Applesauce Cake with Caramel Sauce

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Applesauce Cake with Caramel Sauce is the perfect fall dessert. Seasonal apples, cinnamon applesauce, spiced rum, and an addicting caramel sauce are the featured ingredients in this delicious fall cake. So amazing and simple to make too!

Looking for other cake recipes? Try this Banana Sheet Cake, a Moist Strawberry Shortcake Recipe, or Chocolate Cake for Two!

Side view of a slice of applesauce cake with caramel sauce, and a jar of caramel in the background.

Best Apple Cake

Are you more of an apple or pumpkin fan when it comes to fall baking? I’ve wavered some, but I’ll just go neutral here and say BOTH. I don’t want to cause a controversy! 😀

Either way, fall baking is my favorite. It just makes sense that when the weather starts to cool, we all crave something sweet and sometimes warm (in this case). A cup of apple cider or coffee, and a nice slice of cake.

Why we Love this Recipe:

  • Super moist.
  • With bits of apple chunks.
  • Full of fall flavors – cinnamon and spiced rum.
  • Topped with a delicious caramel sauce that is totally addicting!
Side view of some sliced applesauce cake with caramel sauce.

Ingredients needed for Applesauce Cake:

You can mix everything in ONE bowl! Love it when that happens.

  • Butter – Melted unsalted butter.
  • Sugars – A combo of brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  • Vanilla – Watkin’s Vanilla is the brand I buy.
  • Applesauce – Cinnamon applesauce helps make this cake super moist.
  • Rum – Use spiced or dark rum. You can also just use additional applesauce if desired.
  • Eggs – Two large eggs.
  • Baking Staples – Baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon.
  • Flour – Two cups of all-purpose flour.
  • Apples – I used about two cups of diced seasonal apples, or approximate 1 1/2 large apples.
The ingredients for the applesauce cake, labeled.

Ingredients needed for Caramel Sauce:

No candy thermometer required!

  • Water
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Heavy Cream
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Sea Salt
The ingredients for the homemade caramel sauce, labeled.

How to make Applesauce Cake with Caramel Sauce:

Step 1
Prep. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 baking dish with baking spray.

Step 2
Combine wet ingredients. In a large mixing bowl, combine the melted butter and sugars and mix well. Then add the vanilla, applesauce, rum, and finally, the eggs. Mix well.

Step 3
Add dry ingredients. Then add the baking soda, kosher salt, and cinnamon. Stir to combine, and then add flour and mix until just combined.


Step 4
Add the apples. Pour the diced apples into the batter and gently mix again. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly.

Step 5
Bake cake. Bake cake for approximately 30-35 minutes, or until done in the center. Remove from oven to cool just slightly.

Step 5
Make caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and stop stirring. Let the mixture continue to boil until it turns amber in color. This could take several minutes.

Remove pan from the heat and slowly (and carefully!) whisk in the (room temperature) heavy cream. Then mix the butter into mixture and add the sea salt. Pour into a glass jar (or other small dish).

Overhead view of a small jar of caramel sauce with a spoon.

Step 6
Serve. Serve cake warm with a spoonful of caramel sauce. You can also serve room temperature and warm up the caramel sauce for drizzling.

If serving a large group, you can pour a good portion of the caramel sauce over the cake. It’s more impressive looking and the caramel will start to absorb into the cake too.

Store the leftover cake in the refrigerator, covered, for up to three days.

Recipe FAQs

Why is applesauce used in cakes?

Applesauce is a great substitute for oil and butter in baked good because it keeps food moist without all the added saturated fats. However, in this case, the applesauce ADDS to the fats making it extra moist and delicious.

What are the best apples for apple cake?

The key to a great apple cake is to use a variety of apples. I like using a combination of Granny Smith (for tartness) and either Honey Crisp or Fuji (for sweetness).

Should apple cake be refrigerated?

Due to the fresh apples in apple cake, the leftover cake should be stored in the refrigerator.

Can you freeze apple cake?

Yes, you can freeze apple cake. Wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap and then place in a zip top freezer bag. Apple Cake will stay fresh for three months and can be thawed and served at room temperature.

Overhead view of small plates with applesauce cake and caramel sauce on top.

I used a couple different apples for my apple cake, but you could use your favorite baking apple. Since I’m a Texan now, I go with whatever looks good at the grocery store, instead of going to an orchard (like the old days). My favorites are:

  • Braeburn
  • Fuji
  • Gala
  • Granny Smith
  • Honeycrisp
  • Jonathan
  • Pink Lady

Other Delicious Apple Recipes:

Are you more interested in an apple flavored cocktail instead? Try an Apple Cider Martini or an Apple Cider Margarita!

Side view of a apple cake with some pieces with caramel sauce.

Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)

xoxo ~Sue

Overhead view of a piece of caramel applesauce cake with a fork.

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Sauce

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Sauce is the perfect fall dessert. Seasonal apples, cinnamon applesauce, spiced rum, and an addicting caramel sauce are the featured ingredients in this delicious fall cake. So amazing and simple to make too!
4.60 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 9 servings
Calories: 523kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter – melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1/3 cup dark rum – or spiced rum (or applesauce)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups apples (use baking apples) – peeled and diced

For the caramel sauce:

  • 1/4 cup water – room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream – room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 dish with parchment paper and/or baking spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter and sugars. Then add vanilla, cinnamon applesauce, dark rum, and then eggs. Make sure you add the eggs last to prevent them from getting warm from the melted butter.
  • Then add the baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, and flour. Stir until just combined, and then gradually add diced apples and mix.
  • Pour the cake batter into the baking dish and smooth out evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until done in the center. Remove to cool slightly.
  • See recipe for CARAMEL SAUCE for tips and tricks and step-by-step photos!
  • Meanwhile, make caramel sauce. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and stop stirring. Let the mixture continue to boil until it turns amber in color. This could take several minutes.
    Remove pan from the heat and slowly (and carefully!) whisk in the heavy cream. Then mix the butter into mixture and add the sea salt. Pour into a glass jar (or other small dish).
  • To serve, slice cake into 9 equal pieces. Serve warm with a spoonful of caramel sauce.

Notes

For this recipe, I used one Granny Smith apple and one Honey-crisp. You could use any good baking apple.
Use room temperature ingredients for the homemade caramel sauce!
TIP: If serving a large group, you can pour a good portion of the caramel sauce over the cake. It’s more impressive looking and the caramel will start to absorb into the cake too.

Nutrition

Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 97mg | Sodium: 727mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 51g | Vitamin A: 751IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

6 Comments

  1. Can you suggest a substitute for the rum?

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Just use additional apple sauce in place of the rum.

  2. Fall is my favorite because of all the apple treats!! This cake is super delicious and easy to make!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Apples and pumpkin, oh my! Thanks for your feedback, Tiff!

  3. Apple spice cake for the win! Amazing!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      It’s the perfect fall cake!

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