You guys, you guys, you guys.
I maybe, kind of sort of, got a little carried away with this Salted Caramel Apple Snickers Cake.
But sometimes I really just cannot help myself. Getting carried away in chocolate is always a fun thing. And this cake? It’s my favorite fall recipe to date. I freaking love this cake!
I kind of have a lot to say about this cake (how could I not!). Please bear with me as I ramble (and ramble) and try to convince you that you need to make this cake.
For one, I realize that this cake is well, totally high maintenance. I am not going to sit here and try to tell you that it’s quick and easy because that would just be a lie. This cake takes a little TLC for sure, but I think it’s a cake that is worth it. Maybe it’s only a once year cake, but that is what makes it even more special. And the time of year to make it is NOW. I am thinking Halloween, but Thanksgiving would work too. Personally, I think it’s geared more towards Halloween. It has a little spook factor to it, the caramel apples and the whole Snickers thing makes it a dead ringer for Halloween, when everything is all about candy. Although, I didn’t actually use any Snickers in this cake, it’s just Snickers flavored…. but it’s better than a Snickers.
Without a doubt.
Here’s the deal, the cake part is simple. It’s just a spiced apple cake, but made chocolate. I know that is not really typical, but who cares, it’s good. The cinnamon is delicious with the chocolate and the sweet flavors of the apples.
Oh, and since this cake is full of applesauce that means it’s healthy, right??
Ok, ok, fine, it’s not even close to being healthy, but hey I had to try. And hey, it’s a celebration cake so the calories don’t count anyways… reason number 101 as to why I love the months of October, November and December. These are the months when food can be whatever we want it to be. Yes to the yes.
Once you have the cake all baked, it’s time for the caramel. Now the caramel we are dividing into two parts. You are going to start off, by making one big pot of salted caramel sauce. We only need one cup of the caramel sauce, so we remove that from the pot, set it aside to cool and then reserve the remaining caramel sauce (just leave it in the pot you cooked it in) for later on in the recipe. We need the one cup of salted caramel sauce for making the frosting and drizzling the cake layers. The rest of the caramel in the pot will need to be cooked again and brought to the proper temperature to coat the apples in. Once the cake is all assembled you will cover the cake and apples in this caramel. This is the very final step though.
The next step is the frosting, which may just be the best part. The frosting is addicting you guys. If you are a frosting lover, you may just want to double the recipe. It’s “spoonful worthy” good.
The frosting is sort of the “nougat” and peanut layer of the cake combined into one. I really did not want to take the time to make two sets of frosting for this cake, so I just combined them into one. It worked perfectly, if I do say so myself.
It’s sweet, but with the perfect amount of salt to balance it, and then it’s super peanutty, super creamy and so fluffy. AKA, the best frosting ever.
After you have made the frosting, you frost that cake ALL OVER. Get every nook and cranny, then drizzle every inch with that reserved one cup of caramel sauce and cover those moist chocolate cakes in full on deliciousness.
Don’t worry about the frosting looking perfect because you will be covering it in a layer of chocolate and then a thick layer of caramel. Totally insane.
The bummer part to this recipe is that it requires some chill out time in the fridge. The first chill time is short. You just want to keep the frosted cake in the fridge while you make the chocolate coating. It’s no big deal.
But the second chill time is more important. Once you have poured the chocolate coating (which is just chocolate ganache) over the cake, it is best if you can keep the cake in the fridge for at least and hour and half. I recommend overnight because it just make things easier (and less daunting) if you break the cake up into two days, but an hour and half will do too. After the cake is well chilled, it’s time to finish the caramel and make this cake GORGEOUS.
All you are doing is boiling that same caramel from earlier (that I left in the pot) and bringing it to a slightly high temp. It REALLY helps if you have a candy thermometer for this. It just takes the guessing out and makes things a little simpler. It’s not a must, but you know your caramel is ready when you use the thermometer.
Also, it is important to let the caramel cool slightly before pouring it over the cake. This will help the caramel thicken up and also prevent the cake from melting. It’s kind of annoying, but pretty important, so don’t skip it. And then just pour the caramel over the cake, dip the apples and garnish with some salt and peanuts.
The caramel on the cake + apples should never become hard. It’s should firm up into a solid, but stay soft and chewy.
Whew. I know. It’s a lot, but it’s fun and perfect for Halloween. Please don’t be freaked by the amount of time required here. It’s not a hard cake to make, it just needs a little time. And come on, how could it not be worth it??
Words cannot describe just how good this cake is. It’s so good that I wasn’t even complaining that I had to make it twice… in a two-day period. And yes, all the cake somehow managed to get eaten. Everyone from my family, to builders to friends, to random walk-ins loved this cake.
