Friday, September 30, 2011

Caramel Apple Cake {Recipe}

It's fall. To me, that means two things: pumpkins and apples. Pumpkin cakes will be coming soon... don't worry. For now, it's all about the apple. Caramel Apples.

What You Need
For the Cake:
10 Tbsp. unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 3/4 cups packed light-brown sugar (divided)
4 medium apples, peeled (two grated, one diced, one thinly sliced)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
3- 6" round cake pans (or 2 8" rounds)
parchment paper (cut to fit the bottom of your cake pan)

One Recipe Rich Caramel Icing
Remaining Caramel Sauce for drizzling

Make the Cake:
Grease or butter three six-inch cake pans. (I prefer to use Wilton's Cake Release or Pam for Baking spray.)

Place a 6" round of parchment (not waxed!) paper in the bottom of each pan. (I trace the bottom of the pan on my parchment, then cut around inside of the mark to make sure there's no ink on my pan or my cake.)

To Prepare the Apples
Peel all four apples. Slice one thinly like you see above.

Dice one apple into about 1/4-1/2 inch pieces. And grate two apples using a coarse grater. (You need to be sure you have everything else ready because the grated apples, especially, brown really fast!)

To Make Apple "Filling"
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a small dish or measuring cup. Pour half into the bottom of each of two pans. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp. brown sugar over butter.

Arrange sliced apple in a round over the butter/sugar mixture.

To Make the Cake
Combine 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. salt in a medium-sized bowl. Use a whisk to mix them together well.

Cream together 1 stick (1/2 cup) room temperature butter and 1 1/2 cups brown sugar. (Mix at medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes)

Add eggs and vanilla and mix again on medium-low speed for about one to two minutes until well-combined and "frothy."

Add the grated apples.

Add the flour mixture.

Add the diced apples. Mix about 1 minute on medium-low speed until the batter is combined. It will be thicker than traditional cake batter because all of the juice from those apples will come out during baking. Yum!

Divide the batter between the three pans. I found that I had about 1 heaping cup in each pan.

Because the batter is thick you need to spread it in the pan. Be careful when spreading over those sliced apples because it will move them around a little.

Bake them in a 350-degree oven for about 25-30 minutes. (I overbaked mine a little, so be careful. They will be a dark brown when they come out of the oven, but use a toothpick or a cake tester to check if they're ready. If just a few crumbs come out... it's ready.)

Remove them from the oven to a cooling grid for 5-10 minutes. (If you cool them on the counter, the bottoms will get gummy and stick.)

After 5-10 minutes, flip the cakes over onto a cooling grid. If you have two, I like to sandwich the pans between the two. It's easier for me to flip them this way.

Then, remove the pans and the parchment, and let the cakes cool completely.

Make the Icing:

Click the link for the recipe for Caramel Buttercream Icing.

Assemble the Cake:
Place one of the cakes with apples on top on a cake board or serving plate, apple-side-up.

Spread about 1/4 cup of icing on the top. (You could also leave this icing off, if you want.)

Repeat with the other apple-topped layer. If you wanted, you could even make the appley layer your top layer, and just ice the sides of the cake, because these apples are so pretty on top, but that's your call.

If you so choose, add the final layer.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with rich caramel icing.

To get the "roughly iced" look, use your spatula and make a little "flicking" motion, being careful not to get too close to the cake. You will need a little thicker layer of icing to achieve a clean look here.

I finished it off by adding the caramel sauce drizzle. I placed the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce (from my icing) in a zip top bag. I cut the tiniest corner off-- that's why I took this picture, to show you how small of a bit I cut off of the corner.

I squeezed the bag over the entire cake and cake plate, turning the plate 1/4 turn to do the drizzle in both directions across the cake.

You can also drizzle some sauce over each slice of cake, as well. Enjoy!

Click the Links Below to See:
Caramel Buttercream Icing
Caramel Apple Cupcakes
Back-to-School Apple Cupcakes

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