Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze

September 18, 2013

Recipes, Sheri Castle

Sheri CastleMy family has been baking this cake for more than fifty years, a recipe that proves that a stunning cake doesn’t have to be fancy. This is one of those old-fashioned oil-based cakes, so it is very moist. There is barely enough batter to hold the apples and nuts together. The sticky caramel glaze tastes like toffee. It’s simply fantastic.

You will need four or five apples. A mixture of different types of apples works better than any single variety.

Makes 12 servings

3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
5 cups peeled, cored, and diced apples
1 1/2 cups walnut pieces

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  1. For the cake: position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch light metal baking pan.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and salt into a medium bowl.
  3. Beat the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil until smooth in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer set to low speed, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating only until it disappears into the batter. Quickly beat in the vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the apples and walnuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  4. Bake in the center of the oven until a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour. Place the pan on a wire rack. Use a chopstick or skewer to poke holes over the top of the cake. Let cool to room temperature.
  5. For the glaze: Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. Stir until smooth and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream, bring to a boil, and cook until the glaze thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Slowly pour the glaze over the cake, letting it seep down into the holes.


©2011, Sheri Castle. From The New Southern Garden Cookbook: Recipes for Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers’ Markets, Roadside Stands and CSA Farm Boxes.

Sheri Castle is an award-winning food writer, recipe developer, recipe tester and culinary instructor. She is known for melding storytelling, humor and culinary expertise, so she can tell a tale while making a memorable meal. Sheri hails from the Blue Ridge Mountains but has lived in Chapel Hill, N.C., for many years with her husband, daughter, and beloved dog. She is fueled by farmers’ market fare and excellent bourbon. Check her out at


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