Incredibly delicious Apple Cake made with fresh grated apples and spices, topped with homemade caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  This is a treasured family recipe!

If you’re looking for recipes to use with your fresh apples, try our Apple Pancakes, Apple Crisp, or Apple Pie!

Apple cake made with fresh grated apples, served with caramel sauce drizzled on top and a scoop of ice cream on side.

We’re entering Fall and creeping closer to the holiday season, which makes me so happy!  One reason I love this time of year so much is that I get to break out some of my favorite family recipes. This apple cake is my Grandmother’s recipe that I treasure!

What we LOVE about Apple Cake:

  • Grated apple instead of chunks.  No chopping necessary, simply grab your box grater or food processor and grate all six apples. That’s a lot of apples and I love the texture and flavor that the shredded apple adds to the cake.
  • No peeling necessary!  The apples are grated with the peel on, saving you time and adding nutrients to the cake. The grated apples add so much flavor and help keep the cake really moist.
  • That caramel sauce.  Our 3 ingredient homemade caramel sauce is to die for!

How to make apple cake:

Grate apples. Grate them (with the peel on) on the front of your box grater or use a food processor that has a grating attachment.

Combine wet ingredients.  Start by mixing together the butter, sugar, and eggs.  Next, stir in the grated apple.

Combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Then combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.  For a moist cake, you don’t want to over mix!

Four process photos for making apple cake batter in a mixing bowl.

Bake. Pour cake into a greased 9×13 inch pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with few moist crumbs. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce!

Which apples should you use?

Granny Smith apples are my favorite for any kind of baking, especially in dessert recipes like apple crisp, or baked apples, where the apple is really the star of the show. For this recipe, however, you can really use any type of apple.  It is a very forgiving apple recipe because the apples are grated, so just use whatever you have on hand.

Before and after photos of apple cake baked in a 9x13'' pan.

Freezing Instructions: Once cooled, cover well and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Enjoy cold, or rewarm in the oven on low heat, or warm individual slices in the microwave.

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Recipe

Apple cake made with fresh grated apples, served with caramel sauce drizzled on top and a scoop of ice cream on side.
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 40 mins
Total 1 hr 50 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter , room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 6 apples ,small/medium size, grated (cored, but keep the peel on)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts , optional

For the homemade Caramel Sauce:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until well blended. Add the eggs and mix well. 
  • Stir in the freshly grated apple.  It may seems like the grated apple is completely taking over the dish - this is a good thing :).
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add to the wet ingredients and mix, just until incorporated.
  • Bake in a greased 9x13 inch pan for 40-50 min, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (Depending on how large your apples were, you may need to cook it a little longer than 50 minutes).
  • Allow the cake to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm with caramel sauce and whipped cream or ice cream.

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • Place all of the caramel sauce ingredients in a large glass bowl and stir to combine.
  • Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bring it to a boil. Turn it to a low simmer.
  • Set a glass bowl over the saucepan (or use a double boiler) and simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour.
  • Pour into a jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Freezing Instructions: Once cooled, cover well and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Enjoy cold, or rewarm in the oven on low heat, or warm individual slices in the microwave. 

Nutrition

Calories: 370kcalCarbohydrates: 50gProtein: 3gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 286mgPotassium: 141mgFiber: 2gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 450IUVitamin C: 3.5mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 1.2mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

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Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

*I originally shared this recipe November 2014. Updated November 2020.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. I went to the apple orchard yesterday & I was anxious to try this recipe. Enjoyed the “grated” apples; the cake is DELICIOUS! I was anticipating sickening sweet & it is not. Sooo GOOD. THANKS

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this cake. I did not drain the juice from the apples before adding to batter and I added walnut extract instead of the nuts. I poured the caramel sauce on top of warm cake to soak through. It was very good. My son LOVED IT! I am definately making this again and again. Thank you.

  3. I wonder if this could be made in a bundt pan. It would be beautiful! Pinned!!!! Definitely a must try
    !

  4. Would you pour the caramel icing on the cake prior to freezing it? Or should it be added after thawing? Thanks.

  5. 5 stars
    I made this and it is wonderful, I would suggest to add about a half teaspoon of salt, into the cake, it was lacking a bit, other than that, excellent!!

