Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
This caramel apple bundt cake is the culmination of all things to love about fall. It is also simple in preparation and actually tastes better the second day!
When it comes to a glorious, awe-inspiring cake like this, all I can really say is: Um, For All That is Good and Righteous About Cakes, Make This Now. How’s that for awe-inspiring?
Seriously, this cake (perfected by my crazy awesome brother, who made it for me before we moved from Wisconsin) is the culmination of all things to love about the fall season.
The perfectly spiced, moist cake is studded with bits of juicy apple while ribbons of sweetened cream cheese swirl throughout. Drizzled with a creamy glaze and caramel sauce and you have me sitting here wondering why on earth this cake is not sitting in my kitchen right now. Let me amend that: I’m wondering why this cake is not sitting in my belly right now. (Jeez, not the whole thing, people, just a slice or three.)
I will be rectifying that immediately. And so should you, if you want my humble opinion.
Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – this cake is quite simple in preparation and the beauty is that it actually tastes better the second day. So a huge bonus for me and you!
It can be made ahead of time for those times when you need/want a stellar dessert but the only time available to make it is 24 hours before you actually need the darned thing. Awesome!
One Year Ago: English Muffin Bread
Two Years Ago: Baked Southwest Egg Rolls with Creamy Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Three Years Ago: Coconut and Cashew Granola
Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
- 3 cups (426 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 medium apples, for about 3 cups chopped
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
- 1 ¼ cups vegetable or canola oil
- 2 cups (424 g) granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
Cream Cheese Layer:
- 8 ounces (227 g) cream cheese, room temperature
- ⅓ cup (71 g) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- ½ to 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 tablespoons (57 g) butter
- 1 cup (212 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup half-and-half or whipping cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Generously grease and flour a 9 or 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside. Peel, core and dice 3 cups of apples. Toss the apples with the tablespoon of lemon juice to keep from browning. Add the dark brown sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and toss to combine. Set aside.
- Using a handheld electric mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the oil, sugar, and vanilla until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. The batter will be quite thick. Drain any excess liquid from the apples (if any) and stir the apple mixture into the batter. Don’t overmix! Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese just until smooth. Add the 1/3 cup sugar, vanilla and egg and beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
- Using a spoon or butter knife, make a trench in the center of the cake batter (going around in the circular shape of the bundt pan) about 1-inch deep (just scoop the excess batter to either side. Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the trench. Try and keep the cream cheese mixture in a ring in the center of the cake so it has cake batter on either side around the circle. Once the cream cheese mixture is in place, use a butter knife to swirl the cream cheese mixture into the surrounding cake batter.
- Bake the cake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (checking often as you may need to decrease or increase time based on your pan and exact oven temperature). Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs.
- While the cake is cooling, mix the ingredients for the glaze in a small pan over medium high heat. Allow the ingredients to come to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Pour the glaze over the cake while the cake is still in the pan. Let the cake cool in the pan before removing. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate and store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature, drizzling caramel sauce over each piece.
- For the caramel sauce, mix the butter, brown sugar, half-and-half or cream, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook while whisking gently for 5 to 7 minutes, until thickened slightly. Add the vanilla and cook another minute to thicken further. Turn off the heat and pour the sauce into a jar. Refrigerate until cold (or use slightly warm but not hot). If the caramel sauce has cooled in the fridge long enough to harden, warm slightly before drizzling on cake.
Recipe Source: from my brother, Nate, who has made this recipe many, many times, perfecting it along the way
92 Comments on “Caramel Apple Bundt Cake”
So good! I failed at the trenching and it ended up all on top. I made the glaze which I think added a lot to the texture. The Carmel sauce was fantastic but you really didn’t need a lot since the cake was so good. I would definitely make again, but follow the reviews that said to layer the cream cheese instead of trenching.
Made this. So good! Will definitely repeat!
Hi, does anyone else have issued with the Caramel Sauce. I’ve tried 2x to make it and every time coming out of the refrigerator, transfered into a pan. It was too Chrystalized. I packed the brown sugar both times. I didn’t cook the 2nd batch as long as the 1st one. Time was the only thing changed. Help!
