It's apple (and caramel) time!
What says fall better than a dessert made with fresh, local apples? Use leftover caramel sauce for dipping apple slices, drizzled over vanilla bean ice cream or alongside a slice of chocolate cake.
Apple Cake with Hot Caramel Sauce
New York Times Magazine | October 8, 1989
• 1/2 cup pecans
• 5 medium apples to yield 2 1/2 cups chopped (use firm cooking apples like Northern Spy or McIntosh)
• 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 scant teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
The hot caramel sauce:
• 1/2 cup butter
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup evaporated milk
• Sweetened whipped cream and fresh unpeeled apple slices
1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place the pecans in the work-bowl of a food processor and process until fine. Set aside. Peel, core and quarter the apples and place them in the work-bowl of the processor and process until they are in medium-coarse shards, about the size of almonds. Set aside.
2. Place the butter in a large mixer bowl, add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until blended. Add the soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and mix quickly. Add the flour and just blend, then the apples and nuts.
3. Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch round cake pan (I used a 9-inch square) and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top springs back when touched with a finger. Cool slightly. Center may sink somewhat.
4. For the caramel sauce, melt the butter, brown sugar and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and milk. Stir again with the whisk.
5. To serve the sauce with the apple cake, cut the cake into wedges if using the round pan. Ladle a large spoonful of the hot sauce onto each of the dessert plates. Place a wedge of cake on top of the sauce. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and apple slices.
Note: The sauce can be made ahead of time and then reheated over hot water (or a microwave works well). A refrigerated cake will keep for a week.
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