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Spiced Caramel Apple Cake #SundayFunday

 

Thanks to Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm for coordinating this low-stress group. This week, I am hosting the group. While Monday - October 31st - is Halloween, it is also National Caramel Apple Day. 

I am excited to be hosting this week and can't wait to try these other creations... 

 
Caramel + Apples

I don't know if it's because there's a fruit in there, but it always felt like a slightly healthier treat than others. I know it's not. 

Regardless, I have always like the tartness of apples mixed with the sweet - and sometimes salty - of caramel. One year I made these, photographed above, Diminutive Caramel Apples with a ginger-kissed homemade caramel. I've shared Hot Caramel Apple Cider boosting the flavors with apple syrup and premade caramel. 


Though the company has since gone out of business (darn you, COVID!), I used the caramel apple kit from Chocoley for a fun caramel apple party with kids.


But when I made an Apple Cake with Sage Caramel, I realized how much I adore the combination of caramel and apple in cake form! 

Spiced Caramel Apple Cake 

And while I do love homemade caramel. sometimes it's easier to just buy it. For this cake, I used a pourable caramel and a thicker jarred dulce de leche in the buttercream.

Ingredients

Cake
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup organic dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar 
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chunky applesauce
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground all-spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1-inch knob fresh ginger, grated
Buttercream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon organic corn syrup
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 1 Tablespoon organic vanilla paste (you can use extract, but I like the look of the vanilla beans in the buttercream)
For Serving
  • 2 peeled, diced apples
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon cane sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla paste
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons dulce de leche or other spreadable caramel
  • caramel sauce for drizzling

Procedure
Cake
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 9-inch round baking pans by buttering them and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and spices. 

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and honey until lightened and fluffy. Add in the eggs and beat again. Stir in the applesauce.

Fold the dry ingredients into the applesauce mixture to form a thick batter. Spoon the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely before assembling.


Buttercream
Place egg yolks in a mixing bowl and beat on high until they are thick, pale, and ribbon off the whisks.

Combine water, sugar, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. You can attach a candy thermometer to the side; I just kept testing until it reached soft-ball stage. If you're using a thermometer, heat until it reaches 238 degrees F. For testing otherwise, dip a spoon into the syrup, then into ice cold water. The syrup should immediately set up into a soft ball. Mine took about 8 minutes to reach the correct consistency.

Once the syrup is ready, remove it from the heat. While one hand hold the mixer, use the other hand to pour the syrup into the yolks. When all of the syrup is added, turn the mixer up to high and beat until the yolks have doubled in size and have reached medium peak stage. The bowl should be cooled and just lukewarm to the touch. Mine took about 9 minutes.

Begin adding butter, one tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. The more butter you add, the more firm the buttercream will be. Once your buttercream resembles what you think of as buttercream, add in the vanilla paste and beat until well-combined.  


For Serving
Melt butter in a pan and add in the diced apples. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cook until the apples are softened. Add water if the apples seem too dry.


Once the cake layers have cooled completely, use a serrated knife to cut the layers flat. Spread a generous amount of buttercream and two dollops of softened caramel between the layers and place them on your serving platter.


Smooth the buttercream over the top and along the sides. Refrigerate to let the buttercream harden.


When ready to serve, drizzle with caramel sauce and top with apples.


That's a wrap for my National Caramel Apple Day offering. The #SundayFunday group will be back next week sharing recipes that use millet. Stay tuned.

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