Caramel Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Tasty, moist cakes are dotted with apples and walnuts; together with a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce, these individual desserts sing two-part harmony. Fall never had it so good!

Caramel Apple Cake by Cakewalker

Luncheon Ladies

While clicking through a CD of old photographs the other day, I came across a series of pictures from our former home in the hills of Burbank, CA. It was the fall of 2003 and I had recently completed a DIY project of a kitchen remodel. I did a lot of home renovations that year. Anyone who has undergone a kitchen reno knows it really throws a wrench into the flow of a household. I’m talking craziness like replacing exterior doors in the heat of summer, employing the BBQ grill to heat food in the dead of winter and using the bath tub to wash the few dishes and cutlery that wasn’t packed away. Did I mention my wife was in her 2nd trimester while all this was going on? But it was a successful project taking the galley style kitchen from the dark rut of its 1970s style and décor into a nice, bright and contemporary space.

Bethany Dinette

And then I saw it, the photo depicting a little dining nook under the window with a view to the front yard. It sat at the end of a run of cabinets and it was an ideal location for a table for two. I outfitted the corner with a small TV. It could be viewed from several points in the kitchen and the channel was always set to Food Network. I spent a lot of time in that kitchen breaking the new appliances in. And I picked up cooking tips, recipes and dinner ideas from the programs I watched. I also spent a great deal of quality time with my baby boy for this nook is where our nuclear family ate all our meals. My wife and I took the two seats, of course, but Devin’s high chair slid right up to the cozy table.

Boiling Sugar

Lunch was always one of our favorite times to nibble and watch. “Paula’s Home Cooking” and “Everyday Italian” aired back-to-back in those days. Giada’s show had debuted that year on the Food Network, but Paula’s show was in its second season. I can still hear the opening theme song in my mind, the country ditty that not only sounded the start of Paula’s program, but alerted me to get lunch on the table. By today’s standards, it was a simple production―just Paula, the camera and a kitchen. How could you not be drawn in with her charming presence? Not only can she romance the food, but she romances you too.

Salted Caramel Sauce by Cakewalker

I never really got to watch much of Giada because I was focused on spoon-feeding Devin. His favorites were butternut squash and applesauce. I’d target my gaze on his mouth, drawing each loaded spoonful with precision to his lips keeping spills, drips and slops at bay. Every now and again I’d miss, of course, usually because he’d crane his neck to see the TV. His eyes were fixed high to the pretty face on the screen. It wasn’t until years later, after he had acquired the words, that he expressed he liked Giada in the sweetest, boyish, most bashful way!

Bundtlette Pan

As the hour came to end, so did our meal. I’d clean my boy up real good, place him in crawling position on the floor, and put him in motion towards his toys with an endearing pat on the butt. My attention would turn towards the rest of the kitchen cleanup under the pleasant relaxation that lingered from the previous hour-an hour of quality time with my son and our luncheon ladies.

The CD was carefully placed in its jewel case and returned to the storage box from which it came. It’s a bit ironic that it is now the fall of 2013. Devin is 10 years old, he has a younger sister and big renovation projects have given way to raising a family. But the reflection from a single photograph takes it all back to the beginning.

Caramel Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

One of the very first times I watched Paula Deen she featured a Caramel Apple Cake on her show. I remember how terrific it looked, how easy it came together. A couple of years later after moving to Apple Hill in northern California, I learned for myself how divine this cake is.

Today I present my take on Paula’s classic recipe. I’ve moved the cake from a 13×9 baking dish into bundtlette pans. Her caramel glaze gets a shot of Apple Brandy before it soaks into the bottoms of the cakes. The dessert is finished with a salted caramel sauce using gray salt and garnished with walnuts!

The Cake and Apple Brandy Caramel Glaze are adaptations from The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook by Paula H. Deen.

Originally published September 20, 2013

Caramel Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: About 10 individual Bundt cakes

Serving Size: One cake

Caramel Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce

This recipe yields tasty, moist cakes dotted with apples and walnuts. Together with a generous drizzle of salted caramel sauce, these individual desserts sing two-part harmony. Fall never had it so good!


