Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake - Handle the Heat

Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

By Tessa Arias
  |  
September 12th, 2016
4.88 from 16 votes
4.88 from 16 votes

Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features an ultra tender, slightly spongey cinnamon apple cake with a thick and shiny salted caramel glaze. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays!

Yield: 36 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Like apple-cinnamon-caramel GOODNESS. These flavors are just meant to be together.
Texture: The cake is ridiculously moist, tender, and slightly spongy. The glaze on top is ultra thick and luscious.
Ease: Super duper easy, but no one has to know that!
Pros: Easy, delicious, and crowd-pleasing. Perfect for the holidays (or anytime you want the house to smell heavenly).
Cons: Best for larger get-togethers, as it makes a whole lotta cake. Also, the cake should be served very soon after you glaze it otherwise it gets soggy.
Would I make this again? Absolutely.

Caramel, apples, and cake are completely dessert perfection. The aroma alone is pure bliss.

Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features an ultra tender, slightly spongey cinnamon apple cake with a thick and shiny salted caramel glaze. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays!

The inspiration for this recipe comes from my blogger friend Nikki of Chef in Training. I’m sure you’ve seen her posts on Facebook, because she has over 2 million followers there (crazy!!!). Anyways, her post for Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake has been teasing me for months so I finally decided to make my own version of it.

And it’s AMAZING. I suggest you make this recipe for your next party, celebration, or occasion asap!! In fact, you may consider hosting a get together just so you have an excuse to make this.

Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features an ultra tender, slightly spongey cinnamon apple cake with a thick and shiny salted caramel glaze. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays!

Classic sheet cake recipes are interesting. You basically bring butter and water to a boil then add in the other ingredients in what seems like a weird order. This strange method results in a super tender, ultra moist, almost spongy texture that’s just delightful. Not to mention it’s super quick and easy!

I’ve included instructions for baking this Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake in both a jelly roll pan and a half sheet pan, which are slightly different sizes. Also, if you wanted to go the extra mile and make the salted caramel for the glaze from scratch, check out my tutorial on how to make caramel sauce here. Otherwise my favorite store-bought caramel is the one from Trader Joe’s.

How to Make Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Why is buttermilk used in the recipe & why to not substitute it:

Buttermilk is an important component to this recipe. Not just because it adds a tang to balance out some of the sweetness, but also because its acidity will help to further activate the baking soda alongside the brown sugar. Its thick texture lends richness to the cake for added moisture and tenderness too.

Full fat sour cream would be a good alternative to the buttermilk, just note the final texture will be slightly different.

Texture of this sheet cake:

This cake has a slightly unique texture. It’s ultra moist and slightly spongy with a light and airy feel. If you prefer dense or fudgy textures in cake, this may not be the recipe for you. If you want just a bit more structure, feel free to add an extra 2 tablespoons of flour.

Can this be made in a 9×13 pan instead?

This cake was formulated for a jellyroll pan so it bakes quickly and serves a crowd. I have not tested it with a 9 by 13-inch pan, but the time would need to be increased by about 10 minutes.

Help! My glaze is too thick or thin.

If your glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time.

If your glaze is too thick, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Can this sheet cake be frozen or made ahead of time?

This cake is best served within a day. The liquid from the apples and the frosting may leech out the longer it sits.

How to store sheet cake:

For the best taste and texture, serve this cake the day it’s baked. For leftovers, store in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature.

Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features an ultra tender, slightly spongey cinnamon apple cake with a thick and shiny salted caramel glaze. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays!

More recipes you’ll love:

4.88 from 16 votes

How to make
Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake

Yield: 36 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features an ultra tender, slightly spongey cinnamon apple cake with a thick and shiny salted caramel glaze. Perfect for serving a crowd during the holidays!

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (200 grams) lightly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 sticks (227 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup water (236 grams)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups (200 grams) peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples (about 2 medium apples)

For the glaze:

  • 1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) milk
  • 3 cups (375 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup salted caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)

Directions

Make the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter or oil a 10-by-15-inch jellyroll pan or a 16-3/4 by 12-inch sheet pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.

