A caramel apple is a simple thing, but it sure proves the point that simple is often best. That sweet crisp bite of apple under a sticky blanket of caramel… it’s basically heaven on a stick. But with this easy sheet cake, you can have that same flavor in cake form too! Our Caramel Apple Sheet Cake features a soft, spiced crumb studded with tender apples that sit under an easy buttery caramel icing. (In other words, it’s something to really get excited about.)
I love a sheet cake because you get to feed a crowd something delicious without needing to deal with layers or piping any frosting. It’s fuss-free, and since it’s generally so shallow, there’s a lot less that can go wrong in baking, so it’s basically worry-free too.
This cake uses Granny Smith apples that are finely chopped, so their flavor stands up to the caramel icing and the rest of the cake, but their texture isn’t too obtrusive. I’ve always liked Granny Smith apples best to go along with caramel; their tart flavor plays so well with the caramel’s sweetness.
The caramel icing here is a boiled one, but don’t let that scare you away. It’s simple to make – you don’t need a candy thermometer or any fancy tricks. You just boil some butter and brown sugar together before adding some half-and-half, powdered sugar, and vanilla. It’s a pourable glaze that sets up nicely but still remains soft. If you’d like yours to have more of a copper color, just let the butter and sugar cook a little longer before you add the rest of the ingredients. Enjoy!
Caramel Apple Sheet Cake
45 minutes to prepare serves 8-10
- 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
- For the frosting:
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400°F and grease a jelly roll pan (15x13-inches) with butter or nonstick spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
- Add butter, water, and shortening to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat and pour into flour mixture, stirring quickly to combine.
- Add buttermilk, baking soda, eggs, and vanilla, stirring between each addition. Stir in apples.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool 10-15 minutes while you make the frosting.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Once boiling, remove from heat and stir in the half-and-half. Return to stove and again return to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and powdered sugar until smooth.
- Pour over cooled cake and spread into an even layer. Allow glaze to set before slicing. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Five Heart Home.