When apples are in season, there’s nothing finer than a simple apple cake. Although easy to make, this cake is anything but ordinary. It’s bursting with fresh apple flavor and spices, while the crunch of pecan, which places the cake unmistakably in Southern territory, adds just the right bite. And, well, the coat of rich caramel makes this an over-the-moon dessert.–Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock
Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 12
- For the cake
- 1 cup light-brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground Ceylon cinnamon (see note)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 5 fresh apples (such as Winesap or Granny Smith), peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups not-too-finely chopped pecans
- 2 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the glaze
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup light-brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Make the cake
- 1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C).
- 2. Put the sugars and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl, and beat until very well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and gradually add to the sugar and eggs, mixing just until well blended.
- 3. Stir in the apples, pecans, and vanilla, and pour into a buttered and 9-by-13-inch baking pan.
- 4. Bake in the preheated oven until a skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 1/4 hours (begin checking after 50 minutes). Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the pan while you prepare the caramel glaze.
- Make the glaze
- 5. Melt the butter in a saucepan, and add both the sugars and the salt. Stir until blended, and cook over medium-low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, and boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- 6. Use a skewer or toothpick to poke holes all over the top of the cake, and pour the warm glaze over the surface. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- The quality of cinnamon can vary greatly, and most that you find on supermarket shelves is harsh and hot in flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is the exception and we use it a lot in our recipes. Ceylon cinnamon is best purchased in stick form, kept tightly covered away from sunlight, and ground in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle for each recipe (we keep a small electric coffee grinder that we use only for sweet spices like cinnamon and clove). Unlike common cinnamon, which is thick, hard and brittle, Ceylon cinnamon is paper thin and crumbles easily in the hand. It is complexly smooth and sweet, and very refined, both in aroma and flavor. We recommend seeking it out, as it makes all the difference in a dish. If, however, for some reason you simply cannot find Ceylon cinnamon, reduce the amount called for in our recipe by half if you are using an ordinary supermarket brand.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Nov 21, 2003
Wow! Edna Lewis has a real winner here. It’s rich, sweet, unpretentious, yet classy.It would work for breakfast, brunch, tea, or dessert – not wanting to over-gild the lily, I’m still thinking it would be extra-decadent for dessert with a little scoop of French vanilla or dulce de leche ice cream. Or, if you have extra heavy whipping cream leftover from making the glaze, just go ahead and whip it up — in this case, I’d serve it atop the cake, and just a little dollop would do just fine! Moist and full of apples, I think many varieties of apples would work. We happened to have Pink Lady apples around, a little past their prime, so this seemed a good use for them.If I’d had Granny Smith apples or if I’d had to go out to buy apples, I think they’d be my go-to apple variety here. The glaze was a lovely finishing touch; however, the delicious cake would be very good as-is, especially warm from the oven. Serves 12?! No one would have any trouble eating 1/12th of this cake, but a smaller piece would surely suffice.I cut the cake in the pan into the twelfths specified, then left it on the kitchen table. When I returned, someone had cut each twelfth in half. Later he shared with me that, although he cut the pieces smaller since they were so sweet and rich, he ate a second small piece right after the first! I am a pecan fan, and pecans are integral to the Southern palate from which this recipe emanates, but for any non-pecan fans, this could easily be made with walnuts, or the nuts could be omitted altogether. I confess to using my non-Ceylon cinnamon here. Because Lewis speaks so passionately about the Ceylon variety, I will seek it out, but I assure you, the cake will be a winner with the cinnamon you generally use for baking.ÊOne note about the instructions: In Step 3 of the Make the Cake section, the batter does not really pour but rather clumps into the baking pan. It was quite thick at that stage.
Fresh Apple Cake with Caramel Glaze Recipe © 2003 Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock. Photo © 2003 Christopher Hirsheimer. All rights reserved.