Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll

4 from 4 votes
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This Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll is my favorite flavor combo yet! And it’s so easy, I promise you can do it.

spice cake roll filled with apples and topped with caramel frosting and nuts on white platter

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 with end piece cut off and flat on a white plate

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.

spice cake roll filled with apples and topped with caramel frosting and nuts on white platter with recipe title in text on top of photo

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.

spice cake roll filled with apples and topped with caramel frosting and nuts on white platter with recipe title in text on top of platter

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!

Be sure to check out all my cake roll recipes!

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake Roll

4 from 4 votes
Serving Size

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

  • 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.
  • Beat eggs at high speed for 5 minutes.  Gradually beat in sugar, applesauce, and molasses.
  • Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Add to other mixture. Spread into prepared pan.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate

Carrot Cake Roll

Zucchini Cake Roll

Sweets from friends:
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Pumpkin Nutella Poke Cake by Something Swanky

Last Updated on May 31, 2020

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82 CommentsLeave a comment or review

  1. The cake came out ok…however the frosting was one big blob of sugar.. In the end had to throw the whole thing away since it was ruined by the frosting. I am assuming the powder sugar should of stated “2 cups sifted powder sugar”. I am just starting to bake cakes as cookies and pies are something that I am much better at.

  2. This cake is fantastic!  I made it once a few weeks ago, loved it and now it is going to be dessert for Thanksgiving tomorrow.  It would be fantastic as written but I added some raisins to the apple filling and that was yummy too. 

  3. 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!

    1. I think you can freeze it okay. I’d freeze it without the frosting though. Then add the frosting when you’re ready to serve!

    1. I get so confused describing it, ha! I always start at the short end to roll, so the cake is the length of the shortest side.

      1. That makes sense. Thank you for your help. I am still a bit intimidated by cake rolls, but I think I might give them a try with one of your recipes.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!