Caramel Apple Cake

September, with its sunny sky and crisp, refreshing breeze, has finally arrived! This transitional month introduces harvest season, a time to bake with fragrant spices, apples and root vegetables. In anticipation for my favourite ingredients to be showcased, I baked up a few delicious recipes that waited impatiently to be published after Labour Day.

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With all the baking I’ve been doing as of late, I need plenty of taste-testers to distribute desserts to (can’t let all this food go to waste). One of my taste-testers is my friend Katia. She’s currently working on her second short film which will be shot next weekend. Having been close friends since the age of 12 (recently dawned on me that’s half my life!), I volunteered to cater for her cast and crew. Growing up, Katia initiated our group of friends to countless movies, going through phases of watching certain actors’ body of work (and some questionable choices…). So it’s pretty great to see my talented buddy on her own film set for the second time already. But, as all you bakers know, ingredients can be expensive, so my friend started an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds. If you are interested in learning more about this project and want to help out, please check out this link.

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This caramel apple cake is another towering layer cake from the Baked boys. This dessert is a delectable way to welcome autumn in all its glory. I already published an apple cake on my blog, but this one is very different. Rather than biting into chunks of apples, this batter is smooth since it calls for applesauce. This showpiece of a dessert is hearty, dense and moist. As a finishing touch, I drizzled some caramel sauce on top and spread the buttercream along the sides to resemble tree bark. The spices add such a lovely aroma, but next time I’ll omit the cloves which are a bit strong for my taste. I think two layers would suffice. As it stands, it’s a challenge to polish off a slice!

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Bon appétit!

Source: Baked Explorations

Yields one 8-inch 3-layer cake

Ingredients:
•apple cake
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
4 cups unsweetened apple sauce
•caramel buttercream
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup classic caramel sauce, at room temperature

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Instructions:
•apple cake
1) Preheat the oven to 325F.
2) Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Dust the sides with flour.
3) Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves together in a large bowl and set aside.
4) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes.
5) Add the sugar and beat until fluffy and light, about 3 minutes.
6) Add the eggs and beat until incorporated.
7) Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the applesauce. Begin and end with the flour mixture.
8) Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
9) Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out of the pan and let cool completely.
•caramel buttercream
1) Whisk the sugar and flour together in a medium saucepan.
2) Pour the milk and cream into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking regularly until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil, about 10 to 15 minutes.
3) Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on high speed until cool.
4) Lower the speed and add the butter and vanilla, mixing until combined.
5) Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the buttercream is light and fluffy.
6) Pour the caramel sauce into the bowl and beat until incorporated.
•assembly
1) Trim the tops of the three layers for a flat surface.
2) Place one layer onto the cake stand. Evenly spread 1 1/4 cups of the buttercream on top. Repeat with second layer.
3) Once the third layer has been placed on top of the others, spread a think coat of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake.
4) Place the cake in the fridge to firm up for 15 minutes.
5) Spread the remaining buttercream on the cake.
6) Drizzle some caramel sauce on top to decorate.
7) Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes to firm up before serving.

Store this cake at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days. If store in the fridge, let the cake come to room temperature for 2 hours before serving it.

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