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Caramel Apple Poke Cake

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This Caramel Apple Poke Cake is full of apples, cinnamon, and caramel making it the perfect fall dessert. It’s so easy to make, it will be your new favorite cake!

slice of caramel apple poke cake on white plates drizzled with caramel

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Though I’m coming around to pumpkin desserts, apple will always have my heart.

This Caramel Apple Cake screams fall. I have been known to stop at the cider mill and get a sliced caramel apple but in cake form is a whole other level of deliciousness.

A layer of cinnamon coated diced apples, topped with a yellow cake. Baked, poked, drizzled with caramel, topped with frosting, and drizzled with more caramel. <heart eyes> It’s as good warm as it is cold.

slice of cake with bite taken out on white plate

WHAT IS A POKE CAKE

A poke cake is a cake that is poked full of holes. Wow, right? lol You poke holes in a freshly baked cake and then pour something sweet into the holes to soak in. Jell-O is a popular option, as is sweetened condensed milk. We’re opting for caramel in this version.

WHICH VARIETY OF APPLES SHOULD I USE?

Use your favorite type of apples, especially if you’ve just picked some from the orchard. I used Granny Smith here because I feel the tartness is a good contrast to all the sweetness from the caramel. More tart options would be Empire, Ida Red, McIntosh, Paula Rd, or Rome.

WHAT SHOULD I POKE IT WITH

The handle of a wooden spoon is a good option for poking holes in your cake. I personally use the end of a medicine syringe (you know the ones that come in kid medicines?) because it is slightly smaller & I don’t like huge gaping holes.

INGREDIENTS

  • Yellow Cake Mix – You’ll need your favorite brand of yellow cake mix plus the ingredients called for on the box (egg, oil, water)
  • Apples – You’ll need about 2 cups of diced apples. Depending on how large your apples are, this should be 1-2. See my note for which type to use – I used Granny Smith here.
  • Cinnamon – Pick a good quality cinnamon for the best flavor. I like ceylon cinnamon but you can also get organic Saigon in bulk from Sam’s Club or Costco.
  • Caramel Sauce – There are many options to choose from. I like to pick a good quality like Sanders for the best flavor.
  • Frosting – You’ll need one can of frosting. White or vanilla.
ingredients laid out to make a caramel apple cake

TOOLS FOUND ON AMAZON TO HELP YOU

9×13 Baking Dish – I love baking dishes with lids so I can easily store leftovers.
Apple Peeler – A high quality peeler will make your life easier.
Veggie Chopper – I’ve been using this thing for everything lately and the smaller option is perfect for easily dicing apples.

HOW TO MAKE A CARAMEL APPLE POKE CAKE

Making this cake is a breeze! It’s going to be a hit and you’ll be happy to make it often because it’s so easy.

STEP ONE: Wash, peel, and dice your apples, toss them in cinnamon, and lay them into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

collage of cake batter in mixing bowl

STEP TWO: Prepare the yellow cake per the box instructions and pour the batter over the cinnamon apples in the baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

collage of cake batter pouring into baking dish

STEP THREE: Once cooled (but still slightly warm), poke holes into the cake and pour 1/2 cup of caramel sauce over the entire cake.

STEP FOUR: Warm up the jar of frosting, just until pourable, and pour all over the cake. Spread evenly with a spatula. Drizzle with caramel, sprinkle with cinnamon, slice and serve!

process shot collage of poke cake

CAN I MAKE IT AHEAD OF TIME

Yes, you can make it ahead of time. Cover and store in the fridge for 3-4 days.

CAN I FREEZE IT

Yes, you can tightly wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for up to a month.

9x13 baking dish cake with slices taken out

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

To top this cake, drizzle with caramel sauce and sprinkle with cinnamon. If you want to jazz it up even further, you can top with chopped peanuts, chopped walnuts, or even toffee bits.

NEED MORE APPLE DESSERTS IN YOUR LIFE? TRY THESE:

Apple Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Apple Filled Pull Apart Bread
Apple Cinnamon Zucchini Muffins
Apple Strudel
Apple Cinnamon Bundt Cake
Slow Cooker Cinnamon Applesauce
Apple Donut Mini Muffins
Apple Peanut Butter Blondies
Slow Cooker Apple Crisp
Autumn Spice Bundt Cake

HOW ABOUT MORE POKE CAKES:

Halloween Poke Cake
Pistachio Poke Cake
Hot Chocolate Poke Cake
Cannoli Poke Cake
Better Than Sex Cake
Boston Cream Pie Poke Cake
Click here for a my full collection of cake recipes.

slice of caramel apple cake with text title overlay

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slice of caramel apple poke cake on white plates drizzled with caramel

Caramel Apple Poke Cake

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
This Caramel Apple Poke Cake is full of apples, cinnamon, and caramel making it the perfect fall dessert. It's so easy to make, it will be your new favorite cake!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 16 servings
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 15.25 oz yellow cake mix
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups apples peeled and finely diced
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon plus more to sprinkle on top
  • 1/2 cup caramel sauce plus more for drizzle
  • 1 16 oz vanilla or white frosting

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, and water. Beat for about 2 minutes until well combined.
  • Peel and dice the apples then sprinkle with cinnamon and toss to coat. Pour apples into prepared 9 x 13 baking dish.
  • Pour cake batter over apples.
  • Bake for 25-28 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool.
  • Once cool, poke holes in the cake and pour 1/2 cup of caramel sauce over the holes.
  • Remove lid and all foil from the can of frosting and microwave just until pourable (not liquid) – approximately 10-15 seconds.
  • Pour the frosting over the cake and spread evenly with a spatula.
  • Drizzle with additional caramel and sprinkle some cinnamon.
  • Slice, serve and enjoy!

Notes

Use your favorite apple – I use Granny Smith to contrast the sweetness of the caramel.
1-2 apples should be about 2 cups diced.
Store covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 200kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 1gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 92mgPotassium: 45mgFiber: 1gSugar: 20gVitamin A: 65IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  1. Anne says

    I’m planning on making this but topping it with a buttercream frosting. What do you think about that?

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