"This cake is truly stellar!" No, those are not my own words of praise, but that of my 16-year old darling daughter upon cutting herself a little sliver. Like all parents, I'm prejudiced but gosh darn it, she's smart...especially when it comes to cake because this Caramel Apple Cake is not only stellar tasting, with it's wonderful combination of apples, spices and caramel, but stellar to make too--it comes together in just minutes without a lot of fuss, is perfectly seasonal and a guaranteed crowd pleaser, as several of my crowd can attest to. If the apple/caramel combo is your "thing", you are going to want to make this asap!!! And probably more than once!
Yesterday I shared this amazing recipe for Roasted Applesauce andit truly works wonders in this simple cake. Sure, you can make it with the store-bought variety and it'll be great (I've done that with terrific results), but it's totally-worth-the-effort more delicious if you make your own. Just sayin. Don't want to be pushy in the applesauce department--I know how busy life can be!! Just do your best--the cake is practically foolproof!!
Moist, full of cinnamon and apple goodness, the actual cake part is not too sweet and that works perfectly with the more decadent and luscious glaze of caramel icing that covers the top and sides. It comes together really easily too. My only word of advice is to make sure you strain your confectioners' sugar really well or you might wind up with little white bumps in your icing, like I did on this round. See what I mean? Tastes delicious but not as pretty as it could be!
In any case, it's impossible to resist! And why should you?
And while it may seem like Thanksgiving is ages away (especially here in the Northeast where the temps have regularly been ranging in the 70's!!) the reality is that it's only a few short hectic weeks until the start of the holiday season and this cake would be a great, easy-to-bake and easy to transport treat. Always planning ahead, people. But don't let that stop you from say, trying it tonight--this is too good and too easy to just keep for special occasions! Try it and let me know what you think.
Caramel Apple Cake
This works well in a 12-cup Bundt pan but you could definitely use other size cake pans--cooking times will vary though.
Prep Time: 10 minutes; Bake Time: 45-55 minutes, plus 10 minutes more for icing and then at least an hour to let it set up
For the cake
- Nonstick cooking spray with flour or butter and flour for greasing cake pan
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ cups this roasted applesauce or store-bought unsweetened applesauce
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the caramel icing
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cubed
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 - 1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted (don't skip the sifting or you'll wind up with lumps in the icing)
1. To make the cake: preheat oven to 350ºF and spray a 12-cup Bundt pan with the butter/flour spray or butter and flour the pan. Set aside.
2. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cinnamon into a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, use either a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to beat the eggs with the brown and regular sugars until light, for about 3 minutes. Then add in the applesauce, oil and vanilla and beat until smooth.
2. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the batter, just until combined, but thoroughly enough that no flour is visible. There may be lumps especially if you are using homemade applesauce but that is ok. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
3. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan on rack for 15 minutes, then invert cake onto rack and let cool for about 2 hours or until completely cool.
4. Place a piece of foil or a rimmed baking sheet under cake on the rack. Now you can make the icing: place all the ingredients except the confectioners sugar into a small saucepan and combine with a whisk. Cook over medium heat and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Let boil for 1 minute exactly and then remove from the heat.
5. Let cool in the pan for a minute or two and then gradually whisk in the sifted confectioners sugar until the icing is thick but pourable--you most likely will not need all of the sugar. Mix well until all lumps are gone, then pour quickly over the cake, letting it run down the sides. Let icing sit for about 1 hour to set up before serving.
6. Cake keeps well wrapped at room temperature for about 5 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from A New Way To Dinner by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. I left the teaspoon of ginger and ¼ teaspoon of allspice out of the dry mix 'cause we're not big fans.