Martina's Kitchen Mix Fresh Apple Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

by Cindi SutterChief Communicator & Editor of Spirited Table® - Excerpted from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from TI Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.

Our Spirited Table team continues to enjoy every minute of trying Martina McBride’s great southern twist to her creative recipes! Just search Martina, on this site, and you’ll find more recipes from this country music legend. Don’t miss her tip at the bottom of this page; Make extra Homemade Caramel Sauce for gifts!

Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce.jpg

I first served this on a crisp fall evening. We were eating outside and the air was just starting to get that chill that signals autumn has arrived. The comments that I heard after my family and dinner guests took the first couple of bites were: “This tastes like apple cider in cake form” and “No, it tastes just like a caramel apple” and “I think this tastes just like fall.” I like that the cake isn’t overly sweet, because the sauce is. So, if super-sweet is not your thing, you can leave off the caramel sauce. I drizzled, okay ladled, warm caramel sauce over the top and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream because…well, why not? But the next morning I had a piece of the cake sans sauce with my cup of coffee. On its own, it was light and equally delicious.   

Serves 16      Hands-on 30 minutes    Total 1 hour, 10 minutes, including sauce 


1⁄2 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

2 cups (about 2 apples) grated unpeeled Granny Smith apple 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1⁄2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1⁄2 tsp ground cloves

1⁄4 tsp kosher salt

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Homemade Caramel Sauce (page 261)

Whipped cream or ice cream (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. 

  2. Beat the butter with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy; gradually add the sugar, beating well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add the apple, beating just until blended.

  3. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; add to the butter mixture, and mix just until blended. Stir in the walnuts, if desired.

  4. Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes clean. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Serve with Homemade Caramel Sauce and, if desired, whipped cream or ice cream.


You can use most any kind of apple. Gala or Red Delicious work great too.

Homemade Caramel Sauce 

This sauce is so good and so easy you will never buy another jarred caramel sauce again. It’s delicious over ice cream, stirred into hot coffee, or drizzled on top of my Fresh Apple Cake (page 222). Keep it refrigerated up to one week after you make it. Just be sure to warm it up before serving..    

Makes 1 cup       Hands-on 10 minutes     Total 10 minutes 


1 cup packed light brown sugar

1⁄2 cup half-and-half

4 Tbsp butter

Pinch of kosher salt


  1. Cook the sugar, half-and-half, butter, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking slowly until thickened. Remove from the heat, and let cool slightly before serving. 


A jar of this sauce is a sweet hostess or housewarming gift. Attach a tag noting its many uses.