Apple season is here and this Caramel Apple Snack Cake is a must make! A moist apple cake with cream cheese and sour cream frosting, topped with homemade caramel sauce and bruleed apples. This should be a staple on every fall dessert menu.
Apples are one of my favorite things to bake with. I look forward to apple season every year. I’ve been going to a little apple orchard called Tanner’s Orchard https://www.tannersorchard.com/about an hour and a half away from my house for probably 7 years now. It started out as a smaller apple orchard and has grown over the years.
Not only do they have delicious apples but pumpkins, jarred and pickled items, cheeses, desserts, clothes and kitchen goods. It’s one of my very favorite things to do every year and now I get to enjoy it with my kids too! It just kicks off the fall mood at the beginning of the season.
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What does this Caramel Apple Snack Cake consist of?
Apple Cake – This apple cake is spiced, full of shredded apples to stay moist and is similar to an apple loaf. The flavor of this apple cake by itself would be an amazing snack.
Cream Cheese and Sour Cream Frosting – This cream cheese frosting has a bit of sour cream mixed in for a smoother texture and a savory kick.
Bruleed Apples – Apples braised in apple cider, sugar and vinegar then sprinkled with sugar and torched until the sugar forms a crispy crust.
Caramel Sauce – A homemade caramel sauce that is just the best! This caramel is super easy to make and very quick. Once you make this you’ll never buy jarred caramel again.
Why would I make a snack cake?
For snacking! It’s exactly how it sounds. Snack cakes are great for at home if you’re looking for something sweet to snack on all week. Informal parties, backyard BBQ’s and pretty much any other reason you can think of. Generally snack cakes are very easy to make and put together.
Ingredients for Caramel Apple Snack Cake
- Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Kosher Salt
- Apple Cider
- Maple Syrup
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Pumpkin Pie Spice – I buy this at Tanner’s Orchard too but it’s sold all over https://www.tannersorchard.com/
- Cream Cheese
- Sour Cream
- Heavy Cream
Tips for the best Caramel Apple Snack Cake
- Don’t overbake your cake. Remove the cake from the oven as soon as a toothpick comes out clean or with only a few crumbs
- Do not overmix the batter
- If you’re not up for making bruleed apples the cake is still extremely delicious without them
- Make extra caramel sauce, it’s good for up to 3 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge. Trust me, you’re going to want to put it on everything. Potato chips dipped in caramel with crushed red pepper flakes is a personal favorite of mine haha!
- The cake can be baked ahead of time. You can tightly wrap it and store it in the freezer for up to 2 months. You can also wrap it tightly and store it in the fridge or on the counter for 24 hours before frosting and serving
- Shred the apples last immediately before adding them to the batter so they don’t turn brown
- If you can’t find pumpkin pie spice you can just add a dash of each of the following: cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger, nutmeg and cloves
- Let the caramel cool to room temp before drizzling it over the cake
The best way to store this snack cake
Caramel Apple Snack Cake can be left out on the counter for 8-12 hours. For best quality and taste it should be tightly wrapped or stored in an airtight container and refrigerated. It will keep well for up to 4 days in the fridge. After that the quality really starts to go downhill. Don’t worry, it probably won’t last that long anyways because everyone won’t be able to stop eating it.
Can you freeze Caramel Apple Snack Cake?
You can absolutely freeze this cake before frosting it. Wrap it tightly multiple times with plastic wrap and then a layer of foil and keep it in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let the apple cake thaw to room temperature before serving.
If you’ve already frosted the cake and added caramel you can still freeze it by wrapping it tightly multiple times with plastic wrap then another layer of foil. In this case you can still freeze the Caramel Apple Snack Cake for up to 2 months.
If you plan to freeze your Caramel Apple Snack Cake then leave the bruleed apples on the side for serving. If you try freezing the snack cake when it’s topped with apples it will end up being a mess. I don’t love the texture of the apples after they’re frozen either so it’s best to just leave them off if freezing.
If you make this Caramel Apple Snack cake please leave me a rating and/or review on this post! Don’t forget to tag me in your Instagram photos when making any of my recipes, I love to see what everyone is making!
Caramel Apple Snack Cake
- ½ cup butter browned
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 eggs room temp
- 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups honey crisp apples shredded
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- 5 cups apple cider
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 6 granny smith apples peeled and cut into wedges
- ¼ cup granulated sugar for sprinkling
Homemade Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tbsp butter unsalted
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Cream Cheese & Sour Cream Frosting
- 8 oz cream cheese room temp
- ½ cup butter room temp
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¾ cup sour cream
Making the Apple Cake
- In a medium sauce pot brown the butter. Turn the burner on medium and whisk the butter occasionally until it's almost all the way melted
- Turn the heat down to a medium – low and whisk constantly until the butter turns a golden amber color. Remove from the heat immediately and pour into a heat proof bowl making sure to scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan into the bowl
- Let the brown butter cool to room temp but make sure its still liquid and doesn't start to solidify
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 metal pan
- While the butter is cooling, in a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cardamom
- Once the butter is cooled, add both sugars to the brown butter and beat with an electric hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for 3 min on medium speed
- Add the eggs one at time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix just until incorporated
- Shred the apples and add to the batter immediately. Fold in with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula
- Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few or no crumbs. Let cake cool completely
Making the Bruleed Apples
- Add the apple cider, maple syrup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pumpkin pie spice to a medium sized pot and mix together until combined
- Peel apples, cut them into wedges and add them to the pot
- Bring the pot to a boil then turn down to a simmer. Simmer until apples are tender enough for a fork to go through but not falling apart, about 10 minutes
- Scoop the apples out with a slotted spoon, allow to drain for a minute or set them in a colander for 2-3 minutes
- Lay the apple sliced out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining sugar
- Using either a kitchen torch or the broiler, melt the sugar on top of the apples until it starts to brown and get slightly crisp. Set the apples aside until you top the cake
Making the Caramel Sauce
- In a medium sized sauce pot or sautee pan add the sugar, turn the burner to medium and allow the sugar to melt. Don't stir the sugar while it's melting, alternatively you can swirl the pan around from time to time
- Once the sugar is all melted it will be a dark amber color. Turn the heat off immediately and add the cubed butter
- The mixture is going to bubble up and pop a lot, that is supposed to happen. Whisk continuously until the butter is incorporated
- Add the heavy cream and whisk until incorporated. The mixture will pop and bubble again
- Whisk in the salt then transfer the caramel to a heat proof container and allow to cool to room temp on the counter top
Cream Cheese and Sour Cream Frosting
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the cream cheese and butter together for 3 minutes on medium – high speed
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix in on low speed then add the other half and mix in just until incorporated
- Add the vanilla and salt, mix in slowly then turn the mixer up to medium – high speed and beat 2- 3 more minutes until light and fluffy
- Add in the sour cream and mix until incorporated
Topping the Snack Cake
- Once the apple cake is completely cooled spread the frosting across the top of the whole cake
- Arrange the bruleed apples in whatever design you'd like on top of the cake and drizzle the caramel sauce over the top
- Serve and enjoy!!