Wednesday, February 29, 2012

in the kitchen: caramel apple layer cake with apple cider frosting.

You are in for a treat! I had a special occasion to celebrate last week and I was invited to make dessert. So logically, my first stop was Pinterest, to find a bit of inspiration. I stumbled upon this recipe pretty quickly, for caramel apple layer cake from the blog a hint of honey. After drooling on my keyboard and reading through the fairly minimally-intimidating directions, I pinned it up and started gathering ingredients. 

The cake was made completely from scratch, and there were two parts that I was semi worried about. The first was making caramel sauce, which was an ingredient in the cake. First step: buy a candy thermometer. Check!

I found the recipe for the caramel sauce on another blog, my baking addiction.

Caramel sauce: 

1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/4 liquid cup water
1/2 liquid cup heavy cream, heated until warm
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water in a large-ish pot. Hook on the candy thermometer and bring the mixture to a (slight) boil. 

Watch the sugar like a hawk!

During this time, you should also be heating the cream in a smaller saucepan. Careful not to heat it too fast. Mine got slightly scorched, but no big deal.

I found it was pretty uneventful until all the sudden it was eventful. Here it started turning a darker color. 

This is right after I added in the milk and stirred it viciously to keep it from overflowing. I really wanted a picture of me adding the cream to the boiling sugar, but in retrospect, I'm glad I wasn't holding a camera during these steps! 

Now stir in the butter. And the sea salt. Easy as that! Try not to eat up all the caramel before you add it to the cake mixture later. 

Now on to the cake! Growing up my mom always made two layer cakes, I think they're more fun. A little surprise layer of frosting in the middle is always a good idea. This recipe made for two 9 inch cakes.


2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I used only all-purpose flour. So a total of 3 3/4 cups)
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups light brown sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup caramel sauce (homemade or jarred)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1½ cups buttermilk

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Pause to take a picture of what a mess the countertop is.

In a larger bowl, combine oil and brown sugar. Beat together.

Voila your homemade caramel sauce! The recipe I used made about a cup of sauce. I measured out 3/4 cup for the cake batter, and ate the rest saved the rest for later.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Now add the dry ingredients in small batches, alternating with the milk. 

Lightly spray the cake pans or wipe them with butter. Pour in the batter and pop them in the oven!

Deliciousness waiting to happen!

Run out to the balcony and take a picture of the sunset you were missing while slaving away in the kitchen. :)

While the cake is cooking, move on the frosting! This was the other part I was slightly intimidated by, since I had never made frosting before. And because the recipe called for 7 3/4 to 8 cups of powdered sugar. Whaaaa?! I only ended up using 5 cups, and I think 7-8 may have caused heart failure. While I'll admit the frosting was a bit thin/slippery at the beginning, I put the cake in the fridge after frosting it to let it harden a bit, which really helped.

Ingredients for Apple Cider Frosting:
7 1/2-8 cups confectioners’ sugar (or 5 in my case)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice (I used juice)
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

Less than one bag was used for this recipe.

Cream together the butter, juice/cider, cinnamon and salt, adding sugar as you go to get to your desired consistency.

Cakes almost done! I cooked them at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.

Let the cakes cool for about 15 minutes, then remove them from the pans and place them on cooling racks. Or those cool, cheap plates you bought from IKEA. Let them cool COMPLETELY before frosting.

Disclosure: I am not a professional froster, nor do I claim to be. These pictures may make you cringe at their lack of neatness, but oh well. Only so much can be done with a metal spoon and silicone spatula.

Frost the bottom cake a bit.

 I didn't put as much frosting as I could have, since I was afraid of running out. Could have been a bit thicker in the middle, and I had plenty of frosting left over. 

I guess this was as far as I got picture-wise, until right before we ate the cake...


Alright, a little messy. But in my defense, this guy survived a killer snowstorm, two 15 minute walks to and from metro stations, hidden under that metal bowl you saw pictured earlier (mental note: MUST BUY CAKE CONTAINER).
I would most definitely make this cake again. It satisfied the sweet dessert craving even though it wasn't the standard chocolate recipe. Fairly straightforward recipe, with no hidden traps or surprises!


What's cooking in your kitchen recently??


All pictures are my own, recipes from a hint of honey and my baking addiction.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I made the cake and hme made Carmel sauce the gang loved it, Mom

food for thought.

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