H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N !! My witch's costume has been properly starched and pressed and is hanging on the bedroom door...I am waiting for the witching hour (5:00 pm) to don my apparel - don't want to scare the neighbor kids before it's absolutely necessary. When I asked the mister, ever so sweetly, if he would please wear a costume tonight, he just grunted his reply, "Hell no!" and then said, "I don't know why you bother, your costume is redundant." Redundant! Ha! Like he even knows what that word means! While you may be thinking Good One or Go Mister...let me tell you what happened next...the mister was laughing so hard he began to cough and hack...in one hand he held his briefcase and in the other his morning cup o' joe...his coughing continued until his joe was no mo'...he had to change his pants...oh, and he was no longer laughing...but I was...and I couldn't help but say, "That was quite a spell!" Get it?!?! Witch?! Spell?! Hardy-har-har...The Slaughterhouse is on fire today!
Apple Caramel Cake...it'll set you straight. It's one of the best desserts I've had in a very, very long time... AND...it rivals one of my all-time FAVORITE desserts...Sticky Date Pudding! High praise to be sure! This one won't disappoint - especially if you add a scoop of vanilla ice cream - you'll lick the plate clean and then, if you're like me, you'll sit back and wait for the coma...kidding mom!
Apple Cake with Caramel, also called Fresh Apple Cake by some might have you thinking, been there, done that but just hold your broom, Esmerelda, this one is decidedly different. The caramel sauce that is cooked separately, is poured over the cake while it's still warm, and so it soaks in...every pecan-apple laden bite is coated with rich caramel...swoon! And if that's not enough for you, top it with a scoop of ice cream...and then you're talking 5 dangs on the Dang Meter 'cause this one is dang, dang, dang, dang, dang good!
This cake can be baked in a 9x13-inch pan, a Bundt pan or in one-cup ramekins (fill them about 1/2 full, you should be able to get 15 ramekins. The first time I used ramekins I filled them about 3/4's full - big mistake! There wasn't any room for caramel sauce or ice cream! I ended up scooping out about a tablespoon of cake from the center, making a well to hold the caramel and ice cream. And then I had to eat all of that cake I scooped out...it was the right thing to do.)
When I make this in a Bundt pan, I pour some caramel onto the bottom of my cake plate, then set the cake on top. Caramel on both sides...it's the right thing to do.
This recipe is made in one bowl...one! No mixer, no mess - and will serve a dozen people.
Apple Caramel Cake - Adapted From Brenda Hodson, via Nancy VanNoy
4 cups peeled and finely chopped apples (about 4 medium to large apples)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans, divided
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Caramel Sauce recipe below
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare baking dish: If using a Bundt pan or a 9x13-inch baking dish, grease sides and bottom thoroughly. If using ramekins, you will need one dozen, grease sides and bottom.
Put chopped apples in a large bowl and break eggs over them, stir by hand until combined. Add sugar, cinnamon, oil, 1/2 cup pecans and vanilla. Stir to combine. Stir in flour, salt, soda, mixing well by hand until combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup pecans over top of cake (or over each individual ramekin.) Bake in 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. (If baking in ramekins, set ramekins onto a rimmed baking sheet and bake for an additional 5 minutes or so.)
While cake is baking, make Caramel Sauce:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put all ingredients, except vanilla, into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 225 degrees on a candy thermometer (about 6 minutes on my stove) or until it is just below the soft ball stage (put ice cold water into a glass, add a teaspoon of caramel and if you can stick it together into a soft ball, while in the water, but it doesn't hold it's shape out of the water, then it's done.) Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla.
When cake is done, remove from oven and let sit on wire rack to cool for ten minutes. If baked in a Bundt pan, loosen sides and invert onto caramel coated cake plate. Pour caramel over cake and let soak in. Serves 12.