spice Cake:
- 3 cups All purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp Baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 and 1/4 cup Vegetable oil (can substitute with canola oil, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil)
- 1 and 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 and 1/2 cups granulated Sugar
- 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 6 large Eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- 3 cups grated apples (3-4 large apples)
- 2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced into small pieces (I used Granny Smith and Honey Crisp)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar, packed
- 3 Tbsp water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 (8 ounce) packages (16 oz.) cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 10 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce, cooled completely (recipe above)
- 2 cups crumble topping (recipe above)
- Extra Salted Caramel Sauce
- Sliced Apples (I used Granny Smith)
For the Apple Spice Cake Layers:
- Position oven rack to the middle. Preheat oven to 350° F (177°C). Prepare three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment rounds, and grease the sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a whisk or hand mixer), add the oil and both sugars. Mix on medium-high speed until combined.
- Add the applesauce and sour cream and continue to mix until completely combined.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Lower the speed to medium-low and mix in the eggs, one at a time until just combined. Mix in the vanilla.
- Add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing on low speed after each addition until completely combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in grated apples.
- Divide batter equally between the three cake pans, a little over 2 and 1/2 cups per pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, then turn onto cooling racks to cool completely.
For the Apple Filling:
- In a medium saucepan, combine the diced apples, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, brown sugar and water.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until apples are softened, about 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and pour filling into a jar or an airtight container and allow to cool completely.
For the Crumble Topping:
- Whisk flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add melted butter and mix until lumps form. Mix in oats. Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined sheet tray and bake for 8 minutes.
- Using a metal spatula, stir and toss crumble. Rotate tray and continue to bake until crumble is dark golden brown, about 8 minutes more. Set aside to cool.
For the Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter and cream cheese until pale and fluffy, about 5-6 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the powdered sugar, one cup at a time and beat on low speed after each cup until combined.
- Once combined add salted caramel sauce and continue to beat until combined and smooth.
- Increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 5-7 minutes, or until frosting is light and fluffy.
Assembly of the Caramel Apple Crumble Cake:
- Use an offset spatula to place a dollop of frosting onto a cake board or serving platter that’s on a turntable. Place one cake layer on top and spread about 1 cup of the frosting on top of the first layer.
- Scoop some frosting into a disposable piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe a rim around the edges of the cake and spoon on a cup of the apple filling and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle on 1/2 cup of the crumble. Repeat with all layers, placing the final layer upside down.
- Frost the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting. Chill the cake for 30 minutes.
- Remove cake from refrigerator and frost the entire cake with a thick layer of frosting.
- Place a straight cake spatula or the back of a spoon flat onto the bottom side of the cake. Use one hand to turn the turntable, going around the cake while slowly moving up to create a swirl design. Repeat on the top of the cake.
- Pour remaining caramel sauce into a disposable piping bag or a ziploc bag and snip off the tip. Drip the caramel off the edge of the cake.
- Line some of the crumble around the top and bottom edges and garnish the centre with some apple slices. Slice and serve!
- Make ahead: (1) Apple Cake Layers can be made ahead of time and double-wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for 1 month. (2) Salted Caramel Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight jar in the refrigerator. Microwave for about 30-40 seconds until the caramel is smooth and pourable again. (3) Apple Filling can be stored in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. (4) Crumble Topping can be stored in a container or in a ziplock bag and stored at room temperature for 1-2 weeks. (5) Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for 3 months. Before using — allow frosting to come to room temperature, then re-whip in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
- Storage: Store cake in an airtight cake storage in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- 9x13 rectangular pan: the apple cake can be baked in a 9x13 inch pan. The baking time may be longer, just bake for the recommended 40 minutes and test by inserting a butter knife into the centre to see if it’s done. If not, keep testing every 2-5 minutes. Frosting recipe will need to be halved.
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Wilton Icing Spatula Set for Baking, 3-Piece - 13 and 9-Inch Angled and 11-Inch Straight Spatulas
3 Piece Baking Gift Set - Aluminum Sheet Pan, SILMAT Silicone Baking Mat & Stainless Steel Cooling Rack
Ateco 4712 Disposable Decorating Bags, 12-Inch, Pack of 100
Utopia Kitchen 2 Quart Nonstick Saucepan with Glass Lid - Induction Bottom - Multipurpose Use for Home Kitchen or Restaurant
KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan Tilt-Head Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield, 5-Quart, Empire Red
Ateco 612 Revolving Cake Decorating Stand, 12" Round, Cast Iron Base with 1/8" Aluminum Top
Wilton Aluminum 8-Inch Round Cake Pan Set, Multipack of 2
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