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

Looking for more apple recipes? Try our Applesauce, Apple Pancakes, Apple Crisp, or learn How to Make Perfect Caramel Apples!

A piece of Apple Spice Cake on a plate and topped with fresh apples and a homemade caramel sauce.

What we LOVE about Apple Cake:

  • Grated apple: No peeling or chopping required. The cake has six apples in it, which provide lots of moisture, flavor and texture.
  • That caramel sauce is an absolute must. It simmers on the stove for an hour but it only requires three ingredients and is so easy to make.
  • My Grandmother’s recipe: This is a treasured family recipe that we enjoy during the fall and winter months each year.

How to make Apple Cake:

Make Caramel Sauce and simmer on the stove while the cake cooks.

Grate Apples: Grate them (with the peel on) using a box grater or food processor with a grating attachment.

Combine Wet Ingredients: butter, sugar, and eggs in a mixing bowl. Next, stir in the grated apples.

Two images showing the wet ingredients being combined for a fresh Apple Cake.

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

Two images showing the dry ingredients being added to the batter for Apple Cake.

Spread the batter into a greased 9×13 inch pan.

Apple cake batter spread into a 9x13 inch pan and ready to bake.

Bake: Place in oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with few crumbs. Enjoy with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce!

Fresh Apple Cake out of the oven and in a 9x13 inch pan.

Which apples should you use?

Although Granny Smith apples are my favorite for most baked apple desserts (like apple crisp, or baked apples, where the apple is really the star of the show), you can really use any type of apple for this recipe!

Freezing Instructions:

To Freeze: Once cooled, cover fresh apple cake 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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A piece of Apple Spice Cake on a plate and topped with fresh apples and a drizzle of homemade caramel sauce.
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 1 hour 40 minutes
Total 1 hour 50 minutes
Save Recipe


For the homemade Caramel Sauce:


  • 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 9×13 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.


Apples: You can really use any type of apple for this recipe. 
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. 


Calories: 408kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 4gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 63mgSodium: 266mgPotassium: 100mgFiber: 1gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 475IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 45mgIron: 1mg

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*I originally shared this recipe November 2014. Updated November 2020 and October 2022.

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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.

4.82 from 326 votes (275 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. Delicious 😋😋
    Made it this afternoon
    Was so Easy to make & super moist
    Only thing I did different was to omit the cloves
    My husband loved it😜😜👍🏼👍🏼

  2. Made this recipe tonight exactly as written by the talented owner and author of it… IT TURNED OUT TO BE THE MOST AMAZING APPLE CAKE I HAVE EVER HAD! I say bravo to it’s owner and publisher,, and I very much appreciate you sharing your wonderful family recipe with the rest of us that are grateful to have discovered it! My family and friends that have had the pleasure of sharing this cake thank you very much. Sure we will be enjoying it for years to come!!

  3. 3 stars
    This has the beginnings of a good recipe but it’s too heavy on the sugar (esp. with the recommended toppings) and there’s no salt listed (the cake won’t rise at all without including both). I reduced the white sugar and the number of apples by half, I added a cup of currants rehydrated in bourbon, I used allspice instead of cinnamon, and I added 1 teaspoon of salt to activate the 2 teaspoons of baking soda. The texture of the cake was light and spongy as it should be, and the combination of flavors came through with less sugar to drown them out.

    1. E.A. You have so many negative comments on this recipe, please let us know when your “Perfect Recipes” page is???

  4. 5 stars
    The recipe you have for the caramel sauce on top of this apple cake says that you simmer it for one hour, is that a misprint.

    1. 5 stars
      I used a Pyrex bowl over boiling water, don’t have a double boiler. Let it simmer for an hour. Turned out great. It thickens as it cools.

    1. Great question! On average, one medium-sized apple yields about 1 to 1.25 cups when grated. So for 6 apples, you’d be looking at roughly 6 to 7.5 cups. However, keep in mind that the exact amount can vary based on the size and variety of the apples you’re using.

  5. 5 stars
    I have made this cake several times now with a pecan filling and cream cheese frosting. It is referred to THE Apple Cake and everyone loves it. It keeps well; probably better as it ages.

  6. This is THE most decadent cake recipe on Pinterest!!! It is so moist, absolutely delicious and with the caramel sauce over it, Heaven on a PLATE!!!

