Yikes, it has been a long time since I last posted!
Except for the lack of baking and cooking, we had a great summer. The weather was actually fairly pleasant and we had a fun trip to Italy, France, and Spain. We saw some beautiful places, ate a lot of delicious food, and enjoyed a LOT of gelato/glace/helado. We capped off the summer with a food-filled weekend trip up to Portland where I discovered my new favorite ice cream place. If you are ever in the area, get yourself to the Catbird Creamery in Westbrook, Maine. It’s in a strange location but it’s worth driving out of your way to try it out. Everything is made in the store, the flavors are really creative and delicious, and the owner is super generous with samples.
But now it’s fall! And fall in New England is one of my favorite things. I’m so ready for crunchy leaves and hiking and scarves and boots and jackets and corduroy and cinnamon and pumpkin and hooded sweatshirts and overall just feeling cozy. Could that sentence have been any longer? Probably not.
Moving on, one of my good friends from college came up to visit a few weeks ago and we had a nice trip up to an apple orchard near us. I ended up with 10 lbs of apples and two warm cider donuts in my belly. But the problem with having 10 lbs of apples is that I don’t especially love eating apples. Actually, let me amend that. I enjoy eating half an apple but I never want to eat the other half. So really, the only answer is to bake. Because I always want the second half of a good piece of cake. ALWAYS. And this cider-caramelized apple bundt cake was no exception.
There are a few steps, but the recipe was fairly straightforward and is worth the effort. It would be a good cake to eat for breakfast, tea time, or dessert. The cake itself is a nice apple cake, but the glaze takes it to another level. I’m pretty sure I could eat just the glaze by the spoonful! I thought it was great on day 1, but it was just as good on subsequent days. I say make it, cut yourself a hunk, and sit down with a nice warm cup of tea and enjoy fall.
Cider-Caramelized Apple Bundt Cake
Makes: 12 servings
- 2 cups apple cider
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 3 sticks plus 3 tablespoons (13 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ pounds apples (about 3 large)—peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (I used a combination of Honey Crisp and Cortland)
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 tablespoon flour (all-purpose or cake)
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs
- ¾ cup sour cream
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Boil the apple cider in a large saucepan over high heat. Cook for about 15 minutes until the cider is reduced to ½ cup of liquid, be sure to stir occasionally. Add 1 cup of the granulated sugar and cook over medium high heat until the mixture turns into a dark amber caramel. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter until melted. Add the sliced apples and continue to cook over medium high heat, until the apples are soft and have absorbed a good portion of the syrup. This should take about 8-10 minutes. Be sure to watch carefully and stir occasionally. Pour the apples into a bowl and let cool.
Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and stir in 1 tablespoon of flour. Use a pastry brush to brush the butter/flour mixture over the bottom and sides of a 12-cup bundt pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Use a hand or standing mixer to beat the remaining 3 sticks of butter until light and creamy. Add the remaining 2 cups of granulated sugar and the vanilla and beat at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5-6 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time and beat well between additions. Add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the sour cream, until just combines. Add ½ cup of the batter into the apples, and then add the apples to the remaining batter.
Pour the batter into the bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with just a few crumbs and the top is golden. Let the cake cook on a wire rack for 20 minutes, and then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.
Once the cake is cool, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until the mixture is smooth and thickened. Slowly add the the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir occasionally and cook until the mixture is thickened and bubbling, about 3 minutes. Cool completely and then stir in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla.
Set the cake on a plate or cake stand (you will want to place strips of wax paper under the cake) and drizzle over the top. Enjoy!
Adapted from Food and Wine