Apple Spice Cake with Boiled Caramel Frosting

The perfect dessert for football games or fall picnics, this Apple Spice Cake is ultra moist and delicious. Fresh apples, plenty of fall spices…all topped with a caramel frosting you pour right on top.

Vegetable oil and plenty of eggs are my favorite method for the best sheet cake. And it makes it easier since you don’t have to cream any butter. 😊

close up view of finished cake.

Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Frosting

A super moist spice cake with plenty of fresh apples and topped with a smooth caramel icing. You'll love this sheet cake for serving a crowd at your next fall get-together.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Serving Size 20 slices

Equipment

  • Rimmed jelly roll pan or 13 x 9 pan
  • 2 quart saucepan
  • Hand mixer

Ingredients 

Apple Cake Batter

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 3 large eggs lightly beaten
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup applesauce
  • 3 cups peeled and chopped apples about 2 large apples

Caramel Frosting

  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° with the rack in the center.
  • Make the cake batter. Stir together flour, spices, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and spices in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, and apple sauce and beat with a hand mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed. Add chopped apples and stir by hand,
    batter with dry ingredients, finished, and with chopped apples added.
  • Bake. Pour batter into a 10 x 15-inch jelly roll pan or a 13 x 9 baking dish. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Cool in the pan for at least 2 hours before making the frosting.
    pouring batter with apple chunks into pan.
  • Cool. Cool in the pan for at least 2 hours before making the frosting.
    fully caked sheet cake.
  • Make the caramel frosting. Bring ½ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup butter, and 3 tablespoons of milk to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, continuing to whisk. Remove from the heat, and using a hand mixer, gradually beat in powdered sugar until smooth, until the icing begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over the cooled cake.
    boiling and beating frosting.
  • Cool and serve. Let the frosting cool and harden for at least 20 minutes. It should set up very quickly to form a firm layer. Cut into squares and serve.
    slice of frosted cake.

Notes

If you’ve never made caramel frosting before, it can be hard to know when to stop beating.  As soon as you see any thickening, pour a very small amount on top of the cake.  If it runs off, it needs a little more time.  If it flattens and stays put, it’s ready!  Work quickly.
The batter will seem very thick when you pour it into the pan, but don’t add any additional liquid.  As the apples bake, they will add liquid to the cake. 
Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 31mg | Sodium: 226mg | Potassium: 64mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 114IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1mg

Apples. The type of apple doesn’t matter. Really. I usually use Honeycrisp or Granny Smith because those are our favorites for eating fresh, and there’s no difference. Pick your favorite apple to eat, which will be great in this cake.

ingredients on cutting board.

🥫 Storage


I prefer to store any leftovers in the fridge, tightly covered. You can leave it out on the counter for a day or so, though.

👩🏻‍🍳 sheet cake tips

diced apples in hand.
  • This recipe is awesome with chopped pecans in the batter and on top of the frosting.
  • You can double the icing if you’d like a thick layer, but it’s very sweet.
  • Don’t forget to let the cake cool completely before icing it. Otherwise, the frosting will melt and not set up properly.
  • Want to make a layer cake or cupcakes? It is very moist and soft and sticks to the pan a bit. You can try it, but I wouldn’t risk it for a special occasion.

📘 Related Recipes

🍽 Serve it with

For an autumn get-together, you’ll love these recipes:

finished frosted cake.
Apple Spice Cake with Boiled Caramel FrostingApple Spice Cake with Boiled Caramel Frosting

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