  7. I made this cake immediately after seeing it in my email. Let me tell you, it was easy and delicious. I had everything on hand. My only problem was; I saw the email about 12pm and I had to wait for the butter to get room temp. before I could make it.

  8. 5 stars
    I made this cake for a potluck after church. It was moist and delicious. I almost forgot the baking soda. I’m so used to reading recipes where the flour is listed before the other dry ingredients. Thankfully I gave it a second look. I baked it the night before and cut into small squares t the next morning, then placed in cupcake liners. I did not make the caramel. I wanted to, but thought it would be too messy for a church potluck. Thank you for the delicious recipe!!

    1. I did the same for a potluck. I just had a stir bought ice cream caramel in a tube for them to squeeze on. It worked great.

  9. I only had 3 apples so I made 1/2 of the recipe. It made 12 cupcakes which I baked for 30 minutes. I made the caramel sauce too. Yummy!

  10. 5 stars
    Today is my 74th birthday & I always requested my mother’s apple pie instead of cake. I ever mastered that so decided to try your cake. It’s delicious & easy to make. I was a little short on apples so added some raisins. It didn’t hurt the cake but since I had never tasted it without the raisins I don’t know if it was okay. Also, used a jarofcar. Sauce that was in the frig but was excellent.

  11. 3 stars
    I made the cake..exactly to the recipe contents but it takes very floury. Needs some adjustments.

  12. Awesome!!!! The only thing I changed was I didn’t use cloves I substituted a 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg. Next time I will cut the recipe down a 1/4 cup on the sugar. I also didn’t make the sauce , it is great eating plain. This recipe is a keeper!!!!

  13. 5 stars
    I made this cake a couple of days ago, and it is definitely worth a 5 Star rating. It is SO good! I’d bought some Ruby Frost apples at Fresh Market, which I didn’t care for raw, and decided to find a recipe to use them. SO glad I found this recipe! I’d never heard of grating apples. I used 5 medium apples. I did drain them (and drank the juice). This cake turned out very moist and delicious. I baked it in a glass 9×13 casserole dish for 40 minutes, and it was done. I used pecans instead of walnuts because I can’t find any walnuts around me that don’t taste half rancid. l also decreased the spices to please my husband’s palate. I added 1/2 c. golden raisins too. My changes would not have affected the outcome; this is a really good recipe. I have to admit, I did not make the caramel sauce, although I know it would be delish. Instead, I topped it with cream cheese frosting with pecans. I will definitely make this cake again.

  14. 5 stars
    I made this cake a couple of days ago, and it is definitely worth a 5 Star rating. It is SO good! I’d bought some Ruby Frost apples at Fresh Market, which I didn’t care for raw, and decided to find a recipe to use them. SO glad I found this recipe! I’d never heard of shredding apples. I used 5 medium apples. I did drain them (and drank the juice). This cake turned out very moist and delicious. I baked it in a glass 9×13 casserole dish for 40 minutes, and it was done. I used pecans instead of walnuts because I can’t find any walnuts around me that don’t taste half rancid. l also decreased the spices to please my husband’s palate. I added 1/2 c. golden raisins too. My changes would not have affected the outcome; this is a really good recipe. I have to admit, I did not make the caramel sauce, although I know it would be delish. Instead, I topped it with cream cheese frosting with pecans. I will definitely make this cake again.

  15. 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

  16. 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.

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

  18. 5 stars
    I made this case using all the juice with the shredded apples. It was delicious but I noticed the cake did nor rise much. I know that’s typical for some moist cakes, but I wondered if I should have drained the juice and maybe the cake would have raised a bit more or would it not be as moist? It’s a wonderful cake, just wondering which way it should be with the extra juice though.

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

  20. 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!!

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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

  24. 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

  25. 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 .

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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!

  32. 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.

  33. 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!!

  34. 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.

  35. 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

  36. 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.


  37. 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?

  38. 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!

  39. 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!!!

  40. 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?

  41. 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.

  42. 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

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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 did I. What a keeper .

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

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

  49. 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?

  50. 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.

  51. 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!

  52. 5 stars
    Your fresh apple cake was delicious. Followed receipe and it turned out perfect. Enjoy your receipes keep them coming. Thank you

  53. 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.

  54. 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 🙂

  55. 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?

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

  57. 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.