January 9, 2012

Caramel Apple Cake

I love to cook and especially bake, but I tend to fall back on the same recipes that I know from memory or know will be winners with my family.  For 2012 I'm making a commitment (note how I avoid the word resolution) to try a new recipe every week and share the results here to help keep me motivated.

You can just see the pecans through the caramel glaze on top
My first new recipe was a Caramel Apple Cake recipe I adapted from a recipe I found on Pinterest.  Here is the link to the original: http://lickthebowlgood.blogspot.com/2010/09/caramelly-appley-delicious.html
I made two cakes last week, one for me and Kevin, and then one for a girls brunch, so got to play with the recipe a bit.  I increased the apple, chose to grate it (personal preference - I think it gives you more apple flavor per bite), and added raisins.  When I made it in the smaller dish it was too thick and got dried out as it baked.  It's pretty enough and moist enough you could skip the glaze, or dust it with powdered sugar in a time crunch or if you wanted something to freeze (also skip the powdered sugar if freezing).  We definitely enjoyed it and I hope you will too.
All my ingredients and equipment
Apple Cake:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 5 apples, peeled and grated - any kind you have on hand, I used a mix
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 cup pecans chopped 
Brown Sugar Glaze:
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5 tablespoons heavy (whipping) cream

Out of the oven - before glaze
 For the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an   9x13-inch pan and set aside.
 In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt   and cinnamon.  
 In a large bowl, mix the eggs until light in color and foamy  (2- 3 minutes with an electric mixer). 
 Add the oil and vanilla and beat well.
 With a spoon stir in the apples, raisins, and flour mixture and  stir until just combined. 
 Pour batter into prepared pan, top with pecans and bake for  30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes  out clean.  By placing the pecans on top they toast while the  cake cooks saving the extra step of toasting the pecans and  then mixing them into the cake batter (plus they look pretty on  top).
 As soon as the cake comes out of the oven prepare the glaze.  

For the glaze: Combine all the ingredients into a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Cook for 5 minutes.
Spoon the hot glaze over the still hot-from-the-oven cake. Let the glazed cake cool completely before serving.  

  • Depending on the flavor you want to bring out, you could try substituting maple extract for the vanilla
  • Substitute pumpkin pie spice for cinnamon for a more complex spice flavor
  • Kevin has suggested a cream cheese frosting as an alternate to the caramel

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