This simple, homey caramel applesauce cake is the ultimate fall dessert!
With a new baby due in a few short months, I’ve officially entered the freezer-stocking mode of pregnancy. All I want to do is make soup and bake things and then squirrel them away for later. So with a batch of homemade caramel applesauce in the fridge, it was pretty much inevitable that this caramel applesauce cake was going to happen.
Consider this cake a humble loaf cake, elevated. It’s baked with cinnamon-laced chunky applesauce, topped with crunchy toasted pecans, and dripping with caramel. Yes, it’s perfect for the freezer, but no one will fault you if you devour the entire thing as soon as it emerges from your oven 🙂
First things first: don’t worry if you didn’t make my caramel applesauce (but really…you should). You can bake this cake with any applesauce, either homemade or store-bought. Chose a chunky version if you can find it. Applesauce keeps the cake super moist and tender, and gives it just the right amount of sweet apple flavor.
But we’re not stopping there. No, we’re going to add a 1/4 cup of caramel sauce directly into the batter, along with big pinches of cinnamon and nutmeg. When the cake is baked and cooled, pour a ridiculous amount of caramel sauce over the top so it drips down the sides and starts to soak in. Almost like a caramel bath. Mmmm…
The finishing touch is a sprinkle of toasted pecans. They give the cake a nice crunch. Pecans always make me think of fall, but you could use walnuts or hazelnuts if you prefer.
This cake is decadent enough on its own, so I would say skip the vanilla ice cream. Instead, serve it with a dollop of crème fraîche or unsweetened whipped cream.
Caramel Applesauce Cake
This caramel applesauce cake is the perfect fall dessert!
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick, softened
- 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup store-bought caramel sauce divided
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup Homemade Caramel Applesauce or store-bought applesauce
- 1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan with a rectangle of parchment paper. Spray the pan with non-stick spray, dust with flour, and tap out the excess.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
In a large bowl (or in a stand mixer) beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in 1/4 cup of the caramel sauce and the egg. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until combined. Beat in the applesauce just until combined.
Spread the batter in the prepared pan and bake until cake springs back when pressed lightly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out and cool completely on a wire rack. (Cake can be wrapped and frozen at this point for up to 3 months.)
Before serving, drizzle the cake with the remaining 1/4 cup of caramel sauce and sprinkle with the pecans.