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This Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is the perfect dessert for any fall event!
Caramel + apples + cake = complete dessert perfection.
The aroma as this cake bakes is pure bliss. Lightly spiced apples waft through the air, making your whole house smell like a fall candle. Add salted caramel, and I’m in heaven.
This cake is super tender, ultra-moist, and beautifully light – not to mention it’s super quick and easy!
The inspiration for this recipe comes from my blogger friend Nikki of Chef in Training. Her post for Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake was 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 as it’s a huge crowd-pleaser. This sheet cake also makes a fantastic Thanksgiving dessert, if you have guests who prefer cake to pie!
How to Make Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake
Why is There Buttermilk in Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake?
- Buttermilk is an important component of this Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake recipe.
- It adds a tang to balance out some of the sweetness, and 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.
- Learn more about buttermilk and substitutions in my Buttermilk 101 article here.
What Kind of Apples Should I Use?
- I prefer Granny Smith apples for baking.
- Granny Smith apples are tart, which balances the sweetness of the salted caramel glaze beautifully.
- They also hold their shape and structure well as they bake.
- Jonathan, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp apples should work just fine, too.
- Feel free to use a mix of apple types.
- Be sure to chop your apples evenly, for even cooking.
How do I Prepare the Apples?
For even cooking, peel and chop each apple evenly. This apple corer makes quick work of prepping your apples!
Salted Caramel Glaze
- The salted caramel in the glaze takes this cake to a whole new level.
- I typically use Trader Joe’s Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce. It comes in a jar and it’s fantastic.
- If you want 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.
The Texture of This Sheet Cake
This Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake has a slightly unique texture. It’s ultra moist and slightly spongy with a light and airy feel. I personally love how light it is – it’s the perfect dessert after a big meal! If you want a bit more structure, feel free to add an extra 2 tablespoons of flour.
Which Pan for Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake
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 as the cake will then be much thicker.
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 Cake be Made Ahead of Time?
This Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake is best served the day it’s baked. 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.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 2 days at room temperature.
- We have not tried freezing this Salted Caramel Apple Sheet Cake, but if you want to give it a try, I recommend freezing the cake unglazed. Thaw at room temperature and top with glaze once it’s back to room temp.
More Recipes You’ll Love:
- Apple Crisp
- Apple Galette
- Caramel Apple Streusel Pie
- Caramel Apple Coffee Cake
- Salted Caramel Apple Pie Pizookies
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 – store-bought or homemade
Make the cake:
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, granulated sugar, and brown sugar.
- 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.
- 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 16.75 by 12-inch 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:
- 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 minutes before slicing and serving.
This recipe was originally published in 2016 and has been updated with additional recipe tips and improvements.