Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Spicy caramel and maple apple cake

Summer does fly by. Adios vacations, bright sun, sandy beaches and the great outdoors. Autumn is back, Madrid is getting cooler. The first rains and the amazing colors of trees as they change from dark green to pale yellow and fiery red announce the creeping winter. But I love autumn, its wonderful sights, the smell of fresh earth after the rains and especially I love its delicious fruits. Without a doubt, apples are the quintessential late summer early fall fruit. Although I love eating fresh apples, I do think that this fruit in particular tastes even better when cooked especially if combined to certain spices that bring out the best in apples.

This autumnal recipe features apples as a key ingredient. I was lucky enough to have had the chance to pick apples fresh from an orchard close by to where I live. These were small fruits, packed with flavor and tart. They stay firm when cooked which was what I exactly wanted. The hardest part of this whole operation was peeling and cutting the fruits. 

For this recipe using an 18 cm pan you need:

To prepare the apples:
  • 200 g of apples peeled, cored and cut into cubes
  • 30 g sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 15 g butter
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cloves and 1/4 tsp ground star anise and some grated nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a pan, and cook the apples over a medium flame until slightly tender and caramelized.Set aside to cool.

To prepare the cake:
  • 2 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 60 g of sugar (if you´re not going to top the cake with caramel double the amount of sugar)
  • 60 ml of vegetable oil (I used sunflower, but any neutral vegetable oil will do)
  • 170 g of flour (I used full grain spelt flour)
  •  tsp and  half  baking powder
  •  tsp of maple syrup and 1 tbsp of caramel sauce (or 2 tbsp of maple)
  •  tsp of cinnamon
  •  tsp vanilla essence
  • 100 g of the cooked apples
  • pinch of salt
  • greased and dusted 18 cm pan
  • 1 tbsp caramel to drizzle on top

Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking powder and set aside. Whisk the oil with the sugar for a minute, add the eggs one by one and when well combined add the maple syrup and caramel. Finally fold in the flour mixture. When all the ingredients come together, pour the batter in the prepared pan, add the cooked apples on top and sprinkle the tbsp of the cramel on them. You  can mix the apples with the batter if you want. Bake the cake in a preheated oven (180C) for 25 to 30 minutes, check with a toothpick to make sure the center is cooked through.

The caramel I used in this cake can be prepared using  this recipe. However, I made just half of the amount and I replaced water with the juice released from the cooked apples infused with the spices, and let me tell you, the result was out of this world.

Serve the cake with the rest of the cooked apples with a drizzle of caramel and enjoy a sweet taste of autumn!

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