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Cheater Caramel Apple Cake

I’m not ashamed to admit that in our house sometimes we cheat. Cheater cakes can be pretty awesome if you buy the right ingredients. It starts with boxed cake mix as the base but totally taste homemade. The key is to buy organic cake mix that doesn’t contain all that partially hydrogenated oil and in this case we also bought really good pudding mix.

Besides, who can resist a spice cake filled with chunks of apples and smothered in homemade caramel sauce?  Not me. not my kid. We brought this cake to my friend Susan’s house for the holiday (Rosh Hashanah). Susan, did you think I hadn’t noticed that you gave me back the cake platter without any leftovers on it? I saw those few last slices on your counter. We’ll take that as a compliment. Betcha didn’t know it was a cheater cake! Now for the recipe…

Cheater Caramel Apple Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 10 mins  Cooking Time: 1 hour (plus 10 minutes for sauce)

Cake Ingredients:
1 package vanilla cake mix
1 pkg. vanilla pudding
1 cup applesauce
4 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple pie spice
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, coarsely chopped

Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray or grease and flour it. Using an electric mixer, beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, applesauce, eggs, oil, cinnamon, and apple pie spice until blended. Gently stir in apples. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce put sugars and water in a heavy bottom saucepan over high heat. Stir with a wooden spoon to combine, once it starts boiling stop stirring and let it thicken. Watch it very carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. Test a few times with your spoon to see if it has thickened by pulling the spoon up from the bottom of the pan. If it is stringy, it is thickening. Once this happens, immediately turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Then slowly add the cream continuing to stir. Transfer to a ceramic or glass container and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Caramel sauce will thicken as it cools. Drizzle caramel sauce over each slice of cake.

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