If you love apples and if you adore caramel, this Caramel Apple Pound Cake is for you. This apple cake with caramel icing is perfection in every possible way. It’s made with a decadent, buttery cream cheese pound cake then topped with sauteed fresh apples and caramel icing.
This is the perfect fresh apple pound cake to serve during the fall season when fresh apples are in season. It especially makes a wonderful addition to your Thanksgiving Day dessert table.
While I, myself am not a huge fan of apples, I actually enjoyed this apple cake recipe. Whenever I serve it for family and friends, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser!
I gotta say this pound cake kicked butt, even with the apples added. That’s saying a lot for a non-apple fan. Explore more pound cake recipes, in this collection of best pound cake recipes.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Great combination of flavors! You get all the rich, butteriness you expect from pound cake along with a sweet apple and caramel topping.
- Make it any time of year! While apples are typically associated with the fall, since they are available year-round you can actually make this cake whenever you want!
- Easy, fool-proof recipe. Pound cakes are actually pretty simple to make and this recipe is definitely suitable for bakers of all levels of experience.
Ingredients You Need
This recipe combines basic baking ingredients along with a few additional ingredients to make the apple topping and caramel icing. Let’s take a look at the highlights!
- Cream cheese: Adds more richness to pound cake and also its particular tangy flavor.
- Butter and shortening: We’re mostly using butter in this recipe for the flavor it gives to pound cake.
- Sugar and eggs: Sweeten and give the cake its structure.
- Cake flour: My go-to flour for making cakes. It makes a more tender cake than all-purpose flour. If you don’t want to buy it, you can actually make cake flour at home.
- Vanilla extract: For the best flavor, use real vanilla rather than imitation.
You’re also going to need a few things to make the buttery, sugar apple topping and caramel icing.
- Granny smith: While I’m not a huge fan of apples, this tart, green apple is my favorite for this cake. They cook up with a great texture and aren’t overly sweet. If you use other apples just make sure they are good apples for cooking such as Honeycrisp and Rome apples.
- Lemon juice: Essential for keeping the apples from turning brown. Apples oxidize easily after cutting and the lemon juice slows it down.
- Flavor: We will be using rum and vanilla extract to flavor the apple topping for this apple bundt cake.
- Butter and sugar: Add sweetness and saltiness to both the apples and the icing.
- Dairy: Heavy cream adds a bit more richness to the cooked apples while evaporated milk is used for the caramel icing.
How to Make Apple Cake
Are you ready to see how to put the best apple pound cake together? Here’s an overview but be sure to check the recipe card for detailed instructions.
Step 1: Make the Cake
- Add the room-temperature cream cheese, shortening, and butter to a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to cream them together until smooth.
- Slowly add the sugar to the bowl and continue beating with the mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time and mix after each until it’s incorporated.
- Adjust the mixer to a slower speed and add the flour one cup at a time to the butter-sugar mixture. Do not over beat at this point.
- Add the vanilla extract to the bowl and mix it into the batter.
- Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured bundt or tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20-25 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for ten minutes and then invert the cake on a wire rack or serving plate to finish cooling.
Step 2: Make the Apple Topping
- Melt the butter and lemon juice in a saucepan over low heat. Add the sugar to the pan and stir it in the butter mixture. Turn the heat up to medium. Watch until the butter and sugar mixture begins to turn a caramel brown color which takes up to 8 minutes (make sure you do not burn!!).
- Add the thinly sliced apples, cream, vanilla extract, and rum and cook until tender over medium heat for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove the cooked apples from the heat and allow them to cool for 10-15 minutes until just warm.
Step 3: Make the Caramel Sauce
- Gather all the ingredients together for the caramel icing.
- Add the butter, evaporated milk, vanilla, and sugar to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until everything has melted together.
- Leave on medium to low heat for 35-45 minutes until caramel begins to boil and thicken. Be careful to watch, adjusting the heat temperature to not let it burn.
- Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes to slightly thicken.
Step 4: Assemble the Cake
- Move the cake from the wire rack to a plate or serving platter.
- Pour the apples over the top of the pound cake. Then drizzle the caramel icing over the apples and cake.
- Serve up the cake and enjoy!
How to Store
After assembling the cake, the cake will keep at room temperature for up to 24 hours. After that, caramel apple pound cake will need to be stored in the fridge because of the cooked apples.
Can I freeze this caramel apple cake?
You can freeze the pound cake without the apples and caramel icing. Once those are added the cake doesn’t freeze well.
Can I make this apple bundt cake ahead of time?
You can prepare the cake ahead of time and freeze the cake until you’re ready to serve it. The cooked apples and caramel icing are best when prepared closer to serving.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Be careful with over mixing the apple bundt cake once the flour is added. At this point the gluten starts activating and will make a tough cake if it’s mixed for too long.
- Use cake flour. It’s essential for a tender cake. If you don’t have any, you can learn here how to make cake flour at home.
- Be sure to grease and flour your baking pan. Bundt pans have lots of cracks and crannies and you don’t want the cake to stick. If you use a baking spray, use one specifically designed for baking that contains flour.
- Cool the cake in the pan first before inverting it to finish cooling. The cake will continue to cook a bit, settle and slightly firm up as it sits making it less likely to crack or break.
- To save time, make the cooked apples and caramel icing while the cake bakes and cools!
I find it takes at least 1 hour and 20 minutes to cook a pound cake. It cooks a lower temperature than most cakes and takes a bit longer since it is a rather dense cake. Use your sense of smell. When the kitchen starts to smell like baked cake then it’s getting close! The best way to know when it’s done is to insert a toothpick into the cake. When it comes out clean the cake is ready.
Pound cakes are dense which is why they bake in a tube or bundt pan. When you bake them regular cake pans they simply won’t cook in the middle. For best results, I do not recommend trying to make this apple cake in a loaf or other shaped cake pan.
More Fruit Pound Cake Recipes
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Caramel Apple Pound Cake
- 8 ounce cream cheese
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 3 sticks butter
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups cake flour sifted
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 4 granny smith apples peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon juice
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons rum
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 stick butter
- 12 ounce evaporated milk 1 can
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Make the Pound Cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Add room temperature cream cheese, shortening and butter to large mixing bowl and begin creaming until smooth.
- Slowly add sugar to bowl and cream until light and fluffy.
- Add one egg at a time and mix until incorporated.
- Slow mixer to slower speed and add flour one cup at a time into bowl until just incorporated. Do not overbeat at this point. Add vanilla extract to bowl and mix.
- Once everything is incorporated, pour cake batter into greased and floured or baking sprayed bundt or tube pan. Bake for 1 hour and 20-25 minutes.
- Cool in the pan for ten minutes and then invert cake on a wire rack or serving plate to finish cooling.
Make the Sauteed Apples
- Melt butter and lemon juice in pan over low heat.
- Add sugar, mix and turn heat up to medium heat. Watch until butter and sugar mixture begins to turn a caramel brown color which takes up to 8 minutes (make sure you do not burn!!).
- Add in thinly sliced apples, cream, vanilla extract and rum and cook until tender over medium heat for 15-18 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes until just warm.
- Add butter, evaporated milk, vanilla and sugar to saucepan over medium heat until everything has melted together. Leave over medium to low heat for 35-45 minutes until caramel begins to boil and thicken. Be careful to watch, adjusting heat temperature to not let it burn.
- Remove from heat and cool for about 10 minutes to slightly thicken.
Assemble the Cake
- Move cake cooling on wire rack to a plate or serving platter.
- Pour the apples over the top of pound cake. Then pour the caramel icing over the apples and cake.
This post was originally published October 2012. It has been updated for content and images.