Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake

A luscious Caramel Apple Cake with sautéed cinnamon apples creates a beautiful caramelized glaze. Top it off with as much of this smooth and creamy homemade bourbon caramel sauce. You won’t regret it!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

The brisk autumn weather is finally in full swing here in Phoenix. A little late compared to most of the U.S. but that’s the desert for you. Cozy sweaters, the changing colors of leaves and hot apple cider and I’m ALL for it!

Recently, I returned from a week-long trip from my hometown of Queens, NY. While there I had an opportunity to go apple picking in upstate NY. It was my first time and I loved every moment of it! From knowing in a small way I’m helping support farmers to all of the possible apple desserts soon to be baked, from start to end, it was a blast! Plus, it helped to be in good family company.

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

After creating an apple crisp and two apple pies, it was this caramel apple cake that was my favorite. Perhaps it’s because I naturally gravitate more towards cakes than any other dessert but this one is surprisingly easy to do. No need to fuss with frosting in this one-layered cake. The caramel sauce and tender apples is all you need to liven each bite.

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

The sheen from the caramelized apples layered in alternating rows creates an elegant visual appeal. Indeed a showstopper that only takes minutes to assemble. The cake is spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg (classic apple pie spices) and given a special touch of apple butter. This year I’ve been a bit obsessed with fruit butters and there’s no stopping me. I mentioned this in a previous post and highly recommend investing in good quality fruit butters. It’s game changing!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

Similar to the use of maple pumpkin butter layered in this frosting, here in this recipe, apple butter deepens the flavor and adds moisture. Note: it’s not a must to use this ingredient however, when used, it helps soften the cake’s texture and adds richness. Without it and with a keen sense of taste, you might find the flavor to be a tad lackluster and the need to add more bourbon caramel sauce to your cake. Now that I think of it… because the sauce is so good, it might not be a bad thing.


Caramelizing Apple Slices


Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES
Caramel Apple Cake before adding the Bourbon Caramel Sauce

Over the past decade, I’ve made my fair share of homemade caramel sauce. Their ingredients and instructions are each relatively similar with minor variation but this one is by far, my favorite! It’s smooth and soft, drips slowly and best of all, it has a splash of bourbon. Yes, please!

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

Bourbon heightens the flavor like no other. Sure, the caramel is going to taste like… caramel, but adding just a small amount of bourbon is enough to give it that warm sophisticated touch. It’s almost indescribable and yet somehow, it makes you crawl back for more. This is one of the reasons why I add bourbon to so many of my desserts. See below the recipe card for several fall recipes where I’ve included bourbon.

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

If you enjoyed this recipe, consider commenting & rating below. I love to see your feedback and help answer any questions. Don’t forget to check below for related recipes.

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Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake | URBAN BAKES

Bourbon Caramel Apple Cake


  • Author: URBAN BAKES
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9-inch cake 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

 

A luscious Caramel Apple Cake with sautéed cinnamon apples creates a beautiful caramelized glaze. Top it off with as much of this smooth and creamy homemade bourbon caramel sauce. You won’t regret it!


Ingredients

Scale

CARAMEL APPLE CAKE

  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (4 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (3 grams) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups (293 grams) brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (141 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs (150 grams)
  • 1/2 cup (168 grams) apple butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (125 grams) buttermilk

CARAMELIZED APPLES

  • 6 (5 to 6 oz.) medium apples
  • 1 cup (220 grams) brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter

BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE

  • 1/2 cup (110 grams) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (60 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon (7 grams) powdered sugar

 


Instructions

  1. CARAMEL APPLE CAKE: Heat oven to 350°F (175°C).  Using a baking spray with flour, evenly spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch (23 cm) round baking pan; set aside. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg and salt; set aside. 
  3. In a bowl fitted to an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat on medium to high speed brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  Add eggs one at a time until well incorporated. Add apple butter and vanilla. Continue to mix on medium speed until just combined. 
  4. Reduce the speed of the electric mixer to low-medium and slowly add in the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk and ending with the flour mixture.  Continue to mix until just combined. Spread batter into the prepared baking pan. 
  5. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry with a few crumbs.  Leave cake in the pan to rest for 10 minutes before removing onto a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Meanwhile, prepare the apples. 
  6. CARAMELIZED APPLES:  Cut apples into 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick wedges. In a large bowl, toss apples with brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and salt. You may notice liquid begin to settle to the bottom of the bowl.  Because an acid such as lemon juice is not used, work quickly to minimize excessive browning of the apples.
  7. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and sauté the apples until softened and golden in color. Slices are ready when able to bend without snapping. Remove from heat. NOTE: one skillet may not fit all of the slices to evenly sauté therefore, using 2 large skillets at the same time to sauté half of the apples with 2 tablespoons of butter in each pan may suffice.  If a second skillet is unavailable, sauté half of the apples in 2 tablespoons of butter; set cooked apples aside.  Repeat the process for the remaining half of the apples.    
  8. BOURBON CARAMEL SAUCE: In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar, butter, heavy cream and salt to a boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in bourbon and powdered sugar until smooth. 
  9. ASSEMBLY:  Beginning from the outer edge of the cooled cake, create a ring of sautéed apple slices slightly overlapping each slice with the next one. Continue to create additional rings of apples working towards the center.  Ideally, use any small slices in the center. Drizzle bourbon caramel sauce over the apples. Cut and serve immediately.  ENJOY!  

 

Notes

  • I used a cake pan with an edge design for the sole purpose of appeal; however, a simple round cake pan to create this cake will work great!
  • Recommend using apples with red skin to maintain a more vibrant finish.
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Cake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: caramel apple cake, bourbon apple, bourbon caramel sauce, apple butter in cake, caramel cake, brown sugar caramel

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