Quick Caramel Apple Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

There are just times, rainy days, the end of a busy week, the first daffodil, what have you – when dinner needs a little exclamation point whether to comfort or celebrate. This cake is a good go-to for those times. You can have it in the oven in under 10 minutes and on the table in under an hour. I based it on the recipe for Lightning Cake, from my beloved 1975 copy of The Joy of Cooking. My fellow farm kids out there might recognize this caramel icing as one of grandma’s boiled icings.

Quick Caramel Apple Cake, Makes one 2″-thick 8″ square cake or two thin 8″ layers

  • 1/2 c. (one stick) soft butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c all-purpose flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • One cooking apple, cut in small dice
  • 1 t. vanilla

Caramel Icing

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 3 T. butter


Preheat the oven to 350 and grease one or two 8″ square pans. Beat the butter and sugar until creamy, then beat in the eggs.


Stir in the apple.


The rest of the ingredients. Stir well until creamy.


Pour into your pan(s) and bake 15-20 minutes for two pans, 30-35 minutes for one pan. You might want to jump down at this point to make the frosting while the cakes bake.


Set the cakes aside to cool.

To make the frosting:

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, reserving one tablespoon of cold butter.


Cook, stirring to 240 degrees.


Cool to 110 and add the last tablespoon of cold butter. Beat well on high with a mixer until thick and creamy.


You could beat in a teaspoon of vanilla here if you like. Ice cake(s) with the frosting and serve.



One year ago: Breakfast Cookies


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