Caramel Apple Cakes

In our newlywed days in Alaska, we lived high on a hill overlooking The University of Alaska campus.  We had three or four acres; I don’t remember which.  We were really into gardens.  We tilled peat into the soil to make it rich and dark and in the long daylight hours, vegetables like broccoli, peas, and potatoes grew like crazy.  Warm weather crops like beans and squash were more challenging but doable.

Merri Ann ground wheat and made homemade bread.  I baked and put potatoes, carrots, and squash by for winter.

I remember baking a lumpy apple cake loaded with lots of apple chunks and walnuts and drizzled with a caramel sauce.  It was fantastic.

I’ve long since lost the recipe but was in the mood last week to recreate it.  The closest thing I could find on our website was a mini bundt cake recipe.  It would have to do.

I never did get that exact same cake, at least as I see it my mind, but we did make a couple cakes that were very, very good.  The first is so dense and rich that it’s almost like a pudding or steamed cake.  We served it with caramel sauce and caramel whipped cream.  The second was an apple upside down cake.  We think you will enjoy both.

Caramel Apple Cake

We baked this in a 9-inch springform pan, our Candy Apple Red Silicone Springform Pan.    The caramel sauce is fairly thin, enough so that it soaks into the cake leaving almost a glaze on the surface.  You could make a thicker sauce but I like it this way.  Folks in the store loved it.

3 tablespoons butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 3/4 cups diced, pared apples
1/4 cups walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Grease the bottom of a nine-inch springform pan.  Set aside.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well.
  3. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in another bowl.
  4. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients to the dry.  Mix together.
  5. Add the apples and nuts to the batter.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until top springs back when touched.  Cool 5 minutes before removing the ring from the pan.
  6. Top with the caramel sauce.  The recipe follows.

For the caramel sauce:

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup cream or evaporated milk
1/2 vanilla

  1. Blend brown sugar, butter and cream together in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat until it boils and thickens, stirring frequently.  With a cup of water and pastry brush water onto the sides of the pan a couple times to wash any undissolved sugar crystals into the sauce.
  2. Add the vanilla.

Slowly pour the warm sauce over the warm cake letting the sauce soak into the cake.

Serve with caramel whipped cream.  To make caramel whipped cream, prepare as for other whipped cream but substitute brown sugar for the granulated sugar and caramel flavoring for the vanilla.  Caramel Whipped Cream packets are available in our store.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake 

This is a good cake.  Kelli, who baked it in our test kitchen, insisted that it was perfect.  I pictured a round cake with the caramel sauce drizzling down the sides.  This is a rectangular cake.  We tried it again using an 11-inch skillet for a baking pan; it overflowed.  So unless you happen to have a 12-inch nonstick skillet, it’s a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2 1/3 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced (about 2 large apples)
1 Vanilla Bean Baby Cake Mix
1 teaspoon cinnamon (preferably Vietnamese)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  1. Cook the butter, whipping cream and brown sugar over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Pour the sugar mixture into a 13 x9-inch pan. Arrange the pecans and sliced apples over the sugar mixture.
  2. Mix the cake mix according to package directions adding the cinnamon.  Spoon the batter over the apple mixture.
  3. Bake for 28 minutes or until done.  Cool in the pan 5 minutes. Loosen sides of cake from pan. Place cutting board or platter upside-down on pan.  Grasping the two together, turn the cutting board or serving platter and the pan over together.  Carefully turn the platter and pan over.  Let the pan sit upside down for about one minute so the caramel can drizzle over the cake and then remove the pan.

Serve with caramel whipped cream.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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