Salted Caramel Apple Poke Cake is likely the only dessert I’ll be eating for the rest of the month…I am 1000% obsessed! Once the idea to make this dessert hit me, I’ve been on a mission to get it right. And by on a mission, I mean the 8 TIMES I have made (and ate) this cake in the last 3 weeks. Yes, my body is now 25% apples, 30% caramel, and still 45% cookie monster.
This cake tastes like straight apple-cinnamon-caramel GOODNESS- the epitome of fall. Plus, the specks of sea salt balance out the sweetness and bring all the flavors full circle. The cake’s texture is thick, but also super moist, since the apples and apple sauce add a ton of moisture. Perhaps the best part about it, is it can be eaten hot (my favorite) or cold, which makes it the perfect make-ahead dessert for the crazy holiday season. And really, if you ask me, this could be served at a brunch too, because it’s basically like a coffee cake that came straight from the orchard.
A couple notes on ingredients:
- I split the flour with spelt flour, because it’s more whole grain and I like the subtle hint (and I do mean subtle) of earthiness it adds. It’s also great for a thick cake like this, but all all-purpose flour could be used as well
- Vitafiber! This is my go-to for reducing the sugar content in my baked goods. Of course, after you’ve eaten this cake 8 times in the last 3 weeks, it probably doesn’t do much to reduce my intake 😉 but it makes me feel better, ok?
- Olive oil- I’ve never used olive oil in a cake before but always hear people rave about it! It works perfectly in this cake, but a grapeseed or vegetable oil would work as well, even though they are less healthy options
- Don’t want to make your own caramel? Store bought is *probably* ok to use, however, most are NOT vegan, and I do love the buttery and nutty flavor the coconut milk adds to this version
I hope you enjoy this Salted Caramel Apple Cake as much as I do- it’s perfect for a girl’s dinner, shower, or any sort of brunch! Be sure to let me know what you think, enjoy!
- Yield: 8-10 slices
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 60 minutes
Salted Caramel Apple Poke Cake
- For caramel:
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup - (can use half Vitafiber syrup to reduce sugar!)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsps pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- flakey sea salt (I use Maldon) - for garnish
- For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup Vitafiber powder - can sub for 1/4-1/2 cup regular sugar
- 1T cinnamon
- 1T baking soda
- 3/4 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1T pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups peeled and grated Granny Smith apple - 3 large apples
- 3T apple cider or white vinegar
- 10-inch bundt baking pan
For the caramel: (can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge)
- In a medium sauce pan, stir together the coconut milk, syrup, and brown sugar until smooth. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil and let boil about 4 minutes, stirring frequently. NOTE: Once it starts boiling, it will continuously foam up and try to spill over. I watch it heavily during this time and pull it off the burner while giving it a stir, every time it is about to spill over. Once 4 minutes has passed, you can turn the heat to low (stirring constantly the first few minutes as the heat subsides) and then let simmer another 40-45 minutes, stirringly every 5-10 minutes until thickened.
- Once the caramel has slightly thickened (don't worry if it still seems thin, it will thicken as the coconut milk sits), stir in the vanilla extract. Then using a sifter or a pasta strainer, sift the powdered sugar into the pan, and stir to combine.
*Sifting is an annoying extra step, but this is how you avoid lumps in your caramel 🙂
NOTE: If making the caramel and the cake the day of, once the boiling stage is over is a good time to preheat the oven and start making the cake for pretty equal timing!
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients until evenly mixed. Add the apple sauce, oil, and vanilla- stir until combined.
- Peel the apples then grate into pieces using the regular side of a cheese grater. A lot of water will be released- you need about 2 cups of the apples and will leave most of the juice out of the cake, but you don't have to bee *too serious* on draining all the moisture from the grated pieces. Stir the apples in to the cake batter.
- Last, add the vinegar and stir until evenly mixed (this creates the "egg" reaction in the cake, so you will see some bubbles!)
- Heavily spray the bundt pan. Spread the cake batter evenly in to the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool in the pan 5-10 minutes. Put a plate on top of the bundt pan and then flip the pan over so the cake falls on to the plate, flat side down.
- If your caramel is no longer warm, heat in the microwave 1-2 minutes until smooth and hot. Use a skewer to poke holes ALL OVER the cake (tops, outside, and inside). Slowly pour at least 1-cup of the hot caramel over the cake, giving it some time to soak in. You can poke more holes in the cake and keep spooning the caramel over it to your preference, allowing it to slowly absorb. When finished, sprinkle generously with sea salt.
- I prefer to eat this cake hot or cold! (It can be eaten at room temp too, if that's your preference, but I think it taste best in one of the extremes). I recommend serving with any remaining caramel served hot and drizzled over the top!
NOTE: Once refrigerated, the caramel with solidify on the edges because it is made from coconut as the base. This is fine! Just warm it up a bit to get rid of any solids, or just enjoy the change in texture 🙂