I ended up making two of these today, and I’ve discovered a good way to deal with the cream cheese layer. I tried doing the tunneling thing, but I wasn’t quick enough to get it in there before the batter closed back up. The second time, I pushed spoonfuls of the cream cheese batter into the cake batter then swirled it. That worked well.
Great tip! Thanks for sharing!
I made this to take to dinner with friends, and kids and adults loved it alike. I followed the advice of some of the reviews and tried layering the cream cheese layer and then top it with the rest of the batter. I found that to be hard, since the cream cheese layer was thin and the batter was so thick, and I didn’t save enough batter out. Next time (I’m going to make it again today for a potluck after church tomorrow) I’ll follow the recipe instructions. As a note to some of the reviews’ critiques: the glaze on the bottom of the cake is a caramel glaze, but it gives a nice crunch to the bottom of the cake, and I wouldn’t leave it out. I do agree that it probably could just go on top if you want after flipping. My cake did not stick to the pan with the glaze on the bottom of the cake, and I waited long enough to flip it that the glaze didn’t really stick too much to the serving plate. The cake was not too oily, as one commenter mentioned. The caramel sauce is awesome, and you definitely could make that well ahead of time. My cake was done in 60 minutes. Great recipe. Thanks, Mel.
I made this tonight to test the recipe for Thanksgiving. I skipped the glaze and subbed some of the oil for butter (7/8 c. oil, 1/3 c. softened butter). It’s one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. I was worried I’d messed it up because the batter really is thick, but it is awesome. (It also baked 15 minutes fast, so keep a close eye on that).
I am an advocate for butter in my bundt cakes , can I substitute the oil for butter and what cup measure would you advise ? Thank you Mel Going to make this for Thanksgiving, sounds divine, always looking for new classics!
Hi Lyn, you can, but sometimes subbing all butter for the oil in cakes will change the texture (or make the cake a tad bit less moist), but it’s definitely worth a try!
I don’t even like caramel and I’m obsessed with this cake! It’s got a fair amount of steps so it isn’t your simple dump-and-go cake, but it is WELL worth the effort and just like everybody else has said, not at all difficult. THE CARAMEL SAUCE!!! Nothing like any sort of store bought stuff, it’s liquid gold ♥️ Thank you for a new family favorite!!
This was delicious even though I think we overbaked it by a few minutes.
Only question is why the glaze goes on the bottom instead of drizzling it on top after taking it out of the pan? Still tasted good, but it stuck to the serving plate a little.
Good question, Kami – I think it’s mostly to help the cake stay moist and so the glaze doesn’t run off (which can happen if it’s out of the pan). But if you make it again, you could definitely try adding the glaze on top of the cake after it’s out.
Does the Carmel glaze stick to the plate? I make Bacardi rum cake and thought the glaze would soak into the cake. I bake every day so tomorrow I’m making the apple cheesecake bars. So glad I found you! This is my third apple cake this week.
Me again! Do you think that Baileys apple pie glaze (instead of Bacardi rum glaze like in Bacardi rum cake glaze)would work well instead of the Carmel glaze!
I haven’t tried that type of glaze so I’m not sure, but you could definitely experiment!
Don’t sleep on this cake—it’s AMAZING. It isn’t as labor-intensive as you think it’s going to be. Mine was done about 10 minutes before the suggested time, so keep an eye on it. Also—if you can, be sure to make the glaze AND the caramel sauce. The glaze makes a delicious crunchy-sugary coating on the cake. I pour it down the sides of the pan, then wait about 10 minutes after the glaze goes on to flip it over—it’s important to get it out of the pan before it completely cools! The caramel sauce is the chef’s kiss to the whole shebang. Thanks for another winner, Mel!
Absolutely wonderful!! New family favorite.
