Easy Caramel Apple Dump Cake recipe, the best fall dessert with fresh apples, caramel, and a yellow cake mix. This simple dessert is kind of a cross between an apple pie, cobbler, and crisp all in one! Top it with ice cream or whipped cream and serve this easy dump cake at Thanksgiving, potlucks, or fall parties. It feeds a crowd!
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This Caramel Apple Dump Cake recipe is an oldie but goodie! I made this years ago, and have made every now and then since so figured it was time to update with additional info. It’s one of the BEST dump cakes ever partly because it uses FRESH apples and not the super sweet gooey canned apple pie filling. Don’t worry though it’s still quite simple to make with only 6 ingredients.
If you’ve never had a dump cake…
What is a Dump Cake?
Ever wonder what is a dump cake or how to make a dump cake?
If you’ve never made a dump cake before (although I’m hoping you all made my Pina Colada Dump Cake), they’re easy to make. Typically you just “dump” the ingredients in the pan and no mixing bowls or other pans are needed.
A recipe for dump cake generally has a layer of fruit or some type of filling on the bottom of the pan, topped with a cake mix, and melted butter. There are many variations though!
This particular dump cake uses fresh apples and forms a crumb topping with the cake mix. It’s kind of a cross between an apple pie, cobbler, and crisp.
As I mentioned this recipe used FRESH apples. Yes, there are lots of recipes out there for caramel apple dump cakes that use canned apple pie filling AND caramel. Talk about sugar overload. Whoah!
Fresh apples are a little more work, and don’t necessarily fit the traditional “dump cake” definition, but it’s so worth a little extra time for the perfect fresh apple dump cake. And with so many fresh apples available this time of year, it’s perfect.
I made this dump cake in the oven, I know some people like to use their slow cooker. I haven’t tried this particular recipe in a crockpot but think it would be ok.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Caramel Apple Dump Cake Ingredients
- Fresh apples – Use your favorite baking apple such as Granny Smith. Make sure the apples are chopped into very small cubes (like 1/2-inch) so they can bake through. You could also use an apple peeler, slicer, corer then chop up the slices.
- Caramel ice cream topping – If your caramel is too thick to spoon or pour, heat it up a little in the microwave or in a small pan before adding.
- Cinnamon – Or you could use apple pie spice or your favorite spice mix.
- Walnuts – Use your favorite nut or you could omit if you’re not a nut fan or have nut allergies. Pecans or even peanuts would work.
- Yellow cake mix – I think a yellow cake mix works best but you could also use a white cake mix or even a spice cake mix. Just be sure the size of the cake mix is about the same. Cake mixes without pudding also tend to work best from what others have said.
- Butter – I melted the butter, but you could also thinly slice the butter and place on top of the cake mix if you prefer. If your butter doesn’t cover the whole dry cake mix you can add a little more melted butter or mix a little milk in with the melted butter.
How to Make Caramel Apple Dump Cake
- PREHEAT. Preheat oven and spray 13×9 pan.
- ADD APPLES. Add apples, then caramel, then cinnamon, then walnuts to pan.
- ADD CAKE MIX. Sprinkle cake mix on top of filling. Drizzle melted butter on top.
- BAKE. Bake until golden brown. Store in refrigerator.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
- You can serve warm, at room temperature, or even cold. I personally like it warm.
- Serve as-is or top with ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, and/or toasted nuts.
- Serve with tea, coffee, or even an apple cider or apple cocktail (like this Apple Cider Sangria).
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Use a cake mix you like. You can use any flavor really such as a white, yellow, or spice cake mix.
- Use nuts you like such as pecans, walnuts, or even peanuts. If you have a nut allergy, you just omit the nuts with no problem. I didn’t chop the nuts to keep things simple, but you can if you don’t want large chunks of nuts.
- Some people seem to like a softer topping for this dump cake. You can use more melted butter on top if the cake mix still appears dry before baking. Or you can also mix a little milk or buttermilk in with your melted butter before drizzling over the top of the cake mix. Some people also prefer to slice the butter and put on top of the cake mix.
Caramel Apple Dump Cake FAQ
How should I store the apple dump cake?
You probably could store this dump cake covered on your countertop for a few days but I like to store it in the refrigerator to extend how long it will last.
Can I freeze the dump cake?
Yes! You can freeze the baked dump cake but I haven’t tried it personally so can’t say for sure how well it will do but think it would be fine.
How long will the dump cake last?
A few days on the counter or I’d guess a week in the refrigerator, or probably a few months in the freezer.
Instead of a yellow cake mix you could use a white cake mix or spice cake mix. Instead of cinnamon, you could use apple pie spice. Instead of walnuts, you could use pecans or even peanuts.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You could try a lower fat butter or butter substitute.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You could other fruit such as cranberries or chopped fresh pear. You could also add a little salt to the caramel for a salted caramel apple dump cake.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – Be sure to get a vegan-friendly cake mix and caramel. You could also try coconut oil or vegan butter substitute.
Vegetarian – It’s vegetarian.
Low-Carb – This recipe could be tough to make low carb, but for a lower carb version you could try a sugar-free cake mix and use a sugar-free caramel.
Gluten-Free – You can try a gluten-free cake mix but I haven’t tried so can’t say for sure how it will turn out.
Other Caramel Apple Recipes You May Enjoy
- Caramel Apple Bars (Snappy Gourmet) – A family favorite!
- Caramel Apple Cheesecaketini (Snappy Gourmet) – A fun fall dessert cocktail!
- Caramel Apple Butter Cupcakes (Snappy Gourmet) – A simple gourmet cupcake that is perfect for fall.
- Caramel Apple Mug Cobblers (Snappy Gourmet) – Make these cute individual apple cobblers right in mugs.
- Snickers Caramel Apple Salad (Spicy Southern Kitchen) – A fun dessert “salad” with apple, caramel, and Snickers.
- Caramel Apple Float (Lovely Little Kitchen) – Only a few ingredients in this simple dessert drink.
Caramel Apple Dump Cake Video
Here’s a quick video to see how easy this Caramel Apple Dump Cake recipe comes together…
Hope you enjoy this easy Caramel Apple Dump Cake! Be sure to check out my other fun and simple dump cake recipes!
Caramel Apple Dump Cake Recipe
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Pour apples into a single layer into prepared pan. Drizzle caramel on top of apples. Sprinkle cinnamon on top then spoon walnuts on top in even layer.
- Sprinkle cake mix on top so that apple mixture is completely covered. Drizzle melted butter on top. (Add more butter if necessary to cover all dry spots, see notes at bottom.)
- Bake dump cake at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cold. Store in refrigerator.
This post was originally published in September 2015, but updated in November 2020 with additional information.