This caramelized apple bundt cake is a beautiful fall cake. It is a simple Bundt cake that is filled with homemade pastry cream and delicious caramelized apples. The cake is then drizzled with some more of the homemade (and incredible!) caramel sauce, and topped with more apples.
Don’t be intimidated by the list of ingredients. It is totally worth the time it takes to make the pastry cream and homemade caramel sauce.
You could even use a store-bought caramel sauce, but why would you do that, when the homemade version is just so lovely! The cake could even be made a day ahead of time to save on some time.
Actually, each component could be made ahead of time. The important thing is that you just make it! It’s a stunner of a cake.
This is a cake to make for company, for family, or just for yourself!! I’m kidding, it really would be a little excessive to make for just yourself. But you know what, you deserve it!
Originally published in July 2013 and updated for content in September 2022. You know I have a weak spot for apple desserts. Caramelized Apple Bundt Cake is just impossible to resist! I know it’s not even close to fall. It is the middle of another scorching hot summer and what better way for me to dream a little about cooler temps and the leaves changing than with an amazing apple cake.
Who am I kidding?!? The leaves never change in these parts of Florida. A girl can dream! This cake…oh, this cake! Caramel is another little problem I secretly deal with. I can’t tell you how I avoid it.
I love Heath bars…there! I said it. Adore them. And I love any ice-cream with caramel. Dulce de leche: HUGE PROBLEM. This cake…
Why You’ll Love Caramelized Apple Bundt Cake
Could it be because this cake is full of fall goodness with a combination of apples and filled with homemade pastry cream. Or maybe the best part of the recipe is that the entire cake is dripping in homemade caramel sauce!
When I say dripping, I mean dripping! You could drizzle on the sauce and it doesn’t matter how messy it is. I do suggest not eating it all before you pour it onto the cake.
It is an impressive cake. So if you happen to have friends coming over for dinner, whip up this cake and “wow” your friends!
Homemade caramel sauce
While the cake is baking, you could make the homemade caramel sauce. Or you could even make it ahead of time.
Most important tip is to melt the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. As soon as it reaches that color, remove the pan from the heat.
Add in the butter with the pan off the heat and stir it into the sugar.
Taking the pan off the heat stops the sugar from burning. Bitter caramel sauce is not what we are going for here!
Then with the pan off the heat, slowly add in the heavy cream. It gets poured into the sugar mixture in a thin line while you carefully whisk it all together.
If this step is rushed, you’ll end up with a lumpy caramel sauce. So the goal is no bitter caramel sauce and definitely, no lumpy caramel sauce.
You know I realized I don’t post enough recipes with pastry cream. Pastry cream is so easy to whip up and so incredible stuffed in between a gorgeous bundt that has a gooey caramel drizzle.
Remember my recent caramel sauce and pastry cream recipe? They were an important part of this incredible cake! The caramel sauce and pastry cream is so versatile. You can use it in so many amazing recipes…let’s see what else I make with them this summer;)
What ingredients are in this apple cake?
Here is what you will need. The list is long, but it’s worth it to make! (full printable recipe below)
For the cake:
- granulated sugar
- coconut oil, or any mild flavored oil
- butter, softened, or margarine
- vanilla extract
- fresh lemon juice and rind
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- sea salt
- buttermilk (or unsweetened almond milk with lemon juice or vinegar, for dairy-free)
- sour cream, or a dairy-free unflavored yogurt (for dairy-free)
For the pastry cream:
- egg yolks
- sea salt
- whole milk or unsweetened almond milk (for dairy-free)
- pure vanilla extract
- unsalted butter, cut into small pieces or margarine (for dairy-free)
For assembling the cake:
- unsalted butter (or margarine for dairy-free)
- caramel sauce (ingredient list below)
- pastry cream (ingredient list below)
For the caramel sauce:
- granulated sugar
- butter (or margarine for dairy-free)
- heavy whipping cream (coconut cream for dairy-free)
After spreading on the pastry cream I realized that the filling definitely needed a little bit of caramelized apples. It also needed a little bit of caramel drizzled on top!
So here is how I put the cake together.
Once the cake cooled down, I sliced it in the middle.
I spread some of the luscious pastry cream on the bottom layer. You could add as much or as little of the cream as you would like.
Then I spooned on some of the caramelized apples and placed the top layer of the cake on top of the cream layer.
Once the cake was assembled, I decided it needed a little bit more of the caramelized apples on top and some more of that delicious homemade caramel sauce.
