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Top view of apple dump cake serving in white bowl with silver spoon over white marble

Easy Apple Caramel Dump Cake

  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Desserts
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is a very simple recipe that combines favorite flavors: caramel, cinnamon, and apples. A layer of sweet pie filling is topped with the easiest 2-ingredient crumble for an easy dessert everyone will rave about. Similar to an apple cobbler, it's fall baking at its best. 


Ingredients

Units Scale

For the topping: (see Notes, below)

  • 2 cups yellow cake mix or white cake mix (half an 18oz box)
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted

For the apples:

  • 4 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 10 medium)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons white or brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup of water

Caramel sauce or dulce de leche, for serving


Instructions

  1. Have ready a rectangular 11x7-inch ovenproof dish in which you will serve the pudding. I like a ceramic dish, but glass also works. Remember the bread pudding will be served directly from the baking dish, so choose one that you like to put on the table. 

For the apples:

  1. Peel, core, and cut the apples in wedges.
  2. Choose one of the two options below:
    Raw apples: mix the wedges in a bowl with sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Heavily butter the dish (use the amount in the ingredients) and arrange the apples.
    Partially cooked apples: melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and sprinkle sugar on top. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula and cook for about 3 minutes, until they begin to brown and caramelize here and there. Do not let them turn too dark or too soft. Remove from heat, add the cinnamon and lemon juice and arrange them in the prepared dish.
  3. Mix cornstarch with the water in a small bowl until no lumps remain and pour over the apples (for both options). It will not cover them completely, at all. You can mix everything lightly before adding the topping. 

For the topping:

  1. Mix cake mix with the melted butter until you have a crumbly mixture. 
  2. Top the apples with this, spreading it out slightly. It will not cover the filling completely and it will be very rustic-looking, and that is fine. Don't stir it and mix it with the apples, simply smooth it out a little. 
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes, until golden and dry, checking close to the end of the baking time by lifting the topping here and there, making sure it's completely baked inside. Bake it more if necessary, until the top is dry and the filling bubbles around the edges. 
  4. Serve warm drizzled with caramel sauce or dulce de leche (find links below) or with whipped cream/scoop of ice cream in addition to the sauce.
  5. Refrigerate leftovers, covered in plastic wrap or in an airtight container. 

Notes

Organization: always read the recipe first and make sure you have all the ingredients, at the right temperatures, and also the rest of the equipment and space to make it. This will make the process so much easier!

Baking time: keep in mind that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look the same or very similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer that is placed inside the oven (like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 

Topping: if you want more topping than filling you can use 3 cups of cake mix and 3/4 cup of butter, melted.  You might probably need a longer baking time, so check at 45 minutes and see how it's going. 

Cake mixes: white and yellow cake are the most common flavors for topping an apple dump cake, but you can also use a spice cake mix, a french vanilla cake mix, or even a chocolate one, like devil's food cake mix if you're a little more adventurous (like with the chocolate apple crisp recipe).

Butter: the original recipe calls for putting thin slices of butter on top of the cake mix. After several tries, I find that melted butter is the best option to fully moisten the cake mix which results in a much crumbly topping. If you want to go the original way, there are images in the chocolate cherry dump cake post.

Store-bought apple pie filling: this is the original idea, dumping a can of filling on a baking dish, so do take advantage of this alternative if you have a favorite one you love. It is, after all, an easy apple dump cake recipe.

Flavorings: we use a mix of ground cinnamon and vanilla extract, but feel free to use apple pie spice mix. Also, a grating of lemon or orange zest in the filling will add an extra citrus tone if that's your thing.

Serving it: we are partial to eating it warm with a scoop of ice cream (or whipped cream) and a heavy dose of caramel sauce or dulce de leche. But you can it eat at room temperature or warm with only the sauce on top. 

Dulce de leche: I have the best dulce de leche recipe in this blog, but you can also buy it online. I like Dulce de Leche Cachafaz warmed with a few teaspoons of milk/water before using it, so it's more fluid. You can also buy a dulce de leche sauce like La Lechera

Caramel: you can buy online the topping like Ghirardelli caramel-flavored sauce, or make your own following this salted caramel recipe or this homemade caramel recipe.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8
  • Calories: 565
  • Sugar: 56.6 g
  • Sodium: 362.6 mg
  • Fat: 24.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 84.5 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 55.6 mg

Keywords: apple dump cake