Absolutely fabulous! My husband is dying for me to make it again because I took it to a family dinner and not much left to bring home! It was a huge hit! Took a little time to make much well worth the effort! Thank you for posting it on Printrest! Thanks to some other posts about freezing it because the two of us could never eat all of it!
Can you make this with bob red mill gf baking flour instead of all purpose flour?
I haven’t tried a gluten free version so I’m not sure – sorry!
If you try a GF version and it turns out please let us know!
I used Gala apples. I like lots of apple, so I used more than 3 cups. I took some to work, it was a hit. Very moist!
Question: what do you use to grease the bundt pan?
Nonstick cooking spray can work if it’s well greased or shortening or butter could work, too.
I am joining a long list of people who love this cake. I chose to make it without the glaze because I was afraid it would stick to the pan. It turned out perfectly and was a big hit. I am sure I will be making this fantastic cake often.
My dinner guests loved this dessert! I froze the leftovers and 2 weeks later, it’s just as good!
That’s awesome that it froze so well!
my family absolutely loved this cake, will make this one of our favorites, thank you for sharing.
Delicious cake. It was gone within 3 days. Thank you for sharing your recipe
Hi Mel, I’m going to make your cake tomorrow. You call for white sugar in the glaze. What do you mean by white sugar: granulated or powdered?
Granulated sugar. 🙂
Hello can you use can apples?
I haven’t tried that but you could experiment.
Made this using some “unknown” apples given to me. Absolutely amazing and delicious!
Mel, do you think this would work if I put it in a 9 by 13 pan instead of a bundt pan? And have you ever tried this with half applesauce instead of all the oil. I usually have good luck doing that.
It works great with half the oil subbed for applesauce – as for a 9X13-inch pan, I haven’t tried that! So I’m not sure how it would work. Sorry I’m not more help with that! My only concern would be the amount of batter, but I think it’s definitely worth a try.
I love love love this cake!! So moist, and I love the apple chunks- the caramel topping is SO GOOD!! It bakes well and is always done through for me. Five stars for certain!!
The cake was great. the caramel sauce seemed to have too much vanilla. (Recipe calls for a Tablespoon). Next time I make it I will reduce vanilla to 1 teaspoon and add a teaspoon of spiced rum.
I am concerned about the cake being too oily. Can you reduce the oil by a little and still get a moist cake. What happens if you use a combination of oil and butter? I make a pumpkin cake with a good amount of oil and I think it taste too oily also.kathy
You could definitely experiment!
I made this for a dessert bar at the bar I work at. I was a great hit. will make many more times.
Having a big fall party and would like to make and freeze a few good apple desserts in advance. Thinking this is a good candidate. Any thoughts?
Yes, this freezes great but I wouldn’t add the caramel sauce until you defrost and serve. 🙂
Help! After adding the glaze, my cake won’t come out of the pan.. It’s been upside down over night and I knifed around the edges to no avail. Is there a trick to unstick it??
Hi Joy – you can try setting the pan in a bowl of hot water to see if that helps loosen it a bit (don’t let the water filter into the cake though).
I have made this cake 3 times and it was a hit! Do u think I could add the sauce on top of the cake once it cools?
Sure, definitely worth trying.
This cake was so delicious and fun to make! I usually have a hard time making anything caramel related, but this sauce was a breeze! I vote that this cakes makes an appearance in the next “Recipes the World Forgot.” Totally a winner and crowd pleaser!
Even though I tried to trench and swirl the cream cheese layer, it rose to the top while baking. I will do half batter, then cream cheese layer, then rest of batter if I make this again. It took an hour for mine to cook instead of the 75 minutes. Like another commenter, I didn’t see the point of the glaze–not noticeable and very similar in flavor to the caramel.
Overall the cake was pretty yummy.
Too much oil!!!!!
I ended up adding 1/2 cup milk just to make it blend together.
However… it turned out really tasty.
Just super oily.
My husband even liked it which is saying something!