But you see, this is what I was looking for. I wanted the pastry cream to be nice and thick in the middle.
How to store this Bundt cake?
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Once you fill it with the pastry cream, it will be best enjoyed within a couple days.
Can I freeze this cake?
The Bundt cake on its own could be frozen. Do not slice it and fill with the pastry cream and apples. The cake could be frozen in and wrapped tightly with plastic wrap and in airtight container for up to 2 months.
I suggest you freeze it without pouring the thickened caramel sauce and without the pastry cream. Make the pastry cream, apples, and caramel sauce when you’re ready to enjoy the cake.
Some other apple recipes to enjoy:
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Your comments mean the world to me….and I really SMILE when I read them. Thank you so much! XX
Caramelized Apple Bundt Cake
- For the Cake
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut oil or any mild flavored oil
- 6 Tablespoons butter softened, or margarine (for dairy-free)
- 2 large eggs
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice I used Limoncello
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup buttermilk or add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar to a a cup of milk. Stir and let it stand for 5 minutes. Use dairy-free milk for dairy-free
- 2 Tablespoons sour cream unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (for dairy-free)
- For Assembling
- 3 apples 2 cups peeled, cored, and diced
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
- ¼ caramel sauce and more to drizzle on top
- Pastry Cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ cups whole milk or unsweetened almond milk for dairy-free
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 Tablespoons 1/2 stick unsalted butter cut into small pieces or margarine (for dairy-free)
- Caramel Sauce
- 1 cup of sugar
- 6 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream or coconut cream (for dairy-free)
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prep your Bundt pan with baking spray (regular 10 cup bundt pan). *I personally prefer to use baking spray for bundt pans, but if you have luck greasing and flouring your pan, go ahead and prep it like that.
- Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating until incorporated. Stir in vanilla, lemon rind, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or limoncello).
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture alternately to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Spoon batter into prepared Bundt pan. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan 15 minutes. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.
- While the cake bakes, make the pastry cream, apples and caramel sauce.
- FOR THE PASTRY CREAM:
- Combine the cornstarch with the sugar in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Pour 1/2 cup of the milk into the cornstarch mixture and whisk together. Whisk the egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture until smooth.
- In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring the remaining 1 ½ cups milk to a simmer (be sure not to boil) Once it comes to a simmer, remove the pan from the heat.
- Drizzle the hot milk mixture a little at a time into the egg mixture. Keep on whisking while you drizzle in the milk.
- Pour the mixture back into saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. Whisk vigorously until it comes to a boil and the whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream (about 5-6 minutes).
- As soon as the cream has the right consistency, take the pan off the heat. Stir in the vanilla and he butter.
- Place plastic wrap over the pastry cream surface and let it cool completely in the refrigerator.
- FOR THE CARAMEL SAUCE:
- In a 2 (or 3) quart pan, melt the sugar over medium heat. Whisk the sugar as it melts to make sure you don’t burn it. As soon as sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. You should have a liquid sugar that is a dark amber color.
- Add the butter and stir it in. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Slowly add the cream to the sauce (take caution as it is very hot and it may foam up and splatter). Whisk the sauce until it is nice and smooth.
- Place the sauce in a bowl and let cool down while the cake bakes.
- Pour into a jar and and store it in the fridge for up two weeks. Heat up before serving.
- SAUTEED CARAMEL APPLES:
- In a small saute’ pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the apples and sugar. Cook until the apples turn soft. Lower the heat and add the caramel sauce. Add in 1-2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce to the apples and toss apples in the caramel to coat.
- ASSEMBLE CAKE:
- Slice the cooled cake in the middle. Spread some of the pastry cream evenly over the bottom layer of the cake. Add some of the caramelized apples on top of the cream (I just divided it in about ½).
- Drizzle on about 1-2 tablespoons of the caramel sauce on top of the apples. Make sure to leave enough apples for the top of the cake.
- Place the other cake layer on top.
- Add the rest of the caramelized apples to the top of the cake. Drizzle on some more of the caramel sauce (whatever amount you would like to use, it to your taste).
- Make Ahead: this recipe actually tastes best the second day so you can make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Pastry Cream: The pastry cream filling is completely optional. You could make the cake with just the apples and caramel sauce. Pastry cream will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days.
- Caramel Sauce: The caramel sauce can be made and refrigerated for up to a week ahead of time.