  3. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the butter with 1 cup water and heat until the butter melts. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from heat and stir into the flour mixture. Let cool slightly then add add in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla. Gently stir in the apples.

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 20 minutes if using a jelly roll pan, and about 17 minutes if using a half sheet pan, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Make the glaze:

  1. Meanwhile, combine the butter and milk in a large heat-proof bowl. Microwave until the butter is melted. Gradually stir in the powdered sugar until combined. Stir in the vanilla and caramel until combined. If the glaze is too thin, add more powdered sugar to thicken. Pour evenly over the slightly warm cake. Feel free to use less glaze for less sweetness. Let set for about 15 minute before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Chef in Training
Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Tammy — November 17, 2022 at 7:05 am

    Love it, I have made it a number of times, yummy!!!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — November 17, 2022 at 9:19 am

      So glad it hear you enjoy this so much, Tammy!!

  2. #
    Jill — October 22, 2022 at 6:16 am

    Can applesauce be substituted in for apples? Should I then cut down on other liquids?

    • #
      Emily — October 25, 2022 at 6:59 am

      Hi Jill! We haven’t tried using applesauce in place of the apples but would recommend following the recipe as written for best results. Let us know if you give this recipe a try 🙂

  3. #
    Stacey — October 14, 2022 at 9:29 am

    I took this cake to a potluck dinner. It was a huge hit, although, it did start oozing later in the day. I put the leftover cake in the refrigerator and it firmed up. I believe it will last several days now.

  4. #
    Chris — September 8, 2022 at 7:30 am

    What size to chop the apples? I would think they would need to be grated or pretty small to cook in the small amount of time it bakes? Just don’t want uncooked apples in the cake. Can’t wait to try…sounds yummy!

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 8, 2022 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Chris! Chopped to about 1/4 to 1/2 inch is perfect for this recipe. Check for apple doneness with a toothpick or cake tester if you’re not sure while baking. Let us know what you think once you’ve tried this out! 🙂

  5. #
    Brenda — September 1, 2022 at 7:09 am

    Can I make the cake a day ahead and then add the glaze the day I serve?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — September 1, 2022 at 10:06 am

      Hi Brenda! We haven’t specifically tested that, but I don’t see why not. Just be aware that the liquid from the apples may leech out the longer it sits, but a day should be just fine. Let us know what you think once you’ve given this a try 🙂

  6. #
    Sheri Reeces — August 3, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    Could I cut this recipe in half? If so what size pan should I use?

    • #
      Kiersten @ Handle the Heat — August 4, 2022 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Sheri! We haven’t tried that, but it should work! I would recommend trying an 8×8-inch or 8-inch round cake tin, and shave a few minutes off the bake time to begin with, and just bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. All the other directions should stay the same. Let us know what you think once you have tried it! 🙂

      • #
        Becky Rudella — September 21, 2022 at 10:59 am

        A quarter sheet pan would be perfect for a half recipe since the recipe is written for a half sheet pan size (in addition to a jelly roll size). An 8” square pan (or 9” round) is ~1/3 smaller than a quarter sheet, so the cake would be thicker/taller.
        I haven’t made this yet, but I plan to cut the recipe exactly in half and bake in a quarter sheet pan for less time. I’ve heard from lots of people that it is a delicious recipe!

  7. #
    Sher — April 3, 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Really yummy, a little too sweet though. I made the caramel sauce from scratch and was impressed at how easy and really yummy it was. I highly recommend making your own caramel sauce.

  8. #
    Stephanie — November 18, 2021 at 3:04 pm

    I made this and it is pretty good but idk if I did something wrong, the sponge was just dripping and oozing butter, I put 2 sticks of butter in the batter and another stick for the icing. It also tastes like butter, the main flavor. Was it supposed to be just 1 stick in the batter? I saw this recipe on Instagram a few months ago and I’ve saved it for making later 🙂

    • #
      Emily — November 18, 2021 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Stephanie! I’m sorry your sheet cake was so buttery! While it should be super tender and moist, it definitely shouldn’t be dripping with butter! The 2 sticks of butter in the cake itself is correct. Do you use a digital scale to measure your ingredients? Did you substitute any ingredients?

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