Monday, November 9, 2015

Caramel Apple Cake

If you like the idea of caramel apples but get overwhelmed by the apples, this is the cake for you. If you like desserts with plenty of butter, sugar, and happiness, this is the cake for you. If you like desserts that typify everything that is good about autumn and life itself, this is the cake for you.

Apple Carnage

This seasonal beauty comes from the King Arthur Flour website, which has yet to lead me astray. There are a few steps involved in the assembly, but none are difficult, and each is well worth it. This cake is moist, intensely apple-flavored, and pleasantly spiced. It’s warm and autumnal and crowd-pleasing.

Deceptively Unattractive
From Drab to Fab 
I must warn you that should you decide to disregard the recipe’s advice to use a deep cake pan, you will have batter and caramel ooze out and burn on your oven floor. I saved myself the second time around by putting a sheet of tin foil underneath the cake while it was baking. To be honest, though, I rather like that it overflows a bit. I’m always left with deeply browned, extra-caramelized bits that I have to cut off to get the cake out of the pan. I took a plate of these crispy-licious bites around my apartment, and my roommates and I devoured them greedily. They make a nice appetizer while you’re waiting for the cake to cool.

Fun Fact: Cake is good for the soul. Also, it increases your levels of friendship, which is definitely health promoting.

Caramel Apple Cake

Not really adapted at all from

2 small apples, peeled and sliced between 1/8-1/4 inch thick*
4 Tablespoons butter
¾ cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup light corn syrup

¾ cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 Tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour**
1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped
(The original recipe includes ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans, which would definitely cut the sweetness. However, I have a childlike palate and don’t want to cut the sweetness.)

Preheat the oven to 325-350 degrees F. (I have only baked this in Utah, and 350 seemed excessive for my particular oven. I usually preheat to 350 and then turn down to 325 or even a little lower once I put the cake in. Peek at the cake after about 10 minutes to see how quickly it’s browning.) Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan that is at least 2-inches deep (see commentary above). Cut a circle of parchment to line the bottom of the pan, and grease that as well.

To make the topping:
Place the butter through corn syrup in a saucepan, and heat over medium flame, stirring occasionally until the brown sugar is dissolved. It’s okay if it reaches a gentle simmer.

Place the sliced apples in a ring around the bottom of the pan, overlapping each other. Place a few extra slices in the center so it isn’t lonely.

Pour ½ cup of the caramel over the sliced apples, and set the remaining caramel aside.

To make the cake:
Beat the oil, brown sugar, juice concentrate, spices, and salt at medium speed for about 2 minutes. (You can do this by hand easily enough too.) Mix the flour and baking soda together separately, and then stir into the batter a bit at a time. Finally, stir the chopped apples into the cake batter.

Drop the batter in large spoonfuls over the apple topping, and spread smooth. Bake for 50-55 minutes until a fork or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for five minutes in the pan. Then, run a knife around the edge, and invert onto a plate.

Reheat the reserved caramel sauce, and boil for 30-60 seconds to thicken, if desired. Keep in mind that it will thicken as it cools. Pour desired amount of caramel over the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides. I usually have extra caramel, but you could definitely use all if wanted.

*You can really use any variety that you like. I’ve tried both Red Delicious and Fuji.

**I may or may not have accidentally left out ½ cup flour the last time I made this. I admit nothing, except that this cake has been delicious every time. Good thing it’s hard to mess up.


  1. I think I may have to increase my levels of friendship. Today, if possible. ;)