It has certainly felt like Fall here this week. And while I am not ready for Summer to be completely over, I am excited about Fall and all it has to offer: pumpkins, crisp air, falling leaves, cozy sweaters, and apples. Does anything say Fall more than an apple?
Us Baked Sunday Mornings bakers made Caramel Apple Cake from Baked Explorations this week. The cake is supposed to be a lovely three-layer affair but after a recent layer cake fiasco and not feeling well this week, I opted to halve the recipe and make cupcakes instead.
The recipe has three components, four if you make your own applesauce. I considered making applesauce falling the sidebar recipe in the book but was a little annoyed that the writers didn't include any suggestions for the best types of apples to use. Laziness may have played a role in this decision as well.
Incredibly moist and flavorful, the cake is the star and a definite keeper recipe. The applesauce makes the cake moist and the generous amount of ground cloves adds warmth and spice to keep the cake from being overly sweet. It was delicious and tasted like Fall.
Caramel is made beforehand and added to the frosting. Looking for a salted caramel fix a while back, I made the caramel recipe from Baked Explorations a while back and it was a disaster. My fix was satisfied that night with a winning recipe from Ina Garten but I decided to try a Dorie Greenspan recipe for caramel to use with this recipe. One of the easiest caramel sauce recipes I've tried so I've included it below.
As the caramel sauce cooled on the counter, I started on the buttercream. The buttercream starts with the sweet roux that we have used before. This method is growing on me but I think it would be best to allow it to cool completely before whipping it up instead of using the mixer to cool it off. I found that the mixture cools before the metal bowl of mixer does and the butter ends up getting too warm and throws off the texture. After multiple attempts, I could not get the frosting to come together and fluff up. I think the caramel also broke up the texture a bit. If I were to make this again I would do the following: 1) let the roux cool completely, 2) make sure the butter is cool instead of room temperature, and 3) whip up the frosting to the desired texture and consistently before adding the caramel, and 4) gently fold in the caramel.
While not the smooth frosting I was hoping for, it still tasted great. A generous swirl of caramel sauce on top made for sticky, but finger licking delicious cupcakes.
Another great recipe from Baked that is perfect for classroom parties, tailgating, and the holidays. Check out the creations made by the rest of the Baked group, here!
Warm Caramel Sauce
Around My French Table, Dorie Greenspan
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream, warm or at room temperature
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
Put the sugar, water, and corn syrup in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until the caramel turns a medium amber. If any sugar spatters onto the sides of the pan, wipe it down with a pastry brush dipped in cold water.
Lower the heat and, standing away from the pan to avoid sputters and spats, add the cream, butter, and salt. The mixture will bubble furiously, but the bubbles will die down, and when they do, use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir the sauce until it's smooth. Pour into a bowl or heatproof jar. Cool until just warm before serving.