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toffee apple cake
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5 from 1 vote

Toffee apple cake

This toffee apple cake has a moist and crumbly interior, tangy cream cheese frosting, and crowned by a delicious salted caramel glaze and toffee apples.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time50 mins
Baking Time35 mins
Total Time2 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10 servings
Author: Vy Tran

Equipment

  • 3 8-inch cake pan

Ingredients

Cake batter

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Plugrá® Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 1/2 cup full fat yogurt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup coarsely grated apple
  • 6 tbsps toffee pieces for the cake
  • 1/4 cup toffee pieces for garnish

Cream cheese frosting

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) Plugrá® Unsalted Butter
  • 16 ounces low fat cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste

Salted caramel

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsps water
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Toffee apples

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 6-8 small apples

Instructions

Cream cheese frosting

  • To make the cream cheese frosting, in a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until still, for about 3 minutes. Add cream cheese and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Reduce speed to low and add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time. Add vanilla and continue beating until smooth and well combined. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Salted caramel

  • To make the salted caramel, combine sugar and water and bring to a simmer over medium heat in a heavy saucepan.  Once the sugar starts to melt, watch carefully as the sugar darkens, stirring gently to help it melt evenly. When the caramel becomes a dark amber color, remove the pan from heat and immediately but slowly pour the cream into the saucepan. The mixture will steam and bubble up so be careful not to burn yourself.
  • When the bubbling subsides, gently whisk to completely blend the cream into the caramel. If you see lumps of hardened caramel, put the pan over low heat and stir until the caramel is melted. Once the caramel is completely smooth, stir in the salt. Set aside and let the salted caramel cool.

Toffee apples

  • For toffee apples, line a heatproof tray with foil and set a wire rack over the top of 1 tray. 
  • Place sugar in a deep non-stick saucepan over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and sugar is completely dissolved. Using metal tongs, dip apples into caramel, 1 at a time, until completely coated. Place on wire rack to cool. 

Cake batter

  • Butter 3 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter parchment and the sides of the pans. Dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  • In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, clove, and salt.
  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together butter and sugar until thick and pale. Add eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Add in yogurt. 
  • Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in two separate additions. Beat in grated apples. Add toffee and fold to combine.
  • Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. You should get about 2 cups of batter per pan. Smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Tap the pans to remove any air bubbles from the batter.
  • Place the pans in the middle rack in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack and let them cool completely. 
  • With a serrated knife, trim tops of cake if they’re uneven.
  • Place one cake with trimmed side up on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of cream cheese evenly over the top. 
  • Top with the second cake. Repeat with another 1 cup of cream cheese and the third cake layer. Spread about 1 cup of frosting over the third cake layer. 
  • With the rest of the frosting use a palette knife, ice the sides of the cake lightly to achieve a ‘naked’ effect. Use a bench scraper to smooth the sides of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 4 days. 
  • When ready to serve, drizzle the salted caramel and sprinkle toffee pieces over the cake, then top with toffee apples.

Notes

Spices: cinnamon and clove are classic fall flavors. You can also substitute with your favorite spices like nutmeg, pumpkin spice, and chai.
Please do not use butter substitutes which container water and will not give the same tender crumbs as the fat from the butter.
Grated apples add moisture to the cake due to the juices they release during baking. You can use your favorite apple variety in this toffee apple cake. Some of my favorite baking apples are the classic Granny Smith, Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Crispin, and Pink Lady.
To make it easier to decorate later, divide the cake batter evenly among the pan. The easiest and most accurate way to do this is to use a kitchen scale. Place your cake pan on top and begin pouring batter into the pan and making sure all the pans have the same amount. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, use your measuring cups instead.
 
Instead of making your own salted caramel, use store bought dulche de leche.