A Culinary Journey into Autumn
I love the rustling sound of leaves under my boots, the cool autumn breeze whipping my hair, and the intoxicating aroma of an apple cake wafting from the kitchen. That’s right. We’re about to embark on a cooking adventure together, crafting an irresistible warm apple cake recipe that will make your taste buds dance in joy.
As autumn bestows its bounty of apples upon us, it’s the perfect time to appreciate the comforting warmth of a freshly baked apple cake. The harmonious blend of tart apples, warming spices, and sweet caramel sauce creates a symphony of flavors, making it the perfect companion for a cozy evening at home.
Now, let’s roll our sleeves, tie our aprons, and dive into the mesmerizing world of baking. It’s time to transform the humble apple into a beautifully baked cake that will steal the show at any gathering and leave your guests craving for more.
Choosing the Right Apple
One might ask, “An apple is an apple, what’s the big deal?” But trust me, when it comes to baking, the type of apple can make a world of difference. The best apples for baking this cake are Granny Smith Apples, Honeycrisp, Golden Delicious, Rome, Jonathan or Jonagold Apples, and Braeburn. These varieties are favored for their firm texture that holds up well during baking, and their balance of sweet and tart flavors that beautifully complement the richness of the cake.
Granny Smith apples, with their tartness and firm texture, are a classic choice. The Honeycrisp variety will give you a sweeter, juicier result. Golden Delicious apples, true to their name, bring a mellow sweetness, while Rome apples are mildly tart with a vibrant red hue to add a touch of color to your cake. Jonathan or Jonagold apples offer a perfect blend of tart and sweet, and Braeburn apples have a spicy-sweet flavor that adds an interesting twist.
So, pick your preferred apple or even mix and match. Remember, every apple brings its unique flavor to the cake, making each bake a unique experience.
The Star of the Show: Caramel Sauce
The caramel sauce is truly the winner of this recipe. It’s like a warm, sweet hug that wraps the apple cake, enhancing its flavors and lending it a luxurious finish. Yet, the making of caramel sauce is an art. It requires patience, precision, and above all, love.
The process begins by melting sugar until it reaches a beautiful amber color. Then, butter is whisked into the melted sugar, followed by a heavy cream. The key here is to not rush. Allow the sugar to melt gradually, stir gently, and most importantly, be careful not to cook the sauce too long or it will curdle.
Once the caramel sauce achieves a silky smooth consistency, it’s ready to pour over the apple cake. Be sure to cut your cake into pieces first and serve on a small dessert plate or bowl. As the sauce drizzles down the sides of the cake, it creates a luscious glaze that not only makes the cake look irresistible but also adds a layer of creamy sweetness that perfectly balances the tartness of the apples. My favorite way to eat or serve it is layered with a scoop of ice cream. Picture–cake, vanilla ice cream and the rich, smooth, buttery caramel sauce covering it all. MMMmmmm!
Warm Apple Cake
- ½ C butter
- 2 C sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 C flour
- 2 tsp soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 C sliced apples see above options for the best kind of apples
- 1 C broken nuts walnuts are my favorite choice for this recipe
- ½ C brown sugar
- ½ C white sugar
- ⅓ C butter softened
- ½ C cream or canned milk can be used in a pinch
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a 9 x 13” pan or glass dish by greasing the bottom and sides liberally.
- In a large mixing bowl blend the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until they are well combined.
- Next add the beaten eggs and vanilla and cream the batter until the mixture is fluffy and yellow. Add the dry ingredients and mix slightly. The batter will be quite thick so you may have to combine the dry ingredients by hand with a heavy wooden or plastic spoon.
- Fold in the apples and the nuts until all ingredients are combined.
- Spread evenly into the 9 x 13” pan and place in the oven.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The cake should be done in the middle and have a golden top.
About 15 minutes before the cake is finished cooking, begin making your caramel sauce.
- Melt the sugars in the saucepan.until they are a golden blonde color.
- Whisk in the softened butter and the cream.
- Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until it’s smooth and golden colored. Stir constantly to prevent curdling. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Serve over warm cake and with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Use butter, not margarine
Use cream, but if you don’t have any canned milk can be substituted
Cut your apples into thin slices, don’t dice them
Break your nuts into pieces, don’t chop with a nut chopper. I like to know when I have eaten a nut
Always use real vanilla, not imitation extract.
For fun–you could use butter brickle, salted caramel or butter pecan ice cream on top of the cake.
This is perfect for a dessert night, but if you’re serving it after dinner you will want to time the cake to come out of the oven within 15 minutes of when you plan to serve it. So I like to put it in just as we are sitting down to eat. I make the sauce ahead of time too and just rewarm it slightly when it’s serving time. It sounds complicated, but I promise it will be worth it. Your family or guests will be begging for this delectable cake every fall.
Now that we’ve explored the wonderful world of apple cake baking, it’s your turn to create your own masterpiece. Remember, the secret to a great apple cake lies in choosing the right apple, and the caramel sauce is what turns a good cake into a great one.
So, go ahead and immerse yourself in the delightful process of baking. Let the comforting aroma of the apple cake fill your home and heart. And when you take that first bite, make sure to savor the magic of autumn encapsulated in it.