Beyond Frosting » Recipes » Desserts » Cakes » Caramel Apple Poke Cake

Caramel Apple Poke Cake

This caramel apple poke cake is the coziest fall dessert. Tender brown sugar cake is swirled with cinnamon, soaked with caramel, and then topped with apple pie filling and whipped cream!

side view of a slice of apple cake with a bite taken out and another slice of cake in the background

Easy Caramel Apple Cake With Whipped Cream

While I have tons of apple recipes made with my incredible apple filling, I had the urge to make an apple cake. And I felt like if I was going to be an apple cake, I might as well go all out. Turns out, this Caramel Apple Poke Cake is exactly what I was hoping for.

It’s a brown sugar cake swirled with cinnamon streusel, soaked in caramel, and topped with warm apple pie filling and whipped cream. This apple cake is definitely rich, but if there’s one thing I’m known for it’s that my desserts tend to be over the top. And I am so okay with that! There is so much deliciousness going on here, I am quite certain you won’t be able to pick your favorite part.

Why You’ll Love This Apple Poke Cake Recipe

  • So easy. Poke cakes are some of my best desserts. And they’re so easy to make. This easy apple dessert uses a boxed white cake mix for extra convenience. Love!
  • Caramelized apple flavor. This poke cake is loaded with rich, caramelized flavors contrasted with sweet and tangy apple pie filling and the light, fluffy whipped topping. It’s totally impossible to resist.
  • Perfect for fall. If you remember sinking your teeth into sweet and gooey caramel apples as a kid, you’re going to love sinking your teeth into this caramel apple cake. It’s conjuring up all those fall flavors, minus the sticky fingers!
overhead of a slice of caramel apple cake with a bite on a fork

Key Ingredients

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you gather the ingredients for this delicious apple dessert recipe!

  • Apples – I like to use Granny Smith apples because their tart flavor pairs so well with the rich sweetness of the rest of the cake. Other great options are Honeycrisp, Fuji, or Macintosh.
  • Lemon Juice – helps prevent the apples from browning and gives the filling a touch of citrus flavor.
  • Sour Cream – sour cream is the secret to an ultra-moist cake. You can’t really taste it, but the texture of your cake will be perfect!
  • Homemade Whipped Cream – I include plain whipped cream, but this cake is also delicious topped with cinnamon maple whipped cream. Whatever sounds best to you!
  • Toffee- I love the crunch this adds to the cake and the toffee is the perfect compliment to the caramel and apple filling.

How to Make Caramel Apple Poke Cake

Like my apple pie tiramisu, apple pie lasagna, and many more of my apple recipes, this apple poke cake is made with a super simple apple filling. Just whip up the filling, throw together the cake batter, bake, and assemble.

For the Apple Filling

  1. Prep the apples: Slice the apples up into small pieces, then squeeze a lemon on top. Stir to combine.
  2. Cook the filling: In a saucepan, combine apples, brown sugar, flour, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Mix, then heat the apples until they’re soft and fork-tender, stirring occasionally. Set aside. If you find that it’s sticking to the pan, add water 1 tablespoon at a time.

For the Cake

  1. Make the batter: Mix cake mix with brown sugar, milk, oil, eggs, sour cream, caramel, and cinnamon. Stir until just combined, then pour half the cake mix into a baking dish. Spread evenly.
  2. Prep the streusel: In a microwave-safe bowl, mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add butter, then microwave until melted. Stir until combined.
  3. Assemble and bake: Sprinkle the streusel over the cake batter in the baking dish, swirl with a knife, then pour the remaining cake batter on top.
  4. Bake: Bake at 350ºF the cake until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes.

For the Filling

  1. Poke the hole: Use the handle end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the top of the cake.
  2. Add the filling: Pour the caramel sauce over the cake, then top it off with the apple pie filling.