  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh diced apples
  • Apple Brandy Caramel Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks butter)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 oz. Apple Brandy or regular Brandy (optional)
  • Salted Caramel Sauce:
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/4 cup (one half stick) chilled unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon Gray Salt or kosher salt
  • Garnish:
  • Chopped toasted walnuts (optional)


    Make the Caramel Sauce:
  • Measure the cream into a cup, add the vanilla and stir; set aside.
  • In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat stir the corn syrup, sugar and 2 tablespoons water until the sugar is dissolved. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a boil. Without stirring, occasionally swirl the pan and brush the sides down with a wet pastry brush, until a deep amber color is achieved—about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream (it will bubble furiously). Return to medium heat whisking for 2 minutes until thick and smooth. Remove from heat, whisk in the butter and salt, then strain into a heat-safe bowl. Allow to cool, transfer caramel to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. Can be made 3 days in advance.
  • For the cake:
  • Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
  • Cream the oil, sugar and eggs together until pale yellow in color, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the flour and baking powder; mix together until well blended. Add the vanilla, nuts and apples; stirring until well incorporated. Spoon the batter into the cavities of a greased and floured 6-count Bundtlette pan to nearly ¾ full each. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes clean. Remove the pan/s from the oven, but do not turn out the cakes yet. With a toothpick or bamboo skewer, carefully poke holes all around the bottom of the Bundtlettes, making sure not to hit the sides or bottom of the pan cavities.
  • Make the Apple Brandy Caramel glaze:
  • In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, bring all of the ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil for about 2 minutes. Carefully spoon the glaze onto the bottoms of the poked cakes. Keep spooning the glaze onto the holes until nearly all the glaze is used. Allow the cakes to absorb the glaze for 8 minutes or so. Have a sheet pan lined with parchment paper ready, invert the cake pan onto the sheet pan tapping lightly to release the cakes. The Bundtlettes should now be upright. Cool completely.
  • To serve:
  • Bring the salted caramel sauce to near room temperature. Place cakes onto individual serving plates. Spoon the caramel sauce over the top of the cakes allowing it to cascade down the sides a bit. Garnish with a sprinkle of toasted walnuts, if desired.


  1. Brooks,
    I have had to read this post at least twice, and parts of it even more. The Caramel Apple Cake caught my eye, and the nostalgia-laced narrative caught my heart. Love this one. Happy weekend!

  2. Wow, that first photo looks like a magazine cover! Bravo!

  3. Brooks, These mini Apple Cakes are so cute and your photo is amazing….looks like a magazine cover. I think Paula would love the bundt twist on her sheet cake. P.S. All males like Giada!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Ha! I suspect you’re right about that Joan. Thank you for the kind comment, and how fun it would be to get a thumbs up from Paula.

  4. It’s so neat how we enjoy things, like cooking shows, but it’s not just about the cooking. The memories of lunch with your family along with the sounds of the cooking shows inspire a walk down memory lane! Your caramel apple cakes look so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your memories with us!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Dionne, you’re so right about the sounds of the cooking shows. Thank you for the compliment—it’s great to have you here!

  5. What a great recipe! I love the caramel sauce. It looks so delicious on those apple cakes with the toasted walnuts. Thanks for giving me another fabulous dessert choice. Oh by the way, I remember watching Paula and Giada often in years past, but I’d have to add on Emeril as well…all good shows. Still love Rachel Ray, too.

  6. What is the best apple to use for this recipe?

    • Brooks Walker says

      Hi Joana, the go to standard is Granny Smith for its ability to hold up to heat—something you want an apple to do so the palate is aware of its presence in a baked recipe. There are three other varieties, however, which do the same and provide a nice balance of sweet-tart flavor: Pink Lady, Honeycrisp and Mutsu. Thank you for visiting and happy baking!

  7. Brooks,
    Your little Caramel Bundtlette is pure perfection for Fall. I’m sure that all of your layers flavors.blend together into one wonderful dessert. It’s funny how many of our favorite memories are food related.

  8. These look fabulous! I need to get some teeny weeny bundt pans. Great job!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you so much, Jett, it’s great to have you here! Those “bundtlette” pans are available at most kitchen stores, either as genuine Bundt pans or from other makers.

  9. I just bought my first bundt pan a few months ago, in summer.I’m a senior and live alone and having a huge cake around is dangerous. Just in the mail yesterday arrived my Heritage Bundt pan from Nordicware with six molds. I’m going to try your Apple Cake. Giving away a half of cake is ugly so this new pan affords me the ability of handing off 3 or 4 mini-cakes to neighbors. Glad I found your site!
    – Ken

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thank you for the wonderful comment, Ken, and welcome! Best wishes with the cake, I hope you enjoy it.

  10. Brooks, I’ll be rereading this post, not just for the recipe, but for the story. The way you captured that time in your life is just beautiful! (You stay away for long periods of time, but then you come back with a bang!)

  11. Ah yes, the upheaval of a kitchen reno. We moved our temporary kitchen upstairs to the office and used one of the pedestal sinks in our only bathroom upstairs for washing dishes (the other sink was strictly for bathroom functions). We lived like that for almost six months!
    This cake looks divine, sadly I donated my mini bundt pans so I may revert to the original pan size. The sauce is making my mouth water.

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