BAKED SUNDAY MORNINGS: CARAMEL APPLE CAKE
I am so glad to learn that the site for the Baked Sunday Mornings baking group has been updated. I always want to feature recipes that, even if they are not my own, are still accessible to everyone. This scrumptious apple cake can, however, be found in the book, Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
What initially seemed unusual to me about this cake is the frosting. Because it contains flour!
Overall, this is really a good apple cake. The cake itself is moist and flavorful and one that I am likely to use again, especially in cupcakes. And the caramel buttercream frosting is tasty. But I don’t think it’s worth the cooking process to get rid of the flour taste, even if it was meant to thicken the frosting. The recipe called for us to use the paddle attachment on our mixers for the frosting. But I ended up swapping out for the whisk….just to get more air and volume into the buttercream. I didn’t think the frosting had enough of a caramel flavor, yet I was reluctant to add more than the 1/3 cup it called for because I was afraid it would affect the texture of the buttercream. So I decided to spread a thin layer of caramel on the cake layers before I frosted it.
All in all the cake is good and the frosting is lightly sweet. But if I make this again, I will develop my own recipe for caramel buttercream……and leave the flour for the cake batter!
On a scale of 1-5…..I’m giving this 4 whisks! And since the recipe did not make it to the site’s recipe page, it will follow here. . . . .
Yields: one 8 inch, 3 layer cake
Level of Difficulty: easy
- 4 cups of all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
- 3 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch cubes, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups of sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups of homemade applesauce or store bought unsweetened applesauce
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Butter 3, 8 inch round cake pans. Also line the bottoms with parchment paper and butter and lightly flour the parchment.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together in a large bowl and set it aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, for about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes more. Then add the egg and beat until it is all combined.
Beginning and ending with the flour mixture, add it to the mixing bowl in 3 additions, alternating with the applesauce. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low for a few more seconds. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula. Bake for 40-45 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Then turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment and cool completely before frosting.
- 1 1/2 cups of sugar
- 1/3 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups of whole milk
- 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- 3 sticks of unsalted butter, soft, but cool and cut into small pieces
- 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of your favorite caramel sauce at room temperature
Whisk together the sugar and flour in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until the mixture has come to a boil and has thickened, about 10-15 minutes.
Transfer this mixture to the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed until is is cool. Reduce the speed to low and then add the vanilla and the butter. Mix this until it is thoroughly incorporated. Increase the speed to medium high and beat until the frosting is light and fluffy. (This is where I switched out the paddle attachment for the whisk attachment.)
Add 1/3 of a cup of the caramel and continue mixing until it is combined. If the frosting seems too soft, put the bowl in the fridge to chill it slightly. Then beat it again to get the proper consistency.
TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
Place one cake layer on your serving platter. Trim the top to create a flat surface. Evenly spread about 1 1/4 cups of frosting on top. Add the second layer, trim and frost it in the same way. Add the third and final layer, spread a very thin layer of frosting over the top and sides (the crumb coat) and put the cake in the fridge to firm up for about 15 minutes. Then continue to frost the tops and sides with the remaining caramel buttercream. Decorate with extra swirls of caramel if desired. Refrigerate the cake for another 15 minutes to serve it up before serving.
NOTES: I had some difficulty getting the texture of the buttercream to be light and fluffy. So when making the buttercream, I used the whisk attachment instead of the paddle attachment. I also spread a layer of caramel over the top of each cake before I iced it with the buttercream. And I used my own recipe found here for Caramel Sauce.