Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll

This Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll is my favorite flavor combo yet! And it’s so easy, I promise you can do it.

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll - the BEST cake roll flavor combo ever! | crazyforcrust.com

Okay, can we ignore the … browness of these photos? Isn’t it the worst when you make the BEST thing ever and it’s all…brown?

This is where I need a professional stylist to help me. Because I’m not a professional. I know that – Martha told me so.

I may not be a pro, but I do know what tastes good…and this cake roll is the bomb.

Let me clarify: it’s the bomb-diggity.

Really. Brown-ness aside, it’s the BEST cake roll I’ve made yet!

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll - the BEST cake roll flavor combo ever! | crazyforcrust.com

I’ve been trying to think of a Fall cake roll idea. I love pumpkin…but that’s kind of been done. Like a trillion +1 times. So…caramel apple it is.

This cake roll has three amazing components:

The cake is a spice cake.

The filling is apple pie-like.

And the frosting? Is the BEST part: it’s caramel.

Put the three together and it’s a party in your mouth.

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll - the BEST cake roll flavor combo ever! | crazyforcrust.com

The cake roll recipe is adapted from my mother-in-law. It’s the same recipe I used to make the Carrot Cake Roll. I also used her caramel frosting recipe too. Because it’s awesome – and SUPER easy!

Don’t be afraid of cake rolls. They’re actually easier than you think. I wrote a bunch of rules for making one, if you need some tips. Really, the keys to success are: cook it all the way (this one is very springy when done; the apples keep it moist after rolling), use LOTS of powdered sugar (if your kids sitting two rooms away aren’t covered in it, you’re not using enough), and roll it straight from the oven (burned fingers are worth it). It sounds way more complicated than it is, I promise!

My husband actually said to me “That looks really really good. I want to eat it.”

If you know him, you know that’s, like, the hugest compliment ever.

Even if it is a pile of brown-ness.

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll - the BEST cake roll flavor combo ever! | crazyforcrust.com

Just like you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, you can’t judge a cake roll by it’s color. In this case, all that brown makes it fabulous!

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll

Ingredients

    For the cake:
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar                                         
  • 1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce             
  • 2 tablespoons molasses                                                              
  • 3/4 cup flour                                                                              
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder                                                   
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • For the filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • For the frosting:
  • 1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line a jelly roll (10x15") pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. I like to use the spray with flour in it.
  2. Beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes.  Gradually beat in sugar, applesauce, and molasses.
  3. Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add to other mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn out immediately onto a kitchen towel sprinkled liberally with powdered sugar. Starting at the narrow end, roll towel and cake together. Cool completely.
  5. While the cake is baking and cooling, make the filling. Melt butter in a medium frying pan. Add apples, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to combine. Cook for about 2 minutes, until apples start to release their juices. Stir together water and cornstarch and add to pan. Stir, and continue cooking over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, until liquids are absorbed and apples are cooked. Remove from heat, then place apples in a bowl and chill until ready to assemble cake.
  6. Once cake and apples are cool, carefully unroll the cake. Spread apples evenly across the cake, being sure to spread to the edges as much as possible. Starting at the narrow end, re-roll the cake. Place on a rack set over a cookie sheet to await frosting.
  7. Toast chopped nuts in a small frying pan over low heat, stirring often, for just a few minutes. DO NOT WALK AWAY from the stove. They can burn in an instant. You can also toast them in a 350 degree oven on a cookie sheet, shaking the pan occasionally, for just a few minutes. Same thing: don’t walk away! Cool while preparing frosting.
  8. To make the frosting, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. I use salted butter, if you use unsalted, add a pinch of salt. Stir in brown sugar and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in heavy cream and stir until the mixture comes to a boil (it will probably be boiling almost instantly). Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar until no lumps remain, then whisk in vanilla extract. If frosting is too thick to pour at this point, add more cream (1 tablespoon at a time). Mine was pourable as written.
  9. Pour frosting over cake roll evenly, being sure to get the ends and sides. Working quickly, use an offset spatula to help spread the frosting where it’s missing. The excess frosting will drip onto the cookie sheet. You can discard that, or eat it with a spoon. Sprinkle nuts over the top, if desired, to make it look prettier for serving. Carefully transfer to serving platter. Store in refrigerator, but serve at room temperature.
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Comments

  1. Are you kidding?! Its gorgeous! All those layers and then you had to go ahead and describe it to me *swoon* This looks so crazy delicious, I can totally understand why you love it. Pinning! I cannot wait to try this!

