I can’t believe that it is already November. I mean– it seems like summer was just here– is time just going to start going faster and faster and faster now? Last weekend we celebrated Halloween with friends. We let our Mad Men love get the best of us, and we dressed up as a 1960′s advertising executive and a housewife. We even put lipstick smudges on Ryan’s outfit – it was way scandalous slash adorable.
But other than that, I got to spend some great time in the kitchen last week also.
This fall has been full of apples. I not only have been playing with a few apple recipes, I was gifted a bag full of fresh local apples — so even more apple dishes made an appearance in the kitchen! Its been pretty awesome. So I wanted to share this recipe with you — the cake is just very lightly caramel-ish – slightly more than a regular white cake, but not overwhelming at all. The filling is super yummy and really balances out the cake and thick creamy icing. And don’t worry – there will be some left over caramel — which is amazing warmed poured over apple slices and ice cream. (Or, if you are me, just by the spoonful.)
For the Cake:
2 ¼ cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¼ cups whole milk or buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 ½ cups sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Filling:
2 large apples, grated
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.
Put the sugar and the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light. Beat in the extract, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.
Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed and well aerated. Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the tough – a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)
For the Filling: Combine all ingredients in saucepan and cook until apples are tender.
For the Caramel:
1 c cold water
2 c heavy cream, at room temperature
In a medium size saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Set over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes, making sure no sugar is sticking to the sides of the pan. Increase the heat to high and boil without stirring until the syrup becomes a deep amber color, about 15 minutes. Swirl the pan occasionally for even browning. Once the syrup turns deep amber in color, immediately remove from the pan. Slowly add the cream to the syrup (there will be lots and lots of bubbling, don’t be scared) whisking vigorously until the cream is incorporated. Return the pan to medium-low heat and stir until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and allow to come to room temperature before chilling. (This can be stored for up to a month in the refrigerator
For the Icing:
1 1b cream cheese, softened slightly, cut into pieces
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened slightly, cut into pieces
1 c cold caramel
1 tbsp kosher salt
In a medium sized bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and the butter until smooth, about 3 minutes. Gradually add the caramel and salt and beat until well incorporated. Spread onto and over the cake liberally.