Saturday, December 11, 2010

Apple Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

Recently, I found some amazing apples on sale at my grocery store. Normally, I see apple desserts as more of a Autumn comfort food, but I just couldn't resist. I decided to make homemade Apple Cake. Once I made it, I decided to go on caloric overload and add some homemade caramel sauce. Oh man....the cake was pretty great on it's own, but the caramel sauce really did me in. It was so simple, too. Eat this cake heated with the caramel sauce and some vanilla ice cream and you're in Heaven....

Apple Cake with Homemade Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 /2 tsp. baking powder
1 /2 tsp. salt
1 /2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 /2 tsp. ground nutmeg or mace
1 /2 tsp. ground ginger
3 cups peeled, diced tart apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric or hand mixer, cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to mixture slowly, in batches. Stir in apples. Spoon into greased 8X8 pan.

Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean.

Optional: Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts to recipe at same time as apples.

*Note: this recipe is for an 8X8 pan but could easily be doubled for a 13X9

Homemade Caramel Sauce
makes about 1 1/2 cups

1/2 C water
1 C sugar
1 C heavy cream, at room temperature
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Place the water and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, uncover and continue to boil until the mixture is thick and the color of straw, about 7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the mixture is a deep amber color, about 1-2 minutes more.

Remove the mixture from the heat. Very carefully, pour about one quarter of the cream into it (the mixure will bubble vigorously). Add the remaining cream, salt, vanilla, and the lemon juice. Whisk until the sauce is smooth.

The sauce can be cooled and refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Reheat in a microwave or in a small saucepan until warm and smooth.

Adapted from America's Test Kitchen.

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