  2. Ha I love your digg at Martha. Before she was an ‘expert’ she was an amateur . And brown amongst other colours is what autumn is all about so your on track there, and it looks delicious so that’s all good.
    Rochelle @ Oh So Sweet Baker recently posted..Munchy Seeds Candy Bars + GiveawayMy Profile

  3. Sounds like an amazing cake to me, wish I had a big ole slice right now! Don’t most chefs say “brown=flavor”???:@)
    Happier Than A Pig in Mud recently posted..Pumpkin Coaster-Crochet PatternMy Profile

  4. I’m sitting here at dinner eating beets right now trying my hardest to pretend it’s this cake! Not working. I want this for dessert right now!!! All those apples look so good!! Oh…..and…..the…..frosting. Drooling.
    Tahnycooks recently posted..Apple Pie Trail MixMy Profile

  5. Dorothy, you are being wayyyy too hard on yourself! Before I read any of your “brown” comments, I saw the first pic and thought to myself, “I need to eat this IMMEDIATELY.” You are the cake roll queen, and this is another jewel in your crown. Totally bowing down :-)
    Erin | The Law Student’s Wife recently posted..Pizza Rolls with Goat Cheese and OlivesMy Profile

  6. That looks so delicious and now I am craving Spice Cake!
    Alana recently posted..Stir-Fry Chicken and PeppersMy Profile

  7. For some reason I’ve never made a cake roll. This looks like the perfect flavor combo for my first try. Who cares it’s brown? It still sounds (and looks) amazing!
    Megan – The Emotional Baker recently posted..Pumpkin Chocolate Chip BlondiesMy Profile

  8. Yes, but many of the best foods are brown. It still look delicious to me! Love the caramel apple combo. Pinned!
    Stephanie @ Back For Seconds recently posted..Easy Pumpkin Pie TrufflesMy Profile

  9. There is absolutely nothing you could have done to make the tone/color and different. You captured the food as it was, and that was your job. And you did it beautifully :)

    You are a CAKE ROLL MASTER! Girl I made and shot one for my big project and ummm let’s just say it was the most stressful photo shoot of the whole project. I hated making it. I actually read your posts/tips before I made mine, too! And you have a knack! This is so pretty, Dorothy. Pinned!

    • Thank you Averie! I am nervous every time I make one! I think so many factors can change the cake to make it crack or not work, and sometimes not even following the rules can help (hello humid/dry/altitude). Thanks for the pin!!

  10. It’s beautiful…and full of Fall in both color and flavors. I want some NOW!
    xoxo

  11. Wow, Dorothy, this looks amazing! So much crunchy goodness :)

  12. Brown is beautiful!

  13. Yum! I have to make this I love caramel apples! Thanks!

  14. The photos look perfect! You did a great job with a brown and not so colorful food! Looks pretty darn good to me!
    I have never made a cake roll because I am flat out scared! I mean, rolling a cake? Yea, pretty sure it would just not work out for me! LOL! You are a cake roll master!
    Tieghan recently posted..Roasted Harvest Veggie, Curried Avocado + Coconut Rice BowlsMy Profile

  15. I love cake rolls and have been trying to figure out how i was going to add my millions of apples to one of them! You have done it for me!! Delicious!
    Nancy P.@thebittersideofsweet recently posted..Pink Salmon Quinoa PattiesMy Profile

  16. I’m not a fan of cake rolls (Not a fan of the filling), but this is one I can get behind! Caramel frosting and apples sounds amazing- the brownness is no detriment to that amazing combo.
    Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen recently posted..Peanut Butter Banana Cookies (Vegan)My Profile

  17. Brown is better! This has got to be the best cake roll I have ever laid eyes on, seriously all the flavors-I need this in my life!
    Elizabeth @ Confessions of a Baking Queen recently posted..Cookie Butter Sea Salt TrufflesMy Profile

  18. Caramel is brown. Chocolate is brown. My little boy’s beautiful eyes are brown. Brown is awesome. I am dying to make all these cake rolls! I was going to make carrot cake pops for a party this weekend but I think I might try the carrot cake roll instead. Thanks for the inspiration.

  19. Ok now I want caramel apple cake for breakfast. This has to be one of the best cake roll recipes I’ve ever seen Dorothy!

    I know all too well about all brown foods. I make a caramel apple cake last year. Brown cake, browned apples, brown, brown, brown!! You captured the cake beautifully, Dorothy. Truly you did! I am so impressed with this recipe, I have to make a cake roll soon!

  20. Beautiful…looks amazing!
    Jill @ Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons recently posted..Our 2013 Homemade KFC Kentucky Fried Chicken Costumes!My Profile

  21. What a great idea for a cake roll! Love these flavors!
    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction recently posted..Easy Peanut Butter Apple CrispMy Profile

  22. Ugh, photographing brown food is the worst! But this looks great! Love the flavor combination. I would like a slice right now for breakfast! :)

  23. Missy-in-NJ says:

    Wow! this looks so great! I am going to bookmark it to make it for Thanksgiving; a nice change from pie! Thanks, Dorothy, I am a big fan! :-)

  24. You will be my cake roll sensei… for whenever I’m done hiding under a table and actually decide to make one, haha. This flavor combination is brilliant!
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..Butterbeer CupcakesMy Profile