  6. Can this cake be make in a bundt or tube pan rather than a 9×13? I’m looking for an apple cake that is close to one my aunt used to make when I was a child. Most recipes I’ve found have a light colored batter but this has a deeper color, which I assume come from the cinnamon. I don’t do sheet cakes much and prefer this cake to be baked in a tube pan. Reduce the baking temp and bake a little longer?

    Thanks for any help. I would really like to try this recipe!

    1. It’s a very moist cake and I fear the it might struggle cooking through in such a deep pan (like a bundt pan). You could certainly try it and cook it low and slower for sure.

  7. 5 stars
    I had bookmarked your recipe for a while and today was the day i decided I had to do something with the umpteen apples sitting around doing nothing. This cake is like a dream, in silk. The texture was so soft and moist and although we had it without the sauce, it was to die for. One thing that is noteworthy is that the sweetness was right for us.

  8. 5 stars
    Can’t wait to keep making this amazing recipe! Just wondering if I can bake a bunch and then freeze some baked cake?!
    Thanks, xx

  9. 5 stars
    We had so many Apples giving to me so I tried to find a good dish that used apples and this recipe was DELICIOUS well done with this recipe thank you for the posting this your friend Mary from Michigan

  10. 5 stars
    I made this cake today. My husband and kids loved it! It’s so moist ,and not to sweet .I change to 1 cup of sugar instead of 2 cups .

  11. 5 stars
    The Apple Cake is a sure keeper!! Easy easy! The Carmel Sauce can be made with 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tab of milk, 3 tab light corn syrup, pat of creamery butter, whisk all together in a sauce pan on med, stirring till soft ball, take off & wa la yummy Carm sauce

  12. 5 stars
    Today is my birthday and I made this cake for the family. Haha. (I know, they should be baking for me, but who cares – as long as there is good cake in the house!!).
    The cake turned out super nice and moist. Loved the texture. Instead of making the caramel sauce, I just mixed some heavy cream with milk (to get a flowing consistency) and added powdered sugar to it and drizzled the cake with it before serving.
    The flavours of cinnamon and clove were so wonderful. I love this cake and am gonna bake it again.

  13. 3 stars
    I think we need to specify how many cups of grated apples we need since apple size varies a lot, after grating the apples they had a lot of juice and nothing mentioned on recipe about this. I continued recipe , taste is good, not dry, just worried people may not like thinking that it may be raw. I baked as long as I could without it looking like it was burned, toothpick came out clean but still taste like too moist as if juice is in there like applesauce, not sure if consistency is correct but I guess will find out, made another same day, same result, too much juice in recipe, maybe I should’ve drained it, not sure will make again depends if people like.

    1. The consistency of this apple cake is much like the old fashion “steamed puddings”. It is very moist.
      Served with the caramel sauce, people have always loved it.

  14. 5 stars
    Thank y’all. My Toomama’s receipe whips the egg whites and folds into the wet mixture. Her receipe card is so illegable, i found this one that is that close to hers. Than you again.

  15. 5 stars
    I made this cake yesterday for a get together and served it with the caramel sauce and some vanilla ice cream. It was a big hit! I’ll be adding this to my recipe bank. Thank you.

  16. 4 stars
    I like to try a recipe as written the first time I make it. I have never made an apple dessert with grated apples! This was a good dessert. Next time I think I will use less cinnamon and add fresh grated nutmeg. Salted caramel sauce and homemade ice cream on top….oh my!

  17. 5 stars
    I loved this Apple Cake. I used the shredded apples and their juice. The cake is really moist. I didn’t make the caramel sauce, the cake is sweet enough without it. I just drizzled a little heavy cream over it.

  18. I made this delicious cake for a church dinner for homeless families, and it was a big it. I did want to comment on a couple of things: first, I noticed there is no salt in this recipe, so added 1/2 tsp as a pretty customary amount for a cake. Second, I used my Cuisinart to grate the apples. It produced large grates, which created a texture we liked, but there was a LOT of juice. I drained the grated apple before adding to the butter/egg mixture. Last, we ran out of time before the sauce thickened up, but it was delicious slightly thickened! Will definitely make this again. The cake would be a yummy breakfast “bar”!

    1. I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but the single spice I use in combination with cinnamon is nearly always allspice! Ginger, nutmeg and cloves can complement cinnamon nicely if used sparingly (proportions depending on the recipe, of course), but allspice harmonizes so well with cinnamon that I often use them in equal measure when cinnamon is called for, and I seldom use much of the other three in baking. So I’d suggest trying 2 t cinnamon, 1 t allspice and 1/2 t cloves. I hope that balances out the flavors for you!

