Harvest Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

October 25th, 2010

I am not a great cake baker.  There is something in my nature that rebels against following a recipe to a tee.  I am too haphazard in my approach to baking.  It makes me nervous to level flour and fill teaspoons just so. So when faced with baking a cake for David’s birthday,  I was a bit trepidatious.  We had some wonderful apple crisp type apples and the allure of cinnamon and other spices were calling me so I made a cake combining several recipes that included these ingredients.  The only frosting that would work this time of year was a caramel frosting to mirror the idea of taffy apples.

We also had company this past weekend and I decided, because of my klutzy ways with cake decorating,  I wanted no one present when I attempted to frost the cake.  The kids, their friends and all of the children went for a hike on Chimney Rock.  Of course David was here and had to suffer through my expletives over “his special cake”.  I’m sure by the time I was finished he was wishing that he had never had a birthday.

The cake had turned out moist and beautiful just as the recipe had promised.  I had made it two days ahead of time and put the layers in the fridge.  The frosting was another story and it was all my fault.  For some reason, I decided that it was too runny in the pan after following the exact directions so I dumped in more confectioner’s sugar.  Big mistake.  The frosting seized up and became very dry, so spreading it was “an expletive deleted” nightmare.  But the cute pumpkin candies covered up my mistakes.  So if you decide to make this cake, please follow the directions.  Happy Birthday David.  Actually the cake was delicious in spite of myself.


1 1/2 cups oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamnon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups grated apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put oil, sugar and eggs into the bowl of a mixer.  Beat until creamy on low speed.  Sift flour and other dry ingredients together.  With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in three additions and blending until incoporated each time.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the grated apples.

Grease and flour 2 8″ or 9″ inch cake pans.  Pour batter in the pans.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool in pans for about 10 minutes and then invert onto rack to cool.  Wrap layers and cool in fridge if not ready to frost.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 box confectioners’ sugar

Cook butter and sugar together until well blended.  Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 box confectioners’ sugar.  Mix and add just enough milk to spread.

19 responses to “Harvest Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting”

  1. Pondside says:

    What a treat that would be. I made Martha’s apple cake with caramel frosting for our Thanksgiving dinner and it was a hit – we’re now all caramel frosting fans!

  2. Donnie says:

    That one is definitely being printed out.I don’t usually bake while we’re in Florida but I wonder how this frosting would do on cupcakes. I was thinking about spice cupcakes with the caramel frosting.

  3. Penny says:

    Donnie, I think it would work beautifully for cupcakes. It is kind of loose after mixing so it would drape well onto cupcakes. Good luck.

  4. this looks delicious!

  5. This sounds delicious. I am trying this out for sure! I printed out the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Love & blessings from NC!

  6. Katy ~ says:

    Penny, I have the darnedest luck with caramel frosting as well, smiles. Your cake looks and sounds delicious. Happy birthday to David!

  7. Penny, I’m not a baker either. However I would be quite pleased with myself if I had made that gorgeous cake. I love the Halloween decorations on it.

    If the icing had seized on me, I would not have known what to do and probably would have had a little girl fit and thrown it out in frustration. Not a good thing to do on someone special’s birthday.

    Happy belated birthday David,

  8. Barbara says:

    I’d say you made a lovely birthday/Halloween cake, Penny! Seized frosting or not, I bet it tasted divine! Caramel frosting is perfect with an apple cake….would be good with banana bread or muffins too.

  9. So pretty… go back a few of my posts to see the cake I made for Jackie’s B-Day… I agree and have the same problems with following directions (my 1st grade teacher even put it in writing). And as far as icing, I am so all thumbs. I need to watch for the candies to hide all my errors.

    Your other Dave

  10. Cakes!!!!!!!!! I feel the same. We’ve got b’day cakes down to a science (at least when isobel’s here) — they consist of one — pineapple upside down cake (Ralph and Spence love it). She does the topping and I make the cake. I used to make her one from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s book that took about 5 days altogether, but I quit making that after I’d eaten the rest of the butter(cream) frosting for the Nth time.
    I like to eat’em though, and yours looks good.

  11. Holly says:

    I’m kinda haphazard too but I love baking-weird;) I’m printing this recipe-it sound so yummy:)

  12. Kristen says:

    No one would ever believe you aren’t a cake baker after taking a look at that beautiful cake. It sounds wonderful!

  13. Rita says:

    Whar a perfect Apple Cake for Halloween. You did a grat job decorating it; I love it. I am ashamed to say I haven’t made a cake in ages. I used to,but I kind of afraid to screw it up.
    And it isn’t practical to make a cake for 2. I have to practice when the kids come.

  14. Donna-FFW says:

    The cake sounds just lovely, shredded apples, how festive! Perfect for the season and a great birthday cake.

  15. Velva says:

    I am exactly like you when it comes to baking. You did a lovely job on this cake. I have no doubt that it was delicious.

  16. Yum!!! I am going to be trying out pumpkin fudge!!! Thanks for sharing.

  17. You did a great job. I like the specificty of baking because usually the recipes have the level of detail I need in order to feel confident. I’ve only made one cake though. I came out lop-sided but everyone still loved it. I was so excited to be making a cake I did a time lapse while I made it!

  18. Ann M says:

    This is a delicious cake and I’ve been baking since my teens. In fact, when I got married I could bake but had never cooked! LOL. This frosting is easier than the one I’ve made for years and everyone loved it. I recommend adding a little good vanilla though. It ooomphs up the flavor.

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