  25. Oh my, this looks heavenly! I love cake rolls, but I’ve never made them because I’m afraid I’m going to destroy it when rolling it up. I need to be brave and just do it so I can enjoy this!
    Marcie recently posted..Plum ConserveMy Profile

  26. This looks amazing, browness and all :) Although I am wearing all brown today to work… boring. The combination of ingredients and the texture of the nuts make it look great. What a fun fall twist :) Can you teleport me one for lunch today… like right now : )
    Laura @ Lauras Baking Talent recently posted..Oatmeal Pie GhostsMy Profile

  27. I don’t care that it’s brown …it definitely got my attention! Looks amazing …no matter what color it is! You always have pics of drool worthy treats! (=
    Gloria @ Simply Gloria recently posted..Baby Ruth FudgeMy Profile

  28. Ok, the photos are still beautiful. Sometimes we are our own hardest critic, give yourself a break chica! :) FYI – so impressed with your rolling skills. Definitely need to check out how to do this. They have always intimidated me, but I might need to put on my big girl panties so I can make this awesome cake. Oh and the chocolate zucchini one too! :)

  29. This cake is gorgeous! Perfect for a fall dinner party!
    Laura Dembowski recently posted..Caramel Apple Sheet Cake #SundaySupperMy Profile

  30. Hi! This looks yummy! I was wondering if it can be made with out the nutmeg and all spice? I’ve had allergic reactions to this in the past and no matter how good a bake good is, chasing it with shots of allergy meds ruins it!
    Thanks!

  31. Well I think you are a pro!

    This does sound like the bomb!
    Meg @ Sweet Twist recently posted..Almond Joy CheesecakesMy Profile

  32. Looks great to me – brown or not! :) I’m totally afraid of cake rolls – yours always look so perfect!
    Jennifer @ Not Your Momma’s Cookie recently posted..Cookies & Cream Halloween TrifleMy Profile

  33. Looks amazing!! Wish I had a slice for breakfast ;)
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel recently posted..Mini Shepherd’s PiesMy Profile

  34. I love your creative cake rolls!
    Dina recently posted..Two for Tuesday: Strawberry YogurtMy Profile

  35. This is great – how do roll the cake so evenly?!

  36. What a great variation to cake rolls!
    Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie recently posted..Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon ButtercreamMy Profile

  37. You may have struggled with these photos, Dorothy, but you nailed it! I think one element that works with brown food photos is making the brown pop out, just like you did in these photos with the hot pink table cloth. The brown food gets highlighted or framed or something. It also helps if the brown food is a gorgeous spiced caramel apple cake roll! Then the viewer is so busy wishing they had a piece that they can’t take their eyes off the cake. :)
    Wendy recently posted..Chocolate Peppermint Shortbread CookiesMy Profile

  38. I know exactly what you mean about struggling to make brown food pop in your pics!! I’m a perfectionist when it comes to that!! But seriously, who cares about color when it’s a cake roll like THIS!!! I want the whole roll to myself, and I’m not even kidding!! :)

  39. I’ve always been spooked by making cake rolls, but this Halloween–no more getting spooked! I love the brown with all my heart and might. Bookmarked for future making!
    Ala recently posted..The Very BEST Tiramisu–America’s Test KitchenMy Profile

  40. Yum!! Your cake roll is so pretty!! Mine always cracks and falls apart, but yours is lovely! I’m definitely going to try your tips next time I make one. Thanks so much for sharing!! Pinned.
    Kate recently posted..Easiest Homemade Hot Chocolate MixMy Profile

  41. I actually love brown baked goods! There are lots of shades to play with, and when you put it on a wooden backdrop with wooden utensils, it has a comforting rustic feel. At least, that’s what I shoot for. ;) And oh my goodness Mel actually wanted to try dessert?? That’s HUGE Dorothy — you must feel on top of the world!!
    Amy recently posted..Chocolate Pretzel BatwichesMy Profile

  42. Love this Dorothy! Your tips are SPOT ON. Cake rolls are the best but I think this one is definitely taking the cake ;) Pinned and sharing on Facebook!
    Trish – Mom On Timeout recently posted..Spiced Chocolate Crackle CookiesMy Profile

  43. Are you sure the flour is the right measurement? My cake came out much much darker than yours and the cake was very sticky. It was like gingerbread.

  44. It may be brown but I have to agree with your husband here – I want a slice right now! The thick caramel frosting on top? Oh geez.

    A petit moment of commiseration: I do hate photographing brown baked goods. Or really dark chocolate desserts. I always look at my photos and think, “but they tasted so good, why are they so hideous?!” For the record, your photos aren’t hideous. Gorg as always.
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking recently posted..Nana’s Cranberry ChutneyMy Profile

  45. By the thin end, do you mean that you roll them up length wise? I originally thought you rolled width wise.

  46. Hi! I am interested in making the apple spice roll! However, I am going out of town before christmas, and when I return won’t have time to bake for our party! I was wondering if this would freeze well!? If so, any tips? Thanks!

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