Spiced Apple Cake

Six layer spiced apple date cake with caramel and cream cheese frostings, garnished with toasted pecans and caramel candy apples.

I look at a lot of food photos. Lately, I have been seeing these beautiful apple cakes with the whole caramel or candy apples on top. The photos are amazing and they make me want to bake! Butt…. I always wonder how you would cut the cake so you can enjoy the “fruits” of your labor.

What I came up with is to pre-slice the apples. This way, you can have the beautiful candied apple and eat it too!

If you have never candied apples or worked with sugar much, this part can be challenging. If the sugar gets too cold, it won’t stick to your apples. Too hot, and it will get dark and bitter. The key is to work quickly. This means having all of your ingredients ready so you can focus on the sugar and the apples. If you are worried about the apple browning, squeeze on some lemon juice and pat them dry before adding to the sugar. The moisture from the apples can cause bubbles in the candy coating. The moisture will also break down the sugar more quickly. Make the candy apples as close to serving time as possible to ensure a crunchy coating.

A note of caution! Sugar becomes molten hot when cooked and can leave nasty scars if it gets on your skin. Keep a bowl of ice water close by while working with the sugar. If it gets on your skin, plunge it immediately into the water.

Spiced Apple Cake

Course Dessert
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8


Apple Cake

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cup apples grated 1 1/2-2 each
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dates diced small
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Caramel Frosting

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 pinch salt

Candied Apples

  • 1 cup sugar 230 grams
  • 1/2 cup water 120 grams
  • 1/8 cup corn syrup 42 grams
  • 1 apple cut into 8 wedges
  • 3/4 cup pecans chopped
  • 8 toothpicks


Apple Cake

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line and spray a sheet pan. Mix flour, sugars, leaveners, and spices. Add apples and dates. Add eggs, vanilla, and oil. Pour into sheet pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake 15-20 minutes. While the cake is baking, make the caramel frosting. Allow the cake to cool and cut into six equal pieces.
  • Place a portion of cake on serving platter. Slide pieces of parchment under the edges of the cake to keep the platter clean. Smooth a layer of caramel frosting over the cake portion. Top with another cake portion and repeat until the last cake portion is on top. With a spatula smooth out any frosting from the edges. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and make the cream cheese frosting. Frost the cake with the cream cheese frosting. Refrigerate. Make candied apples. Garnish the cake with pecans and candied apples.

Caramel Frosting

  • In a sauce pan combine sugar and cream. Bring to a boil making sure all the sugar has dissolved. Cook the mixture until it reaches 238-240 degrees. Remove from heat and whisk in butter. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer and begin whipping. Add the vanilla. Whip until the mixture has cooled and is thick and creamy. The frosting can be made in advance and rewhipped before icing the cake.

Cream Cheese Frosting

  • Cream all ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.

Candied apples

  • Toast pecans in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes and chop. Place the pecan on a sheet pan.
  • Slice the apples and insert a toothpick on one end.
  • Combine sugar, water, and corn syrup in a sauce pan. Boil the sugar until it reaches 320-330 degrees. At 315 the sugar will start to turn brown. Watch it closely at this point so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat. Pat the apples dry and begin dipping them in the candy. Place the dipped apples on the pecans, cool and remove the toothpicks.


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