I just made this last night and took to a dinner party and it was a huge hit! I think its my new favorite cake. I would, however, make a few changes next time I make it. I think the glaze isn’t necessary. It ends up on the plate after the cake is removed from the pan so you don’t see it. Plus its such a thin layer that you can barely taste it, and the caramel sauce, which is very similar, adds enough sweetness. Also the trenching for me was totally awkward, like digging a hole in quicksand! Next time I will put half the batter in the pan, pour on the cream cheese mixture, cover with the rest of the batter, then swirl away. The cook time was spot on. I also sprinkled with powdered sugar when cooled, because it made the cake look prettier. What an awesome recipe though, and a big crowd pleaser. Thank you!!
This cake was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!
This looks divine! I got asked to make a dessert for our church meeting and I decided this would be the one! I don’t have all purpose flour in my house right now, but hard white wheat berries in my house. Would it be ok to use freshly ground wheat or would it be worth a trip to the store?
McKenna – using hard white wheat flour may work if it is ground really finely. I usually don’t substitute 100% whole wheat flour in cake recipes because it has a tendency to make them dense. Good luck if you try it!
I visited your site this morning to find a recipe for a cake for our nanny’s birthday. I made this today, served tonight, and even without that day in the fridge, everyone loved it! This cake is Gorgeous, so perfect for fall, and delicious!!!! I’ll certainly be back to your site – looks like you have some wonderful recipes here!
So, I had to tell you that this is the MOST AMAZING cake I have ever ever ever had. I made this for Easter per your Easter menu suggestion, and I now have a new favorite cake recipe. My husband, who seriously never ever comments on my cooking, even said it was “pretty good” 🙂 And our 3 year old son was in mid-first-bite when he said “HHHMMMM, mom! this is awesome!” So, thanks again!
This cake was amazing!!! Didn’t do the cream cheese swirl as pretty as yours, but next time I will. I thought that it would be labor intensive, but once I got started it was easy! Thanks again for another fabulous recipe!!
My husband bought me a bundt pan for Christmas. A really good, won’t stick, lovely bundt pan. I decided to test it on this cake. Wow! So extremely delicious. Moist. Yummy. Amazing. Delicious. I will be making this again because my husband will NOT stop talking about it. 🙂
What a wonderful, amazing cake! Fairly labor intensive and I never did get a “pretty” tunnel of cream cheese filling, but it looked fine and tasted amazing. The caramel sauce is sinful but so-o-o-o delicious. I would make this again for a special dessert – it is absolutely the best apple cake ever!!
This was AMAZING! I’m definitely making this every fall! Thank you!
I made this for a Saturday night treat. It was wonderful! The caramel sauce is absolutely perfect.
Made this cake for a potluck over the weekend. Everyone loved it and wanted the recipe. Will be on the menu for Thankgsiving, thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!
What a delicious moist cake! Mine looked like your picture, got rave reviews,and will definitely be on my list of favorites. Thank you.
Mel, my lips love you… and my hips hate you!! LOL! This cake is in one word…AMAZING!! Will be making this one again and again!
Oh, my- oh my, oh my, oh my!!! I baked this cake last night for a family get-together, and was told by not one, but three different people that this is THE BEST CAKE THEY HAVE EVER EATEN!!! And these people are veteran cake lovers. . . . The caramel sauce is DIVINE. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe, Mel! It has added happiness and caramely deliciousness to my life! 😉
I made this last night and loved it warm with some vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce drizzled over. I like it today, and it’s still very moist, but it was fabulous warm.
This was amazing! So easy, so moist, so flavorful. An all around hit!!
this is all kinds of glorious, mel, even without the bonus magical touch of caramel! 🙂
Mel- thanks for yet another awesome recipe!! Took this to a friends house for Sunday dinner and to was amazing!! Thanks for sharing and you and your families food likes are so similar to my little families!! Oh I also made your firecracker chicken and it was awesome!! Family loved it!!!
I made this for a going away party I went to yesterday, and I have never received such rave reviews. To say it was a hit is an understatement. Thanks for the great recipe!