For the Topping

  1. Make the whip: Chill a mixing bowl in the freezer, then add in the heavy whipping cream. Beat until soft peaks form, then slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  2. Garnish the cake: Sprinkle the cake with toffee and finish it off with a drizzle of caramel.
side view of a jar of apple filling

Tips and Notes

  • Peel the apples first. The peel can become tough and chewy when cooked. I recommend peeling your apples for the best texture.
  • Cut the apples similar in size. Cut your apples small and evenly in size so they cook through quickly and all at the same rate. They should be about the size of a dime.
  • Don’t over-mix the cake batter. Over-mixing will take any air out of the cake batter. The air is what helps make a light and fluffy texture. I recommend mixing only until just combined.
  • Use the handle end of a wooden spoon to poke holes all over the cake. It makes it super easy and creates holes of just the right size and shape.
  • Chill the bowl for the whip. The colder the bowl, the lighter and fluffier the whip will be.
a half eaten square of caramel apple poke cake on a white plate

Can Poke Cake Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes! In fact, poke cakes get better as they sit, so I would even recommend making it ahead of time and letting it sit in the fridge overnight before serving.

How to Store a Finished Cake

An assembled apple cake will last covered in the fridge for 3-4 days. Due to the nature of the ingredients, I do not recommend freezing this cake.

More Apple Desserts You’ll Love

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
side view of a slice of caramel apple cake on a plate garnished with toffee and caramel sauce

Caramel Apple Poke Cake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 1 review
  • Author: Julianne Dell
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 15 slices
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American


This caramel apple poke cake is a tender brown sugar cake swirled with cinnamon, soaked with caramel, and then topped with apple pie filling and whipped cream. It’s the coziest fall dessert!


For the Apple Pie Filling:

  • 3 Medium apples, sliced
  • 1/2 Lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp Maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp All-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

For the Cake:

  • 1 box White cake mix
  • ½ C Brown sugar
  • ¾ C Milk
  • ½ C Vegetable oil
  • 3 Large eggs
  • ½ C Sour cream
  • 2 tbsp Caramel
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon

For the Streusel:

  • 1/4 C Brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp Flour
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted butter

For the Toppings:

  • 1 jar Caramel Sauce 14 oz.
  • 1 ½ C Heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ C Powdered sugar


For the Apple Pie Filling:

  1. Slice apples into small pieces and squeeze a lemon over top and stir to combine.
  2. Add brown sugar, flour, maple syrup, and cinnamon over the top of the apples. Stir to mix ingredients.
  3. Heat apples on the stove over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until soft. Stir occasionally. You want the apples to be soft. Set aside and allow to cool, refrigerating if necessary.

For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Prepare the cake by combining the cake mix with brown sugar, milk, vegetable oil, eggs, sour cream, caramel, and cinnamon. Stir just until combined. Pour half the cake mix into the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch pan and spread evenly.
  3. Prepare the streusel by combing all dry ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl: brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Add butter and microwave for 30-60 seconds until butter is melted. Stir melted butter into dry ingredients. Sprinkle half the streusel mixture over the bottom of the pan and gently swirl with a knife. Pour the remaining cake batter on top and sprinkle with the remaining streusel.
  4. Bake the cake for 24-28 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done. Remove from oven and allow cooling for 10 minutes.

For the Filling

  1. While the cake is still warm, take the end of a wooden spoon or another round object and poke holes all over the top of your cake. Allow to cool for another 20 minutes.
  2. Pour the remaining jar of caramel sauce over the cake and top with apple pie filling.

For the Topping

  1. Prepare a batch of whipped cream. Chill the bowl in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Beat the heavy whipping cream in the chilled bowl at medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add the powdered sugar and continue beating at high speed until stiff peaks form. Set it aside. Sprinkle with toffee bits and drizzle with caramel if desired.

Filed Under:

Review and rate this post!

I love hearing from you! Submit your question or review here. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

8 thoughts on “Caramel Apple Poke Cake”

  1. Oh, thank you so much. I must apologize to you because I wasn’t thinking clearly! After receiving your reply I opened your website on Bing instead of AOL. It is AOL that for some reason messed up your ingredients by prefacing so many ingredients with A’s. It makes no sense to me. I will remember to open future recipes in Bing!! Your recipes are always delightful, I love your blog, your stories, and I enjoy reading about the camaraderie between all you creative bloggers.


  2. Could you please tell me what the A is for? Do the A’s represent 1, like in 1 1/2 = A 1/2? I am so dense, but I just can’t figure it out. Thank you. It sounds delicious!!

    1. Julianne - Beyond Frosting
      Beyond Frosting

      Hi Vickie! I apologize, I am not sure what you are referring so. I looked through the recipe but I don’t see any “A”.s

  3. I love that this starts with a cake mix! It looks like so much happiness in one place. And you’ve totally rocked it with ways to use apple pie filling this season!