    2. 5 stars
      Was looking for a recipe for an apple cake and found this one and decided to try it. I can’t believe how delicious it is and so very moist. I will definitely make it again. I didn’t make the caramel sauce. I love it just the way it is. Read where someone said not to use the cloves but I followed the recipe and I’m happy I used it. Definitely a keeper!!

  19. I have made this recipe 3 times & every time it has come out very delicious. My husband loves it he says it’s moist & not very sweet. Can you use sweet n low in place of the sugar. I am a diabetic so I can’t eat very much of it. Thank you mlg.

  20. 5 stars
    baked this cake last nite for the 1st time with salted butter though, it’s a lovely moist cake.
    saved 5he recipe for next time.
    ingrid from st maarten, dutch carribbean

  21. 5 stars
    Hi! Thank you so much for this recipe. I just made it for our Xmas dinner and it was a hit. As I am not a pastry baker, I have one issue that was hoping you can help with. My cake turned out not so fluffy and light as your looks in the photo. After cooling, mine sort of went a bit flat and dense. Almost like a sticky toffee pudding texture. Still tasted great, but was hoping for a fluffy cake. Also to note, when the cake had barely cooled for approx 10mins, I cut a small peice to try, and it was perfect, fluffy and light, albeit hot. Hoping you can figure why after cooling for hours it would have gone a bit dense?

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you Lauren. After reading the link suggestions, my assumption is maybe too much apple, which led to too much moisture? Your recipe calls for 6 small/med sized apples. Do you happen to have an approx. weight of your grated apple? Also, I fine grated my apple. Do you use a fine grater or larger grate? Or would that even matter? I am thinking maybe the fine grating let out too much juice? Also, I made a mistake in my original message to you. I described my cake texture to be similar to a sticky toffee pudding. This is wrong. I meant a bread pudding. Almost like a very light bread pudding texture.

        Thanks again for your help.

      2. Hi Lauren. I just noticed you have a video of this recipe. It answers my question of the grating size. I finely grated, and in doing so, it looks like it squeezed out a LOT more juice than in your video. Your apples look quite dry compared to the wet slop of grated apple I had. This may very well be the culprit in a more dense, compact cake. The next time I bake this cake, I will report the results.

        John

  22. Hi! Going to make, do you have any other suggestions for topping besides the caramel sauce or ice cream? Would a cream cheese icing or some sort of glaze work well with this?

  23. 5 stars
    I made this cake today and it is rather labor intensive. Would like to serve this on Thanksgiving. Can I freeze the cake until Thursday and let it defrost for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner? I will make the caramel sauce on Thurs too.
    Thank you and have a happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi John,

      This cakes keeps really well in the refrigerator for about 5 days! This is the option I would recommend!

  24. 5 stars
    For years I have been looking for an apple cake recipe like the one my aunt use to make – with little success. Until now, I can’t tell you how many disappointing cakes I have made. This recipe is it. It tastes exactly like I remember hers. Thank you so much!!!

  25. I wonder if I could put this into muffin tins for kind of an apple muffin cake?? Anyone do this before and if so what is the name time difference?

  26. 4 stars
    Made this last night and loved it–great way to use the abundance of apples on our tree this year. However, I had to skip the caramel sauce because the time listed to make the recipe didn’t include the hour it takes to make that. Fortunately, we had some vanilla ice cream on hand, and that worked great. And we had leftover cake that I froze so I plan to make the caramel sauce next time I serve it. But you might want to note at the top that the caramel sauce needs additional time.

  27. 5 stars
    My granddaughter & I made this cake on Saturday. Very tasty. the sauce is very good also. I will make it again. I will save a copy of the recipe for the recipe book I am making of our favorite recipes we make together . The book will be hers

  28. 4 stars
    Made the Apple Cake today. Delicious. Will keep the recipe to make again. I did cut the recipe in half as it is just two people here. Thanks.

  29. 3 stars
    Why was my cake mushy? I grated 6 Granny Smith apples. Should they have been “small” apples? Tasted good but just mushy not cake like. Toothpick came out clean after 42 min. bake time.

    1. It must be that the apples were extra large or maybe needed a few more minutes baking.
      It is a VERY moist cake but I’ve never had it turn out mushy. If the batter seems sloppy wet, I would add 1/4 c. extra flour.

