Old Fashioned Caramel Apple Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting – vanilla cake made with maple syrup, apple butter, and spiced apple cider. Each fluffy, sweet layer of cake is frosted with a rich, fudgy, chocolate frosting. A sweet and creamy layer of icing is then added with notes of caramel mixed throughout. Sooo much to love here! Every layer has the best apple flavor and just the right amount of chocolate and caramel. Kind of like a caramel apple cake!
I just love an “old fashioned” style dessert. They’re the ones our grandmas would make. Something about an old-school recipe feels a little more special.
And while this cake isn’t probably the most old fashioned one out there, it has some elements to it that make it “old fashioned”.
Regardless, I love it, and it’s the perfect fall apple cake to celebrate the season!
Here are the details, start with the cake
Start with the apple butter cake. I used my favorite butter cake recipe, but replaced the brown sugar with maple, added apple butter, and replaced the buttermilk with my favorite spiced apple cider. Thanks to the apple butter and apple cider there is so much apple flavor shining through.
Start by beating together the wet ingredients: butter, sugar, vanilla, apple butter, and eggs. Then, add the dry: flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Lastly, beat in the apple cider. Then bake away.
While I love my original butter cake recipe, I actually love this cake more. The flavor is so warming, rich, and sweet, but not too sweet. The notes of cinnamon and apple are so nice.
The chocolate frosting
While the cake is cooling, you can start making the chocolate fudge frosting. Now, this really IS old school. It’s simply just melted chocolate chips and sour cream. I also added espresso powder, which really highlights the chocolate.
For having just three ingredients, this is the most magical frosting. Very creamy, rich, and fudgy. And I love that it’s not too sweet.
Spread the frosting over one layer of the cake. Add the top layer, then chill the cake while you make the brown sugar caramel icing.
The brown sugar icing
Butter, brown sugar, and milk, are boiled down into a “caramel” before being whipped with powdered sugar.
When melted down, the brown sugar adds hints of warm molasses and really deepens the flavor to create an icing that’s perfectly rich and caramel-like. And when you add a touch of vanilla – so good. I highly recommend using more icing than you think your cake needs.
Be sure to pour over the icing while it’s still warm, once it cools it will stiffen up.
This last step is optional but so good, the caramel brulée candy. Simply melt granulated sugar on the stove until it turns deep caramel in color, then spread the caramel out over a piece of parchment paper.
Let sit for a few minutes and let the caramel harden. It can then be easily smashed into small shards for sprinkling over the cake.
This cake is delicious. Each bite is filled with sweet spiced apple, chocolate, and caramel. The best kind of autumn cake!
Looking for other fall sweets? Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make this Old Fashioned Caramel Apple Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Old Fashioned Caramel Apple Butter Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Calories Per Serving: 1286 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup apple butter
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans and line with parchment paper. 2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and apple butter, beating until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stream in the apple cider, beating until just combined. Pour the batter among the 2 cake pans.3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the center is just set. Let cool 5-10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and invert the cake onto a plate, flip it back over onto a serving plate. Let cool.4. To make the chocolate frosting. Microwave the chocolate chips and a pinch of salt, stirring every 45 seconds, until melted. Stir in the sour cream and espresso, a dollop at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Swirl the frosting onto the top of the cake. Place the second cake layer on top. Run a knife around the side of the cake to clean up any frosting. Chill while you make the brown sugar frosting.5. To make the brown sugar icing. Melt together the butter, brown sugar, and cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved. Add a pinch of salt. Remove from the heat and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the powdered sugar vanilla. Beat until well combined. The icing should be glossy and pourable. 6. Pour the icing over the cake, spreading around the sides of the cake too. The frosting will set quickly on the cake. If desired top with caramel pieces and/or sea salt. Slice, eat, and enjoy!!
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Caramel Brulée: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium pot, cook 3/4 cup sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a heat-proof spatula until the sugar has melted and turns a golden caramel, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet. Spread in a thin, even layer and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Let sit 5 minutes. Once hardened, crush the caramel into small pieces/shards with the back of a spoon.