The Jewish New Year is celebrated today, and this brings back memories of traditional foods, even to an agnostic such as me. One of the culinary traditions for this event, is to dip a slice of apple in honey, and eat it as a symbol for a sweet New Year. Plenty other sweet dishes are added to the table as well, in order to emphasize this hope for a sweet New Year.
The cake I have for you here was inspired by this tradition. The apple slices are placed on amber caramel sauce, resembling honey. As the batter also contains caramel sauce, the aroma in the kitchen when the cake is baked is amazing, and it carries on when you serve the cake. Once turned over a serving plate, the glistening caramel apples shine through and the cake is the perfect centerpiece for the desserts table. Try it and enjoy. Happy and sweet New Year to all!
* Make sure to protect your hands when preparing the caramel sauce, especially when adding the heavy cream into the pot.
* Don’t be alarmed when the sugar crystallizes while adding the cream. It will dissolve once the sauce is cooked, and the sauce will also be strained.
Makes: 12 portions
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 35 minutes
For the caramel:
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
For the cake:
½ stick (55 grams) butter, soft
2/3 cups sugar
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 XL eggs
½ cup caramel sauce (from above)
2 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1. The caramel sauce: place the sugar in a medium size pot over medium-high heat. The sugar will gradually become lumpy, but then it will start to dissolve and the color will change to amber. Lower the heat to medium-low and carefully (it will splatter, so it’s best to use gloves) add the heavy cream. Take off the heat for a few seconds, until the bubbles disappear. Place back over the heat and cook, mixing carefully, for 2-3 minutes, to a smooth and dark amber color sauce. Strain through a fine strainer into a measuring jug. You will end up with 1¼ cups of caramel sauce.
Pour ¾ cup of the sauce into 9½” (24cm) deep cake pan and set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F (175C). In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, applesauce and eggs. Add the remaining ½ cup of cooled caramel sauce and mix well. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix to a fairly thick batter.
3. Arrange the apple slices over the caramel sauce in the pan. Add the batter on top and level with a spatula, from the center out. Don’t spread the batter all the way to the sides of the pan (this will make it easier to release the cake from the pan after baking).
4. Bake for 35 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
5. Take out of the oven and let the cake stand for one minute in the pan. Place a plate (the size of the pan or bigger) on top of the pan. Using oven mitts (remember, the pan is still hot!) hold both the plate and pan together, and turn the pan upside down onto the plate. Carefully, remove the pan. If some bits still stick to the pan, scrape them gently and add to the top of the cake. Let cool to room temperature before cutting.