Caramel Apple Bundt Cake

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!

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake

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

Yield: Serves 8

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake

Note: Make a note that this recipe actually tastes best the second day so you can make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Also, if you are looking for other make-ahead components, the caramel sauce can be made and refrigerated for up to a week ahead of time.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium apples, for about 3 cups chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Cream Cheese Layer:
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg
  • Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp vanilla
  • Caramel Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla


  1. Generously grease and flour a 9 or 10-inch bundt pan. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

54 Responses to Caramel Apple Bundt Cake

  1. Kathy says:

    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

  2. Linda says:

    I made this for a dessert bar at the bar I work at. I was a great hit. will make many more times.

  3. Janelle says:

    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?

  4. Joy says:

    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??

    • Mel says:

      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).

  5. Tonya says:

    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?

  6. Becky says:

    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!

  7. Haley says:

    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.

  8. Rachael says:

    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!

  9. Karen says:

    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!!

  10. Beth says:

    This cake was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW!

  11. McKenna says:

    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?

    • Mel says:

      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!

  12. Jody says:

    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!

  13. Jess says:

    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” πŸ™‚ And our 3 year old son was in mid-first-bite when he said “HHHMMMM, mom! this is awesome!” So, thanks again!

  14. Cyndi says:

    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!!

  15. Joyce says:

    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. πŸ™‚

  16. Cheryl says:

    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!!

  17. Liz says:

    This was AMAZING! I’m definitely making this every fall! Thank you!

  18. Wendy says:

    I made this for a Saturday night treat. It was wonderful! The caramel sauce is absolutely perfect.

  19. Linda says:

    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!

  20. Kezia says:

    What a delicious moist cake! Mine looked like your picture, got rave reviews,and will definitely be on my list of favorites. Thank you.

  21. Terri says:

    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!

  22. Amy says:

    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! πŸ˜‰

  23. d says:

    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.

  24. Charley says:

    This was amazing! So easy, so moist, so flavorful. An all around hit!!

  25. grace says:

    this is all kinds of glorious, mel, even without the bonus magical touch of caramel! πŸ™‚

  26. Jessie says:

    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!!!

  27. Hillary Jones says:

    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!

  28. Sarah Moran says:

    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.

  29. Mel says:

    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!

  30. robin says:

    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!!

  31. Christine says:

    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?

  32. Paula says:

    Our Thanksgiving dessert!!! Looks fabulous!!!

  33. Stacie D. says:

    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!

  34. Martha P. says:

    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!!!

  35. Meghan says:

    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

  36. Mel says:

    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.

  37. 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. πŸ™‚

  38. This looks wonderful. I could just eat the whole thing. I will definitely be making this immediately! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  39. Sandle says:

    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!

  40. 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!

  41. Tara Rogers says:

    What kind of apples should I use? Tart like Granny Smith or a sweeter apple?

  42. Renae says:

    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!!

  43. Teresa says:

    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

    • Ann Swartz says:

      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

  44. Teresa R. says:

    I was thinking about making brownies or a cake this weekend. Now I know what I’ll make! This apple cake looks delicious!

  45. Such a great recipe! I will definitely have to make this πŸ˜€

  46. Kim in MD says:

    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!

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