Aunt Donna’s Thanksgiving Caramel Apple Cake

Contributed by: Donna Jean Wheatley (LaFerney)
Source: Southern Living Cake Cookbook

I got this recipe from a very old Southern Living Cake Cookbook that was supposed to be traditional southern cakes. It was called Auntie Ann’s Apple Cake. I made it the first time for Thanksgiving and it became a tradition. It’s also a favorite at our church’s annual Cake Auction.

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 one-half cups vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups flour, divided
  • 1-teaspoon baking soda
  • 1-teaspoon salt
  • 1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups peeled, diced cooking apples (Granddaddy Wheatley always brings us a box of
    Gravenstein apples from Washington each fall. They make this cake very special. If I had to substitute a different apple, I would use Granny Smiths, but any good pie apple would do.)
    1 cup chopped pecans.
  • Combine sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat about 1 minute at medium speed with electric mixer. Combine 2-one-half cups flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon. Gradually add to the sugar mixture, beating at low speed until blended.

    Dredge apples and pecans in remaining one-half-cup flour, and then fold into the batter. Spoon the batter into a greased and floured 10″ tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center of cake comes clean.

    Remove from oven and cool IN THE PAN for 15 minutes. (Unless you want your cake to come out in chunks, do not skip this step!) Then turn cake out onto a plate and cool completely. Frost.

    Frosting for Aunt Donna’s Thanksgiving Caramel Apple Cake:

  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • one-half cup butter or margarine
  • 1/4-cup evaporated milk
  • Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cook over MEDIUM heat, stirring constantly, until it reaches the soft ball stage. Remove from heat. Beat by hand, with a spoon, for approximately five minutes until it reaches spreading consistency. (Don’t be afraid! This is not hard, but if you beat it too long, it will start to set up and you won’t be able to get it on the cake. If you don’t beat it long enough, it will run off. If uncertain, pour just a little over one side of the cake. It should flow nearly to the bottom of the cake, but not puddle into the plate too much.) Frost the cake by pouring it over the top and allowing it to slowly run down the sides, smoothing with a knife as needed.