{recipe} Why I Put $20 Worth of Caramels Inside a Cake and Why You Should Too (Million Dollar Caramel Apple Crumb Cake)

I recently came across a recipe for a cake that called for putting chopped up Kraft caramel candies in the batter. My first thought: BRILLIANT idea. My second though: Needs better caramels and a better recipe.

And so it was born: the Million Dollar Caramel Apple Crumb Cake.

I happen to live just a few blocks from a very fancy grocery store, which is where I first discovered, fell in love with, married, and had children with Sweet Revolution Maple Honey Caramels. OK so really just the first two but if you could marry a candy confection this one would have my grandmother’s heirloom ring. A box of 12 caramels will set you back a whopping $19.99. That means each caramel costs $1.6658333333. That’s a lot of money for one caramel.

Other things you can buy for roughly $1.6658333333 include:

I could go on, but I was getting bored of googling “what costs $1.66?”. Moving on, let’s look at the economics of these particular caramels. First, out of 12 in the box, I ate one, saved one for (not much) later, and used ten for the recipe. So now we’re down to $16. (I’m rounding.) Next, look at the packaging. The thrice-tied string and the wax seal is worth at least 3 bucks to me. Down to $13.

Now notice they are individually wrapped. At 25 cents per caramel for the wrapping fee, that’s another 3 bucks off- down to $10. All of the packaging is compostable, so I’m giving them another $2 for thinking about the environment. Organic gets them 2 more bucks.

Now notice they are delicious and I would probably kill you to get my hands on a box. So, let’s see, carry the 1, and there you go, the math totally works out. Maybe at this point you are wondering if I work for Sweet Revolution. I do not. If I did, then my butt would be even bigger than it is now. Also, my dental bills would be through the roof. As well, I would imagine I would be getting some kind of employee or at least bulk discount and then we wouldn’t be analyzing the costs here.

As I was just coming to terms with my wanton spending, and putting the cake into the oven, I heard a knock on the door. I was rather chagrined to see it was my $60 French tea delivery. Not the best timing, UPS guy! Also, what is wrong with me?? (But seriously,it’s great tea, and hey, it ends up being cheaper than if you went to a cafe, and, I mean if you MUST try it then I highly recommend the Casablanca and the Eros. You know, to go with your expensive homemade cake.)

Do you see that dark hole on the bottom left? That is one of several caramel channels. That’s what you’re looking for. They give you something to look forward to, something to cherish, really, something to live for.

In closing: this is one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. If I were rich I would buy Sweet Revolution so they could make caramels just for me personally and teach my helper monkey to make this cake for me every day. (Actually I should probably keep helper monkeys out of the kitchen, because they’re hairy.) Luckily this cake is so easy to make that even my future billionaire self should be able to find time to make it. So just bite the bullet and buy the damn caramels, put them in your cake, and you’ll see what I mean. Totally 100% worth it.

I’m making it Christmas morning.

Notes: If you don’t have almond meal and/or whole wheat pastry flour, you can substitute white flour for those. I don’t recommend substituting regular whole wheat flour for the whole wheat pastry flour, as that might make it tough. I served it for dessert but I also ate it for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. So sue me.

Million Dollar Caramel Apple Crumb Cake

makes 1 pretty tall 9-inch cake


  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • large pinch salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tblsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 small tart apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 10 caramels, cut into fourths
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 tsp coarse salt


  • Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. (Don’t be shy with the spray- caramel is sticky!)
  • Mix flours, almond meal, sugar, baking powder, large pinch of salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl with a wooden spoon.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk milk, egg, maple syrup, and vanilla together. Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.
  • Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix with the wooden spoon just to combine. Add the apples and caramel pieces, making sure the caramels are not all stuck together.
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Make the topping: Using your hands or a pastry blender, combine oats, brown sugar, small pieces of butter, and salt in a bowl until the butter is about the size of lentils (some pieces can be flat and resemble the size and shape of  a cornflake.) Sprinkle evenly over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (assuming you didn’t hit a caramel mother lode!)
  • Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

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4 Responses

  1. Peggy says:

    Well you definitely took this cake to another level, now didn’t you! You had me drooling during the whole post and now i want some of those caramels… especially in the form of this cake!

  2. Jessica says:

    That caramel looks so nice, I want it so bad. I will definitely give it a try.

  1. December 8, 2010

    […] going to try using the end cuts of the toffee as the caramels in the Million Dollar Caramel Apple Cake, which I plan to make for Christmas morning. I’ve learned my lesson about using a tried and […]