Grandma’s Apple Cake with Caramel Rum Sauce

You know a dessert’s good when someone licks their plate (and it wasn’t me…I knew there was more in the kitchen.) That dessert is my Grandma’s Apple Cake with Rum Sauce – one of my favorites when I was a child.

My Grandmother's Apple Cake with Rum Sauce - on my Great Grandmother's Wedding Plates

My Grandmother’s Apple Cake with Rum Sauce – on my Great Grandmother’s Wedding Plates

This cake might be kind of a Midwestern thing. A lot of people I know have never heard of it or had it, but I remember eating it at school lunches, funerals and other events. I found the card in Grandma’s recipe box after she passed, rest her soul.

The top is a little browned and crunchy, the inside moist, dense, a bit chewy and a bit cake-like, all at the same time. The beautiful sauce envelops this somewhat homely concoction…some of soaks in the top as the rest pools around it on the plate.

If you’d like, you can bake this cake just a bit less and it will be lighter in color and fluffy. It all comes down to personal preference.

Apple Cake isn’t meant to be served on its own…the simple, caramelly Rum Sauce (Go Grandma!) is a requirement, not an option! Take it over the top by serving it with a barely sweetened (maybe with a little brandy in it) whipped cream.

Apple Cake with Rum Sauce

  • Servings: 15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening or 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 5 cups apple, peeled and finely diced, about five average

Cream sugar and shortening or butter, add eggs one at a time. Mix dry ingredients and whisk together; add to sugar mixture and mix. Mix in apples by hand. This will look thick and strange – it’s ok, just forge ahead. You’ll think I forgot the liquid in this recipe, but as the apples are mixed in, the juices moisten the cake.

Spread in a 9 x 13 pan, bake at 350 degrees for one hour. The top should look dried and a little darkened in places. Test by pressing lightly on the top of the cake, when the indentation comes back up, the cake is done.

Notes:  This batter is really thick and you will have to spread it into the pan – you haven’t made a mistake!  This is the perfect recipe to use an apple/corer/slicer.

Rum Sauce, makes about 1 1/2 cups

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon rum

Mix ingredients in saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer 2 – 3 minutes until slightly thickened. It will thicken more as it cools, and it should be loose. If it is cooked too long and thickened more than it should be, you’ll likely find it cloying. It can be flavored with other flavors instead of rum.

from Grandma Irene


Cake Per Serving: 257 Calories; 8g Fat (26.9% calories from fat); 3g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 28mg Cholesterol; 320mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fruit; 1 1/2 Fat; 2 Other Carbohydrates.


For Sauce, Per Serving: 118 Calories; 8g Fat (60.6% calories from fat); trace Protein; 12g Carbohydrate; 0g Dietary Fiber; 24mg Cholesterol; 67mg Sodium.  Exchanges: 1 1/2 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.
apple & potato peeler

apple & potato peeler

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • Serve this with ice cream or whipping cream, with the sauce or without.
  • This would be good with about 3/4 cup of toasted walnuts in the recipe.
  • Flavor the sauce with vanilla or even orange – or almost any type of liquor that might go with the flavor of the apples.
  • Make it with pears! Why have I never thought of that before…I think I’d cut back the cinnamon to a teaspoon and use almond in the caramel, and almond if I used a nut in the cake.
  • Using a bit of sea salt sprinkled over the caramel gives it a special feel and a bit of a modern touch.

My Pay Off:

A dessert that certainly looks homey but packs a whole lot of flavor punch. Seriously, people go nuts over this dessert. The best part is they look a little skeptical at first – then you get to watch their face light up when they taste it. Then they start making the little happy food noises…It’s cake – it has calories, but not as much as some, and it does have a wee bit of fruit: 1/2 serving per slice.

Apple Cake with Rum Sauce made Fall 2011; repriced in 2014 for nearly a buck and a half less…around $3.59.


7 thoughts on “Grandma’s Apple Cake with Caramel Rum Sauce

  1. Oh.My.Goodness! I have recently discovered the beauty of dark rum & I love baking with it [made rum & vanilla cupcakes yesterday!]. I am soooo Pinning this – will make next time apples are really cheap.

    • This is really an old-fashioned family favorite! I actually have apples on the table to make again – and I think I’ll try to take a better picture…I hope you’ll make it and let me know what you think!

      The rum in the sauce is amazing, especially since it’s combined with caramel. It’s not overwhelming at all, just a hint that leaves a subtle flavor. Will I sound strange if I say it’s “satisfying” or “warm?” It’s like coming home on a dark, drizzly evening and seeing the lights in the window and knowing everything inside is warm and cozy.

      I hope you’ll post your cupcakes – they sound very interesting and I bet the rum makes plain old vanilla just sing.

  2. Pingback: Four Of The Basic Ingredients In The Devil’s Kitchen :: In The Devil's Kitchen

Hearing from you makes my day! Comment below.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.