Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Caramel Apple Pound Cake Cup Cakes

Whether we like it or not- Fall is quickly approaching.  The time for sweaters, woolen scarves and warming cups of tea is right around the corner.  I say, while it's sad to say goodbye to the wonderful sunny days of Summer, why fight it?  Recently a friend reminded me of the beauty of those wonderful Fall treats, Caramel Apples.  Crisp apples encased in luxurious caramel, warm and melty, chilled only by the brisk air-they are the perfect treat.  

Inspired by this idea this weekend, I turned to my kitchen and looked to see how I could re create this treat, but in typical fashion, put a little twist on it.  I played with the idea of a cupcake for several days, considering a variety of combinations and toppings.  However finally, I settled on the rich sturdiness of Pound Cake, over which I would spoon Caramel Apple sauce.  I loved the dense nature of the Pound Cake which I enhanced with the warming spices of Mace and Nutmeg.  The resulting flavor was a light hint of fall flavors, enhanced with the homemade caramel sauce.   I edited both of the recipes below- I've put my additions in italics under them.

Vanilla Pound Cake (recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour or cake flour
4 large eggs
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until smooth and fluffy.  Add the flour and mix well; the batter will be almost like paste.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl after each addition; the batter will be quite fluffy.  

Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9-10 inch tube pan, 9-10 cup bundt pan, or 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.  Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester or tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.

I spooned the batter into a cupcake pan, and then watched the cupcakes starting at a 1/2 hour.  They came out of the oven around 33-34 minutes.

Deep, Dark Salted Butter Caramel Sauce [Sauce au Caramel au Beurre Salé] Recipe from the Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

3 ounces (6 tablespoons) salted butter, the better you can get, the better it will taste---I used unsalted butter and then added 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp of salt
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons heavy cream, at room temperature

Melt the sugar over medium to moderately high heat in a larger pot than you think you’ll need–at least two or three quarts, whisking or stirring the sugar as it melts to ensure it heats evenly. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice, dark copper color. Add the butter all at once and stir it in, before turning off the stove and pour in the heavy cream (The sauce will foam up quite a bit when you add it; this is why you want the larger pot.), whisking it until you get a smooth sauce.

You use it right away or pour it into a jar and store it in the fridge for up to two weeks. When you take it out, it will likely have thickened a bit but 60 seconds in the microwave brings it right back to pouring consistency.

Caramel Apple Sauce
2 small semi tart apples, cored and chopped.
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 - 3/4 cup caramel sauce (recipe above)

In a saute pan over low heat melt the butter and add the cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.  Add the apples, and stir until they are coated with the spice mixture and just slightly tender.  Add the walnut and the caramel sauce and stir until combined. 

Spoon the caramel apple sauce over the cupcakes and serve. 


Jen said...

These look awesome - I love that you serve them with the caramel apple mixture spooned over the top. I'm still refusing to bake or eat anything fall related until after the 21st. I'm being stubborn this year.

Emily @ A Cambridge Story said...

This looks SO good. I'm totally ok with combining fall and summer foods at this point. Just had pumpkin soup for lunch, in fact!

Carolyn said...

Holy moley, those look phenomenal, all covered with caramel like that!

In and Around Town said...

This looks delicious and makes me want to try to welcome fall. While I love the cool weather and changing leaves, I am having trouble giving up summer this year!

Michelle Collins said...

This looks...dangerous. I wouldn't be able to eat just one!

Dolls Kids said...

They look so interesting! I can't wait to try them out! Thank you for sharing the recipe with us!

Tabby Lamb said...

Now, that is wonderful! Lovely syrup you got there. I am now drooling here and I wanna make some of those now.

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