What can I say, it’s just a lovable cake.
Sorry for the giant post with too many words and WAY too many photos, but I am obviously pretty excited about this cake.
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cup, no sugar added, apple sauce
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee, hot (or warm apple cider)
- Salted Caramel
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup honey (or corn syrup)
- 1/2 cup bourbon + 1/2 cup apple cider (or 1 cup cider)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt + flakey salt for sprinkling
- 3 your favorite SMALL apples (I used granny smith and honeycrisp)*
- 6 twigs or wooden sticks
- Snickers Frosting
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (not the oily kind)
- 1/3 cup salted caramel (ingredients above)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts, chopped + more for garnish
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
!To make the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch (or 9 inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter/spray with cooking spray.
In a medium size bowl combine the flour, sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer) beat together the eggs, apple sauce, canola oil and vanilla until smooth.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients with the mixer on low until there are no longer any clumps of flour. Add the hot coffee and mix until combined. Batter should be pourable, but not super thin.
Pour the batter among the 3 cake pans and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until the tops are just set and no longer wiggly in the center. Remove and let cool five minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the pan. Grab 3 large flat plates, line them with wax or parchment paper and invert the cakes onto the paper lined plates. Cover and let the cakes cool completely before frosting.
!To Make the Caramel + Frosting
Place sugar, honey, bourbon and apple cider in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, boil, without stirring, 9 minutes or until light golden in color. Add the heavy cream, butter and vanilla, slowly stirring into pan. Boil for 10-15 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads 210 degrees F., stirring frequently. Remove the sauce from heat and add the salt. Using a heat proof measuring cup scoop out 1 cup of caramel sauce and allow it to cool. Cover the remaining sauce and set aside until the cake is ready (I just covered my pot and set it aside overnight).
Now make the frosting, add the butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar to the bowl of stand mixer (or use a hand held mixer). Beat together until the butter is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the peanut butter, 1/3 cup of the cooled caramel sauce and the vanilla, beat, scraping down the sides as needed, another 2 minutes or until there are no streaks. Stir in the chopped peanuts.
!To Assemble the Cake
Place 1 layer of cake, flat side up, on a plate or cake stand. Drizzle the cake with a little salted caramel sauce (from the reserved 1 cup, not from the pot of caramel). With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and drizzle with caramel. Spread the frosting evenly on the top. Add the final layer of cake and drizzle with the remaining caramel. Frost the top and sides of the cake. Don't worry about it being too perfect as you will be covering most of it up. Place the cake in fridge.
To make the chocolate coating. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted. Allow the sauce to cool 3-5 minutes, and then pour the sauce onto the middle of the cake and spread to just the sides, allow the sauce to drip down the sides of the cake. Place the cake in the fridge preferably overnight, but at least 1 1/2 hours. You need the chocolate to be completely set and the frosting firm.
Once the cake is cool, grab that reserved caramel sauce in the pot. Place it back over medium-high heat and bring it to a boil. Boil for 15-20 minutes or until a candy thermometer reads between 220-230 degrees F (I let mine go to 225 and it was perfect). Remove the sauce from the stove and let is cool 15-20 minutes, stirring every so often. Make sure the caramel does not become too stiff. If it stiffens too much you will not be able to dip the apples. While the sauce cools, push the twigs or wooden sticks into the top of the apples. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.
When the caramel has cooled (it should be a little thicker now, but still pourable), pour about half the caramel over the cake and allow it to fall down the sides of the cake. Working quickly, dip the apples into the remaining caramel and place the in the center of cake. Sprinkle the cake with flakey salt and peanuts. Make room in the fridge for the cake and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. The caramel should never get completely hard, but should be more of a soft firm. Once the caramel is firm, store the cake in the fridge until ready to serve. Allow the cake to sit 15 minutes at room temp before serving. Please not that this is a delicate and with all the toppings it is a bit tricky to slice. Your slices will not be perfect.
*To cut the cake, I recommend removing the apples and then carefully slicing the cake. This is a messy cake guys, the slices will not be perfect.
*If you prefer, you do not have to add the caramel apples to the cake. It does make the cake a little hard to cut, so you can either skip them or serve them on the side of the cake.
*It is important to use small, light apples. If you use large apples, the cake has a greater chance of caving in.
*Cake adapted from the [Simple Chocolate Birthday Cake | http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/simple-chocolate-birthday-cake-whipped-chocolate-buttercream/]
Seriously? I cannot even handle it. This cake, I love this cake! So please make it – please!
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