Food & Drink

CAKE MAGIC!: Caramel Apple Cake

Every Cake Magic! cake is built on a simple premise: mix and match a batter, a flavoring syrup, and a frosting in order to make 100+ variations of your favorite cakes. In this recipe, we’ll use a Apple Cake Batter, a Milky Caramel Syrup, and a Salted Caramel Frosting to create the perfect Caramel Apple Cake.


Caramel Apple Cake


For the Salted Caramel

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream

For the Cake

  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for greasing the pans
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting the pans
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup full-fat plain yogurt (preferably not Greek yogurt, see Making Substitutions)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, or 1 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups peeled, coarsely grated apple

For the Milky Caramel Syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup heavy (whipping) cream
  • ¼ cup Salted Caramel
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup Salted Caramel, plus extra for swirling, if desired
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups (one 16-ounce box) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. First, make the Salted Caramel: Combine sugar and salt in a heavy medium-size saucepan over medium to medium-high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Continue to cook, swirling the pan occasionally, until the caramel is deep amber and smells of toasted nuts but has not begun to smoke, 5 to 8 minutes. Then tilt the pan away from you and stir in the butter and vanilla. Add the heavy cream in a thin, slow stream, and stir until the cream is incorporated. Then remove the pan from the heat and let the caramel cool completely before using (it will thicken significantly).
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter the bottom and sides of two 8-inch, round cake pans. Dust with flour to coat, then invert and tap out any excess. (If making cupcakes, use liners instead of greasing and coating the tins.)
  3. Place all of the dry cake mix ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together well to combine.
  4. Stir in the yogurt, butter, water, vanilla, eggs, and apple until moistened and no lumps remain (be careful not to overmix). Stir in the grated apple. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
  5. Bake until the layers are domed and golden brown, and a few moist crumbs cling to a skewer inserted in the center of the cake, 40 to 45 minutes (40 to 50 minutes for a Bundt, 25 to 30 minutes for a 13 by 9-inch cake, and 25 to 30 minutes for cupcakes).
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup: Combine the sugar, cream, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla and caramel, and set aside to cool. Use the syrup warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature. Pour it over the cake when it’s warm or let it stand, covered, until it reaches room temperature.
  7. After removing the cake layers from the oven, pierce them (still in the pans) at 1-inch intervals with a skewer or paring knife. Pour or brush the syrup over the layers, dividing it evenly. Set the layers aside, in the pans, on a wire rack to cool completely. (The syrup will soak into the cakes.)
  8. When the cakes are cool and no longer wet to the touch, 1 to 2 hours, make the frosting: Combine the butter, caramel, salt, and 2 cups of the sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the remaining sugar and beat on medium speed until the frosting is pale and no longer grainy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat until the frosting is very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  9. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of one of the cake layers to loosen it. (Turn the layers out of their pans 1 by 1, as you frost them.) Place the layer on a cake plate with strips of waxed, or parchment, paper underneath; these will catch any drips and keep your cake plate clean. Spread the layer with about a third of the frosting on top.
  10. Frost the rest. Run a knife, or an offset spatula, around the edge of the remaining cake layer. Invert it onto the frosted layer. Frost the sides and top of the cake with the remaining frosting.

Excerpted from Caroline Wright’s Cake Magic!.

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