I made this yesterday for a Halloween party and it was a hit! I ended up having more caramel sauce than I needed for the cake, but I was happy to use it for a snack with apple slices today.
Christine – I think you are right about the heaviness of the cream cheese layer which is why the recipe calls to trench it in instead of layering it, but if you use your suggestion and start with 2/3 of the cake batter first, it will probably work out just fine. Let me know if you try it that way!
Mel- I was going thru recipes -l00king for “THE” cake to make for my husbands birthday this weekend- then opened up this recipe…VIOLA` ….making this one..oh it sounds delicious!! and I think I will try Teresa’s way- no trench..just layering!! will let you know how it gets!!
thanks !! yum!!
Mel, this looks A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. I will be making it VERY soon.
I had the same thought as Teresa, except to pour about 2/3 of the batter in the pan, then put the cream cheese mixture around the center, and then cover it with the other 1/3 of the batter. The cream cheese mixture is probably heavier than the batter (?) and may sink too close to the top if put in the middle to start. What do you think?
Our Thanksgiving dessert!!! Looks fabulous!!!
Mel, your timing is impeccable! I am taking dessert to the church party tomorrow night, and decided on one of my favorite apple cake recipes. Unfortunately it hasn’t been as good as usual the last couple times I made it, and I have even considered sending it to you to perfect! I saw Food Network’s apple cake recipe this week, but it has mixed reviews. I was feeling torn. Not any longer, though. I will make this and I know it will be a hit!
WOW! What a cake – and bless my heart – I have EVERY ingredient in this recipe right in the kitchen. No reason not to bake. Love cakes that are better few days out !
Making your Spaghetti Pie to-night! Oven will already be hot for the cake….can’t beat that timing!!!
This cake looks so good! Your website it my favorite! Whenever I need a dinner idea or a delicious dessert your is the site I come to cause I know it will always be good! I would love if you would come share at my new linky party, FriDays Made Sweet! at CupcakesWithSprinkles.blogspot.com
Teresa – I have a feeling it would work fine doing as you suggested and layering the batter and then swirling.
Tara – my brother and I use firm sweet apples like gala or fuji or braeburn but it is probably adaptable to just about any kind of apple.
I love cakes that taste better the second day. So much easier when you’re preparing something for a party or something! It looks amazing. Love all the different components. 🙂
This looks wonderful. I could just eat the whole thing. I will definitely be making this immediately! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe.
Last week I made not one, but two apple cakes for family members. But this cake with cream cheese swirled throughout just ups the ante for me and makes it a must bake!
Confession: I don’t own a Bundt pan! I know, what is wrong with me! Especially since I seriously have a whole boat load of Bundt cakes bookmarked. I know I could easily adapted most of the recipes for a standard cake pan, but that would be no fun. So I think this weekend is finally the time to go buy one, because I won’t get this cake outta my head until I make it!
You don’t have to tell me twice to make it!
What kind of apples should I use? Tart like Granny Smith or a sweeter apple?
You must have been reading my mind. We are having a family get-together for my daughter’s dedication this weekend and I wanted a nice fall dessert and had decided on a bundt cake of some sort. I have been scouring the internet for that perfect fall bundt cake recipe with no luck. I should never have doubted I would find it here. Thank you!!
Hi Mel, I love apple cake! I have a recipe I have used for years but I think I will try this. I was wondering, is it necessary to make the trench in the batter for the cream cheese layer? Could I pour half the batter in the pan, do the cream cheese then pour the rest of the batter over that? Thanks
Of course!……Mel and her brother will be happy with this solution to what was a messy, time -consuming, ridiculously awkward process for me….thanks for stating the obvious…..wish i’d thought of it
Maybe you would want to update the recipe to say this?
I was thinking about making brownies or a cake this weekend. Now I know what I’ll make! This apple cake looks delicious!
Such a great recipe! I will definitely have to make this 😀
Yum! I am all about the pumpkin right now, but my son loves apples. I have promising him I would make him an apple cake. He is going to love this caramel apple cake!