Savor the season with a salty cake

October 22, 2013

By Maria Nelson

In my mind, there is nothing quite as representative or symbolic of fall than baked apple desserts. Caramelized in sugar, sprinkled with cardamom and cinnamon or stewed in compotes on pancakes, or eaten unadorned from a bowl, warm and tart and sweet, I think you get the idea.

Salted Caramel Apple Cake

Salted Caramel Apple Cake

Beautifully versatile, apples beg to be included in not only the sweet, but they are also perfect companions to the savory. They are best simply roasted in a pan with onions, and sausages, drizzled with maple syrup or slipped into crispy, melty cheese sandwiches. Serve along side roasted tomato soup and you really cannot go wrong.

We are fortunate to have access to delicious apples locally, and if you haven’t yet, I urge you to head out and pick some, buy some fresh pressed cider, connect with a farmer and simply enjoy the beautiful bounty of the fall season.

This cake is one of our family favorite ways to enjoy apples each fall. Salty caramel and crème fraiche top this glorious, slightly tart and buttery cake that is a perfect end to a lovely meal and a fitting celebration of this wondrous, bountiful time of year.

Salted Caramel Apple Cake


For the caramel

  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


For the cake

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 pounds Honeycrisp apples, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten


Make the caramel

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium high heat, swirling to combine. Do not stir; mixture will crystalize if you do so. Boil the sugar and water until it begins to turn a medium amber color. Remove from heat and add the whipping cream; mixture will bubble up. Stir until smooth, add the butter and salt, combine and set aside.


For the cake

Flour and butter an 8-by-3 cake pan. Use 2 of the 12 tablespoons of melted butter and add to a large nonstick pan. Sprinkle the 3 tablespoons sugar over the top of the butter, and then add the apples in batches, browning over medium heat. Avoid crowding the pan. Once apples are caramelized, remove from heat and set aside. Arrange half of the apples decoratively in the bottom of the baking pan.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, the 1 cup sugar and salt together. Add the eggs and the remaining 10 tablespoons of melted and cooled butter. Pour half the batter over the apples in the pan, place the remaining apples on top and then pour over the remaining batter.

Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 40 minutes or until a tester comes clean. Let cool for 20 minutes, and then flip pan over onto serving plate. Serve with caramel sauce and crème fraiche.


— Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit


Maria Nelson is a blogger and food photographer living in Issaquah. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Relish Magazine, Buzz Feed, Daily Candy and other online publications. Find her at

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3 Responses to “Savor the season with a salty cake”

  1. Patricia Neill on October 24th, 2013 7:38 pm

    I love Maria Nelsons articles. Love the pictures that go with the recipes.

  2. Natalie Rivera on November 29th, 2013 11:22 am

    This was a big hit over Thanksgiving holiday. I was wishing after a while that I had made two. I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a pint of nutmeg into the cake batter only because I love the combination of these spices with anything that requires apples. My family and guests were impressed.

  3. Salted Caramel Apple Cake | My Blog on May 7th, 2014 7:37 am

    […] fire and savor each and every bite.   This recipe is my latest installation over at the Issaquah Press, so if you’d like the recipe hit the link and […]

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