My Apple Dapple Cake is an updated version of the vintage recipe that combines apples, pecans, butter, and more into a decadent dessert that is one of the most moist (or is it moistest?) cakes I’ve ever eaten! The butter, brown sugar caramel sauce fills in holes you poke across the cake to add even more flavor!
This dense cake is traditionally made in a Bundt or tube pan, but I love making it as a sheet cake in a 9×13-inch dish because you don’t have to worry about the cake sticking AND you’re able to get more of that delicious caramel sauce down into the cake. To cover all the bases, I’ve include instructions in the printable recipe card below to make it all 3 ways.
What kind of apples should I use when baking?
For this cake, and most baked goods in general, I recommend using a firm-fleshed apple like a Granny Smith. It’s got tons of apple flavor and is firm enough to not turn to complete mush when baking. That said, you can use other firm-fleshed apples like Honeycrisp, Fuji, Braeburn, Pink Lady or others.
What’s the difference between a Bundt pan and tube pan?
I know this is labelled as a sheet cake, but since it can be made in a Bundt or tube pan, it’s worth mentioning the difference. For our general purposes, tube pans are round pans that have a center hole which allows thick cakes to bake through. They typically have straight or flat sides and are often called Angel Food pans because they’re often used to bake the confection. They can be found with and without nonstick coatings.
A Bundt pan is a type of tube pan that typically has fluted or decorative sides. Most Bundt pans have some sort of nonstick coating, but should still be greased and floured – in my opinion.
While this recipe can be made in either type of pan, they’re not always interchangeable, so be sure to follow your recipe.
Why do you call this a sheet cake?
Every time I post a recipe that includes the words sheet cake, I always hear back from folks complaining that a 9×13 is not a sheet cake. Here’s the deal… A full sheet pan is 26 X 18 inches. A half sheet is 18 X 13 inches. A quarter sheet is 9 X 13 inches. So technically this cake is a quarter sheet since it’s made in a 9×13-inch baking dish, but still a sheet cake. Apple Dapple Quarter Sheet Cake just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it. 😂
How do I store this apple cake?
While it’s fine on the counter for a day or so, I recommend storing this cake in the fridge since it has so many apples in it. It will spoil quickly otherwise. But I almost always warm it in the microwave since it’s best served close to room temp or slightly warm.
Apple Dapple Sheet Cake
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups diced apples* – (3 to 4 apples)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the oil, melted butter, and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Stir in the vanilla.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the apples and pecans.
- Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs. Poke holes all throughout the cake with a skewer or toothpick.
- Make the caramel sauce by combining the brown sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low boil and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 1/2 minutes or until the mixture is about 200°F. Drizzle the sauce over the warm cake – paying special attention to get the sauce down into the holes poked into the cake. Allow to cool, then slice and serve at room temperature or slightly warm. Store covered in the refrigerator.