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"Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro shares his shortcut caramel apple cake made with store-bought cake mix, frosting and dulce de leche—the perfect dessert that looks impressive, but is quick and easy to make. "It feels very homey to me," says Buddy.
For the cake, preheat the oven according to cake mix instructions. Grease two 9-inch round pans.
Peel and cut 2 of the apples into cubes and set each aside in a separate small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Prepare the cake mix according to the instructions. Pour half of the batter into each prepared pan and top with the cubed apples (one apple per pan). Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the apples in each pan. Bake according to the cake mix instructions. Remove from the oven, allow cake layers to cool completely in the pans, then remove them from the pans by inverting onto plates or platters.
For the frosting, in a large bowl, mix together both containers of frosting with half of the dulce de leche using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment at medium speed. (If you're not using the frosting immediately, refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)
Fill a piping bag with the frosting. Frost the top of 1 cake layer. Cover it with the other cake layer and frost the tops and sides of the cake. Insert a stick into the center of the remaining apple (like you are making a caramel apple) and coat it with some dulce de leche. Decorate the cake with the remaining dulce de leche as desired, then place the apple on top of the cake with the stick in the air.