Thank You, Mr. Johnny


Caramel and Apples.

Whether it is in the form of a state fair caramel apple on a stick or in a dish, warm caramel sauce poured seductively over apple pie ice cream, or a slice of fresh apple pie baked with its own gooey caramel topping, these two food ingredients perfectly unite in taste flavor as if they were conjoining puzzle pieces.

There is an age-old question, “Which came first? The chicken or the egg?”  The style of that query can be applied to the apple/caramel duo. Miss NiNi alleges that the apple came before the caramel. Consumers have John Chapman to thank for that.

Dear Readers, the inquisitive side of you might be wondering, ‘Who is John Chapman?’

He is a Nineteenth Century pioneer nurseryman whose other name you might recognize–Johnny Appleseed.

Had it not been for Mr. Johnny’s passion and diligence to introduce apple trees in certain Eastern and Midwestern states, production of apples in America could have taken many other twists and turns.

And had it not been for Mr. Chapman, we might not be able to delight in the sweet or tart succulence of many of the known 7500 varieties of apples today.

Truly, this would have been our loss! After all, Dear Readers, how could we bid adieu to slowly descending temperatures of summer without this fruit that bites so snappily, chews so juicily, and very willingly avails itself in apple orchards near and far?

Then, along came sticky, creamy, golden brown, caramel that said to the apple, “We are a match made in Heaven!” And the rest was history!

Miss NiNi discovered a member of that “match made in Heaven” while perusing the website, A recipe for Caramel Apple Poke Cake jumped out at me with the request, ‘You’ve got to try me!’ And so, I did.

Dear Readers, the marriage of apple pie filling, caramel ice cream sauce or caramel dip, and sweetened condensed milk filled the baked cake’s poked holes seasonally and deliciously well.

One of the highlights of this poke cake was that the longer it sat in the refrigerator, the longer the flavors had to meld to produce an even more delectable caramel-apple flavor.

What was the down side of this recipe for Miss NiNi? Using a boxed cake mix! Miss NiNi just does not “deal” in boxed cake mixes! I’m a “from scratch” kind of gal. Knowing that I could substitute my favorite white cake recipe, I was still hooked on testing this recipe.

Here is an FYI, Dear Readers. I shared some of this dessert with seasoned citizens whose baking talents were definitely in the class of exceptionally talented. It was a double-thumbs up for them! Just ask Stan, Wilma, Calvin, Mary Ellen, and others.

Let the fragrance and flavor of caramel and apples beckon in your kitchen with this easy to prepare dessert. You won’t be disappointed!

Miss NiNi


adapted from


  • 1 box white cake mix plus the ingredients listed on the back of the box
  • 1, 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1, 20-ounce can apple pie filling (minus 2 T. to be used in whipped topping)
  • ½ c. caramel ice cream topping or caramel apple dip
  • 1 T. chocolate syrup ice cream topping (or more depending on your preference)

Whipped Topping


  • 1, 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 2 T. apple pie filling from 20-ounce can—preferably without apple pieces
  • ¼ c. caramel ice cream topping or caramel apple dip
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon


Prepare a 9 x 13-inch cake according to directions on the box. Once cake is cooled, use a wooden spoon to poke holes evenly throughout the cake, making about 25-30 holes. Pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over cake, trying to fill up holes. Combine apple pie filling, caramel topping/dip, and chocolate syrup in a medium size bowl. Microwave combined toppings for 15 seconds or until melted together and warm. Spread caramel apple topping evenly on top of cake, trying to get some in the holes.

Method for Whipped Topping:

Mix caramel ice cream topping/dip and 2 T. of apple pie filling into whipped topping container. Mix together until combined. Spread on top of cake. Sprinkle cinnamon on top of whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The longer the cake is refrigerated, the more intense the food flavors will be. It is best to refrigerate overnight before serving.

Yields: 12 pieces