An apple a day...wish it would take the heat away instead of the doctor. I'm trying to think fall even though Portland seems to be in an indian summer (that's not politically incorrect to say is it?) and it is very warm. A good friend at work has a birthday on Friday but is taking the day off so I'm baking him a cake for tomorrow. When I checked my list, one of his favorites is my famous apple cake. When people ask me for the recipe, it's "that apple cake". Like DBCC cookies, it has a long history and has been made many MANY times in my 6 years here. My favorite way is prepping all the ingredients the night before, putting the sensitve ingredients in the frig, gathering the ingredients the next morning into a one-bowl-mix-by-hand batter and baking it to serve warm for breakfast. I've occasionally noticed I can smell the warm apple cake on the bus and wonder how many people crave something for breakfast after they get off!
The original recipe uses a glaze but the woman who gave me the recipe on King Arthur's web site said she made some homemade caramel sauce instead. To be honest I've never made the glaze--I think I'd be lynched if I didn't bring the caramel sauce. If you've never made homemade caramel sauce, it's incredibly easy to make. Takes about 5 mins.
You start with water and white sugar (I've also made it with raw sugar--a little trickier since it's already brown in color so you have to watch to avoid burning it!) I add a dollop of corn syrup. That prevent sugar crystals from forming on the sides which drop down into the sauce and make it gritty or slow to caramelize. You can also add things like vanilla extract or a touch of lemon or even a smidge of coffee--whatever you might like to flavor the caramel with (other than caramel!)
It starts out clear
Starts to brown--this is the point where you can't leave it or it burns.
When it hits the right color, you add heavy cream
It bubbles up and the caramel turns into a big wad of solid candy--not to panic!
Let it warm up again and the caramel melts with the cream and you get this beautiful sauce
Magic - Smuckers eat your heart out!
I put mine in a squeeze bottle for easy dispensing
The cake is dense and rich with flavor but surprisingly low in fat. If you skip the caramel, the whole cake contains only 1/3 to 2/3 cup of oil. The original recipe called for 1 cup. PJ at King Arthur's modified that to 2/3 cup. I modified it more to 1/3 cup. A good earthy apple cider is increased from 1/3 cup to 2/3 cup to keep it moist and add more "apple" to the cake. You start out by dicing the apples and putting them into a bowl with some brown sugar. You let that sit for at least 45 mins. and the apples release their juice and you get this wonderful syrupy mixture to add to the dry and wet ingredients.
Makes my mouth water to look at all that apple-y goodness!
My cake turned out great. Because I lower the fat/oil it can be tricky if the pan isn't prepared well and will stick. Crisco has a new flour/oil spray that does a nice job of keeping things from sticking without a lot of grease and flour added. I didn't set it up for baking in the morning since I want to box it and it would get soggy. It will have a chance to cool overnight and be ready to box in the AM.
Apple Cake Extraordinare! (ask Merrick!!)