Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Improv Cooking Challenge: Caramel Apple Cake

I'm always up for a good challenge, especially one that involves food!  I happened upon the Lady Behind the Curtain's brand new Improv Cooking Challenge where she assigns 2 mystery ingredients and we are given free reign to come up with whatever recipe our little hearts desire.  I was thrilled to see the 2 secret ingredients for the month of October were apples and caramel.  I knew one of my coworker's birthday was coming up and I knew he'd go for an apple cake.  Off I went hunting for the perfect cake.

I think I found it in this Caramel Apple Cake.  It has apples (that makes it healthy!), caramel, nuts, and more caramel in the cream cheese frosting.  Holy cavity Batman, this is one sweet cake.  You won't hear me complaining about that though.  Aside from mistakenly refrigerating this cake, thus hardening up the caramel nuggets inside, this cake was a real winner.  I think next time I might add nuts to the inside of the cake as well but there's already a lot of goodness packed in each bite.  

With all the apple orchards overflowing with apples right now, this is a great fall cake to whip up for a family gathering or just to indulge in yourself!

Caramel Apple Cake
adapted from Mommie Cooks


For the Cake:
2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 C of brown sugar
1 C white sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
31/2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 12 oz can evaporated milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
2 large apples, peeled and chopped
7 Oz. (1/2 bag) cubed caramels, chopped
1/2 cup caramel apple preserves

For the Icing:
7 Oz. (1/2 Bag) of cubed caramels
3 T. whole milk
3/4 stick of butter, room temperature
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts, optional

Line two 9" cake pans with parchment paper and grease.  Preheat oven to 350.
Cream together the two sticks of butter along with the brown and white sugars.  Add in eggs, one at a time, and vanilla.  Mix well and gradually add cake flour and baking powder.  Then add evaporated milk and spices.  Mix just until blended.  Finally, fold in the apples and chopped caramels.

Divide batter between 2 prepared pans.  Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  

While the cake is baking, combine remaining caramels and milk and heat in a double boiler.  Melt the mixture over low heat.  Once it's completed melted, remove it from the heat and give it a few minutes to cool back down (not too long though or it will turn into a hardened mess!). 

While your caramel is cooling, beat butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl until fluffy.  Add in powdered sugar.  After the caramel has cooled slightly, add the melted caramel to the butter mixture.  Mix well and refrigerate until you're ready to frost the cake.

Remove cakes to a cooling rack.  Let cool, in pan, for about 10 minutes.  When cool enough to handle, remove from pans and baste with caramel apple preserves.

Allow to cool completely on wire racks. 

Once cooled, assemble cake, frosting each layer. 

Garnish with toasted walnuts, if desired.  Note:  This cake is best if eaten within 2 days of baking.  Do not refrigerate cake or the caramels will harden back up, making it difficult to cut.


  1. Wow! Looks yummy I am a fellow Improv Challenge participant and your newest follower.

  2. Looks wonderful! I've added the Caramel Apple Scones #53.

  3. I LOVE your recipe! Thanks for participating in THE IMPROV COOKING CHALLENGE!! I can't wait to see what you do next month with Pumpkin and Cream Cheese. ---Sheryl---

  4. The caramel apple preserves on the cake before the frosting is genius.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Improv Cooking Challenge recipe: Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies.

    Cook Lisa Cook

  5. This looks amazing!! Your last handful of recipes look so good... I wish I could spend some time in your kitchen!!

  6. What a yummy looking cake. Can't wait to try the recipe. :)

    Tracy Screaming Sardine

  7. Holy yum! I wish a slice of that was in front of me right now. But just a slice. I fear what I would do with the whole cake. :)

  8. Yum, your cake looks delish!

  9. omg... that cake looks AMAZING. a sweet tooth's dream. must try...

  10. Sounds like fun! Your cake looks amazing! I can never seem to make my cakes look pretty. Such a great one for the season.

  11. These recipe look delicious and so easy to make. I cook it with little difference. Added dairy milk chocolate and creams in middle after 30% baking. So delicious and testy dish.

  12. This cake sounds delicious! I wish I had a slice right now. Great idea for this month's challenge!!

  13. What a beauty! I'm intimidated about making cakes. Yours is gorgeous :)