This decadent apple praline cake has a surprise cream cheese filling. The flavors of cinnamon and apple meld together in a moist and flavorful cake. Perfect with or without the praline topping, this cake is the perfect dessert for the holiday season and is sure to have people coming back for seconds!
It’s been a while, hasn’t it, friends?! I know you all understand when I say that 2020 has been a doozy of a year. Life has just been...
crazy, insane, busy... let’s simply say it’s been quite the year. I’ve actually been quite busy in the kitchen lately. However, the theme of my recipes has been simple and easy. Take a pandemic, add a toddler into the mix, and throw working from home on top of that. What do you get? Super duper simple recipes. Are you on board with that? I hope so because that’s what I’ve got to share with you today!
Why this recipe works
This apple praline cake is incredibly moist, thanks to canola oil and the addition of apples and carrots in the batter. The cream cheese filling is a special surprise that adds a smooth and creamy texture to the inside of the cake. On top, the praline mixture adds a crunchy sweetness that isn't too cloying. Together, all of these pieces make this cake incredibly luscious with lots of varied textures and flavors.
Key ingredients and why we use them
- Sugar: Sugar obviously adds sweetness to this recipe. Granulated sugar adds a fairly neutral sweetness to this cake.
- Canola Oil: This cake recipe uses oil instead of butter. Oil, which remains liquid at room temperature, helps make this cake extra moist. You could easily substitute vegetable oil if that's what you have on hand.
- Flour: A basic building block that gives our cake its structure. Use your basic all-purpose flour in this recipe. Either bleached or unbleached will be fine.
- Eggs: Eggs are a multi-purpose player when it comes to baking. They add structure, leavening, color, and flavor! I always use large eggs when I'm baking.
- Apples: I like using tart apples best for this recipe. They add a subtle contrast to the sweet cake and enhance the flavor profile.
- Carrots: In this recipe, carrots add texture and moisture to our bundt cake.
- Pecans: Pecans have high-fat content and subtly sweet taste. They are great for baking. Their texture is almost buttery, and they are a complementary accent to this cake both in the batter and as a garnish.
Frequently asked questions
I love my Nordic Ware bundt pan—no affiliate partnerships involved here! Perhaps it's because I'm a Minnesota girl at heart, and the company is based in Minneapolis. However, I can say that their bakeware honestly is the best! The pans hold up over the years, and they have tons of fun designs. I used my classic bundt pan for this recipe, but I've used different designs in the past.
The entire recipe is below and can be printed to save for later. Before you get there, let’s walk through it step-by-step, so you understand what you’re doing beforehand.
1. Start by toasting your pecans and chopping them. Next, shred your carrots and peel and chop your apples.
2. In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients with a whisk. Then in a separate medium bowl, combine your wet ingredients. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the flour mixture.
3. Add your apple, carrots, and pecans to the batter and mix just until combined. Be careful not to over-mix your batter, as this will give your cake a tough and rubbery consistency.
4. Pour half of the bake batter into your prepared bundt pan. Then, top with your cream cheese mixture. Finally, pour the remaining batter on top and smooth with a spatula.
Heather's helpful hints
- One of the biggest problems you can have with a cake is over-mixing the batter. When you do this, you create too much gluten, and your cake can end up too tough. This is one reason it's a great idea to mix your dry ingredients first and then add the wet ingredients all at once. At the very end is when you want to add any last-minute additions!
- Picking the best apple for baking is a bit of a personal choice. I think the most important component is finding an apple that is firm enough to hold it’s shape because no one likes mushy apple desserts… ugh. Ideally, you want an apple with a mix of tartness and sweetness. All of this being said, conventional wisdom often recommends Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Honey Crisp for baking.
Related cake recipes
Did you make this recipe? First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try! Please leave us a rating above and leave any feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and what didn’t — with a recipe! Be sure to check out some of our other recipes linked below!
Apple Praline Cake
- fluted bunt pan (12 cup capacity)
Cream Cheese Filling
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg large
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- 1 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs large
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups apples peeled and chopped
- 1 cup carrots shredded
- ½ cup pecans toasted
- ½ cup brown sugar packed
- ¼ cup butter cubed
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- ½ cup confectioner's sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup pecans chopped and toasted
- Place a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 20 minutes before baking your bundt cake. Grease and flour your bunt pan and set aside.
- For the cream cheese filling, mix cream cheese and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add your egg to the mixture and stir until incorporated.
- In a large bowl, whisk sugar, oil, and eggs until combined. In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Slowly stir the flour mixture into the large bowl with sugar. Finally, incorporate apples, carrots, and pecans. Take care not to over-mix the batter at this point.
- Pour half of your cake batter into the pan. Add a layer of your cream cheese mixture. Then top with the remaining cake batter. Tap your pan a few times on the counter to remove any air bubbles and then smooth the top.
- Bake your cake for 50-60 minutes. To check for doneness, gently press down on the cake. If it bounces back completely, your cake is done! If your finger leaves an indent in the cake, it needs more time. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is cooling, make your icing. Bring brown sugar, butter, and milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir continuously for one minute. Remove the pan and immediately stir in the confectioner's sugar and vanilla until combined. Drizzle the cooled mixture over the cake and sprinkle with pecans.