  30. 5 stars
    The cake was very moist and delicious.. 1 1/4 cups of sugar is plenty. I also used 1tesp of allspice instead of cloves and cinimmon. Will certainly make it again.

  31. My cake is in the oven and I’m sure it will be delicious but the prep time and cook time on this is understated. It took me a good while just to prep my apples. Easily spent 30 minutes before the cake went in and now I read that the sauce takes an hour? Need to correct those times.

  32. 4 stars
    Okay, so there was serious concern for the caramel sauce. I am a scratch baker…I never use mixes for anything. I have made caramel sauces before but not exactly like this one. After 45 minutes it was watery and still the light color it started as. In the last 10 minutes BOOM …it had taken on a darker color and was slightly thicker. I turned the heat off and let it cool…now that it is no longer in a lava state I tried it…omg it’s delicious! It has thickened and is perfect. Going to a friends house for dinner with the cake in tow…not sure that sauce will survive…I want to just stick a spoon in it and eat it like soup lol! Can’t wait to taste the cake …looks fabulous on my counter

      1. What a smashing success!! The cake was perfect and the caramel sauce made it elegant to serve…they loved it all..so did I. What a keeper .

        I did cut the sugar in the cake to 1 1/2 cups and no one knew any different

  33. WAY TOO MUCH CLOVES…..The recipe must be a typo. I STRONGLY suggest using 1tsp cloves…..disappointing

  34. Have you tried pecans instead of walnuts? I’m prefer them over walnuts . Do you think it would change the texture or taste of the cake?

  35. Looking forward to making this – it looks amazing and I love apple cake! How many days in advance of serving it would you think is ok to make it? Does it hold up well for 2-3 days (without the sauce)? I’m traveling during the holidays and need to make it in advance. Thanks!

    1. Yes, it should hold up great for at least two days in advance when you store the sauce separately! Hope everyone loves it! Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. You can really use any apples you have on hand. I like the taste of tart green apples (like granny smith) but I’ve used honeycrisp and many different types of apples and had great results.

    2. Love this Apple Cake.
      Can apples be peeled? Found a few pieces of tough skin but cake was moist and sooo yummy.

  36. I made that cake for my parents in law when visiting them last week. They have an old apple treee in their backyard that had some apples left which I could use for the cake. They loved it!!!
    By the way, I live in Germany and love your receipes from scratch. We lived in the US for a couple of years and I wanted to continue to cook some authentic food without any ready-mixes which I cannot buy here. Thanks for your newsletter!

    1. Well hello, from Germany! That is amazing, Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for following TBFS!

  37. 5 stars
    Your fresh apple cake was delicious. Followed receipe and it turned out perfect. Enjoy your receipes keep them coming. Thank you

  38. 5 stars
    Made this divine cake and caramel syrup today. My husband and I decided to eat dessert before dinner ? It really is an amazing cake. Planning on sharing it with friends who are drooling over the photo I text them?Thank you for sharing.

  39. Hello, this looks delicious and I can’t wait to try this. I love apple and caramel, and I’ve also found your recipe for Caramel Apple Bundt Cake. Is there a way to subscribe to your site? I am not on Facebook, so I wondered if you have email or RSS subscriptions. Thank you.

    1. Hi Brian, Thanks for your interest! You can subscribe to my email list (I send one email each week) on my sidebar on the right hand side of my homepage. I’m also on Instagram (@tastesbetterfromscratch) and Pinterest (betrfromscratch) if you use either of those 🙂

  40. Great cake. Everyone-including husbands- wanted recipe. I added 2 Tbl old Royal crown’s Apple bourbon to the sauce which sent it over the top. Also added about 1/4 cup of ghiradelli white chocolate chips to caramel sauce causing all to lick their plates- well, the men. Thanks for great recipe=^.^=. Ps send me note and I’ll tell you easier way to do cream cheese middle?

    1. 5 stars
      Please provide your cream cheese in the middle method. Very interested. The Apple liquor in the sauce withe the white chocolate sounds good. What about in the cake itself? You know like a butter rum cake?

  41. This cake is awesome!! I probably will use just a bit less of the cloves. Thank you sooooo very much for sharing!!

  42. I made this using Jonathan apples; I didn’t have a grater so I roughly chopped the apples. Turned out pretty nice!! would be great with ice cream, whipped cream, or the caramel sauce you posted.