Desserts, Holidays
comment 1

Thanksgiving Dessert: Della’s Caramel Soaked Apple and Walnut Cake

While searching for inspiration and a fix for my sweet tooth, I dug through my recipe box and found a card I’d scribbled on years ago when I had my first panic attack.

Caramel Soaked Apple and Walnut Cake//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

At the age of 16, out of the blue, it occurred to me that if our house were to ever burn down, my mother’s recipe box and all the familial culinary lore kept inside would be lost to the embers.  I spent that summer break watching soap operas on rainy days and copying over recipes of significance onto new cards for my own box.  Never mind the fact that a scanner printer was 20 feet from me at the time.

I now held the same card in my hand for Della’s Apple Cake.  I’d never eaten this cake before but I knew Della.  She’s my great grand aunt and at the time I hadn’t seen her since I was six years old but I grew up hearing her name with the words “amazing” and “cake” along with phrases like, “Boy, can she cook!”

Caramel Soaked Apple and Walnut Cake//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

With the bite of crisp fall air outside and a refrigerator full of apples, I decided it was time to “visit” Della in my kitchen.  What resulted was a pan of a time-tested apple goodness.  There’s really something about eating a dish that you know family members before you have enjoyed for decades.

To me, this cake represents a great way to pay homage to the apple and the South.

Today, I’m thankful for preservation of the past, handwritten recipe cards, and a Southern woman we all call Della.

Caramel Soaked Apple and Walnut Cake//Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

I was lucky to visit Della this past summer and if you’d like to read more about our visit, click here.

Della’s Caramel Soaked Apple and Walnut Cake

One 9x13 pan


  • Cake:
  • 1-3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 c. chopped apples
  • 1 c. chopped nuts
  • Caramel Syrup:
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. corn syrup
  • 1/2 stick butter (4 tbsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla


  1. To make the cake: Beat the sugar and eggs together well. Add the oil and mix until creamy. Add in the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Fold in the chopped apples and nuts. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 325° for 45-55 minutes.
  2. To make the syrup: While the cake is baking, put all syrup ingredients (sugar through vanilla) in a large saucepan. Boil until soft ball state (240°).
  3. When the cake is done baking, poke the surface with a knife or skewer to make small holes all over the cake. Pour the syrup over the warm cake and allow to cool.

Filed under: Desserts, Holidays


Writer of recipes. Storyteller with a food twist. Sarcasm/humor served on the side.

1 Comment

  1. Sounds very similar to something I did in college, only I couldn’t be bothered to handwrite the recipes, so I created the world’s longest Word doc instead. Thankfully that old Word version is still readable on my current computer. p.s. I’m reminded of how much younger you are hearing that scanner printers existed when you were 16 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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