Amazing carrot cake made even better with addition of caramel apples. This carrot cake is soft and moist, filled with caramel apples in the cake and in the filling. It’s frosted with cream cheese frosting and topped with crushed pecans and more caramel!
Apple Caramel Carrot Cake
I want to introduce you to my new baby, this Caramel Apple Carrot Cake!
This “baby” was almost as popular as my baby girl at her birthday party. I’ve never had a whole cake gone in a flash before and there was not a crumb left after 5 minutes.
It was just a perfect cake for my little lady’s first birthday.
I can’t believe that she is already one. People say that all the time, but this year truly flew by so fast. I have to stop and think to remember each milestone and when it happened. It’s a good thing that my phone is always close to me and I can take pictures right away. Otherwise, all the little milestones she reached would have been missed.
I love that my baby girl’s birthday is in the fall because I get to do a fall themed cake for her every year. Those are my favorite cakes to make. Caramel apples, apple pie, and pumpkin are the best fall representatives and I see many of those in her future.
Carrot cake is one of my favorite cakes for so many reasons. First of all, they are always soft, fluffy, and moist. I love moist cakes because I prefer the cake part over frosting. Crazy as it might seem to all the frosting people, it is true.
Second of all, carrot cakes are super easy to make. Much like hummingbird cake, carrot cake is a “whisk and bake” cake. Its soft and moist texture doesn’t requite a precise and proper beating of the ingredients in a proper order.
You also get a little workout grating carrots!
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS CARROT CAKE:
It will take a little less than 1 pound of carrots to make 3 cups of lightly packed, fine grated carrots. So get a pound of carrots for the cake.
Choose Granny Smith apples over other, sweeter, apples. The flavor will balance nicely with a little sourness in the apples, and won’t be overly sweet.
When preparing the apple filling, I recommend using Dulce de Leche because it is much thicker than caramel. Use caramel topping to top off the cake since it’s thin and easy to drizzle.
I made this cake as a naked cake, so it needed less frosting. If you want to fully cover your cake with frosting, on the top and on the sides, add one more 8 oz. pack of cream cheese to the frosting recipe and another 1/2-1 cup of powdered sugar.
Can I make this cake ahead of time?
Yes! You can make any parts of the cake ahead of time. I like to make the apples and the cakes the day before and just make the frosting and put the cake together the next day.
If you’re making all parts of the cake ahead of time, pull frosting out of the refrigerator about an hour before frosting the cake to let it soften. (Do not try to microwave it!)
If you made apples ahead of time, you don’t really need to warm them up. If you do want to warm them up, only get them to room temperature or frosting will melt.
Cakes can be frosted cold or at room temperature.
You can prepare and assemble the cake the day before as well. Just store the cake in the refrigerator in a cake carrier because it will keep the cake covered, safe, and keep it from drying.
Pull the cake out of the refrigerator an hour or two before you will be serving it.
Can I use caramel instead of Dulce de Leche?
Yes and no. I highly recommend using Dulde de Leche when making the apple filling. It will be too thin if you use caramel. For the topping of the cake, you can absolutely use caramel and it’s actually easier to drizzle it than Dulce de Leche.
SOME MORE RECIPES YOU WILL LIKE:
Caramel Apple Pie with Cookie Crust – The pie has a soft, sugar cookie crust, apple pie filling, sweet crumble, and layers of dulce de leche.
Salted Caramel Carrot Cupcakes – Soft and moist carrot cakes are topped with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting and topped with caramel drizzle and a sprinkle of salt.
Apple Pie Bread Pudding – Comforting bread pudding made with apple pie filling. Serve it hot and with some vanilla ice cream on top for the ultimate taste experience.
Amazing Apple Cake – A Family Feast
Gooey Cinnamon Carrot Poke Cake – Julie’s Eats and Treats
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Crumb Cake – Small Town Woman
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Caramel Apple Carrot Cake
- 3 cups finely grated carrots lightly packed
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable or canola oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup caramel apples from below
- 3 tbsp butter
- 2 1/2 lbs Granny Smith apples peeled, cored, and diced
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup Dulce de Leche
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese softened
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Dulce de Leche
- 1/4 cup Caramel topping
- 3/4 cup Crushed Pecans optional
- Peel, core and dice the apples.
- In a medium pot, over medium heat, melt butter. Add diced apples and stir well.
- Add brown sugar, stir, and cover with a lid.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft.
- Drain off the juices accumulated during cooking.
- Stir in Dulce de Leche until evenly incorporated. Set aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
- Grate carrots on a fine grater and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, and sugar. Whisk vigorously for about a minute.
- Add flour and baking soda and gently whisk until completely incorporated.
- Stir in carrots.
- Fold in 1 cup of cooked caramel apples into the batter.
- Separate the batter among the 2 prepared baking pans. (You can weigh them on a scale to make sure that the batter is divided equally.)
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Take the cakes out of the oven and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.
- Gently run a greased butter knife along the side of the cake pan to help separate the cake from the pan. Gently tap the cake pans on the counter to loosed the cake a bit, tip the cake pans, and take the cakes out of the pans.
- Let the cakes cool completely on a wire rack.
- Make sure the cakes and the apples are cooled completely before frosting.
- Beat butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer of high speed for a couple of minutes.
- Turn down the speed to low and add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- As the sugar gets mixed in, bring the speed back up to medium-high. Beat for another minute.
- Turn off the mixer and scrape sides and bottom of the bowl. Turn the speed back up and beat for another minute or so.
Assembling the cake:
- Fill a piping bag with cream cheese frosting.
- To make your cakes straight, cut off the domes of both layers of the cake. It's easiest to use a large serrated bread knife.
- Spread 1/4 cup of Dulce de Leche over the bottom layer.
- Spread remaining caramel apples over the bottom layer of the cake.
- Pipe a thin layer of frosting over the apples.
- Add second layer of the cake upside down, cut part down onto frosting.
- Decorate the top by spreading a very thin layer of the frosting over the top first and then pipe some frosting over the edge. You can add some crushed pecans in the middle.
- Drizzle caramel topping all over the top of the cake.