Culinary Adventure: Caramel Apple Cake (it looks and tastes like heaven)

I thought I’d stop being an over-achiever in the kitchen just for one day by eating leftovers tonight, but I found a recipe for this caramel apple cake and thought I HAD to give it a try (that and I happen to have two apples sitting on my kitchen counter, left from an earlier apple pie experiment that I wasn’t completely satisfied with). The site is in Chinese, so it’s my translation and some tips from my previous cake-making experience.

Ingredients:
For the caramel: half a cup (125 grams) of sugar, some water (just enough to wet the sugar)
One or two apples
250 grams of butter, taken out of the fridge a while before
125 grams of sugar
200 grams of flour
half a teaspoon of baking powder
4 eggs
20ml of milk

1. Make your caramel by putting the sugar and water into a deep and small pan. Put the heat on high. Do NOT stir. Swirl the pan from time to time instead. Pay close attention to the pan, since it can go from a nice amber color to completely overcooked and burnt faster than you can say Mississippi. Once it’s a nice amber color, pour it into your pie/cake tin. Grab the tin by the edge since the caramel is boiling hot to avoid burning your hand (though why would I know if I didn’t do that myself…). Swirl it around in the tin so that it is evenly spread. Act fast because caramel solidifies very fast! Once it cools down, it’ll become a hard shell.

2. Peel the apples and cut them into thin slices. Leave the slices in water with either a bit of salt or lemon juice for a while. Take the slices out and arrange them nicely in the tin.

3. Lightly beat the eggs till the yolk and white are combined.

4. Cream the butter and sugar (this is a very tedious process. Basically you have to beat the butter till it becomes light, fluffy, and slightly whitish. In the beginning the butter will cling onto the beater. I always get it off with a fork, only to have it back onto the beater in about 5 seconds. If you repeat this process enough times however, the mixture becomes so fluffy that you can easily shake it off. Another tip is to use butter that is wrapped in paper. Any “farm” butter will work better. Try to squeeze the butter a bit when you go butter-shopping. Pick the softer kind).

5. Slowly incorporate the eggs into the butter and sugar, making sure it is well-mixed.

6. Sift in the flour and baking powder, mix everything with a rubber scraper.

7. Mix in the milk before pouring the content into the tin, smoothing it out with the rubber scraper (though don’t panic if it is not completely even. My mixture was not at all runny, and I was worried the cake would come out weirdly-shaped. Within the first 3 minutes in the oven however, it just evened out).

8. Bake for 35 minutes at 170 degrees Celsius (around 350 Farenheit).

9. Let it cool down a bit before getting it out on a plate. The caramel needs some time to solidify a bit again. I am also going to quote Julia Child about how you need the courage of your convictions when you flip anything over. I was probably only 98% convicted this time, because some droplets of caramel ended up on my kitchen counter (which was then scraped off and licked clean, but you don’t have to know about that…).

10. And voila, that’s your caramel apple cake! The most fantastic thing with this cake is it can be cut/eaten warm! You don’t have to waste two hours staring at it before making the next move. Enjoy with some tea or coffee, since it is quite rich.

Finally, if you keep the cake in the fridge (you normally don’t have to, unless the weather is very hot), pop the slice into the microwave for 30 seconds before eating it. That makes a BIG difference.

Bon appetit and keep me posted if you give this recipe a try!

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