Friday, November 25, 2016

Spicy Apple Bundt Cake

On the 15th of November, the  world of sweets celebrates bundt cake day. In this post you can read more about this special day and the bundt pans.
This year, I  wanted to celebrate that day by baking an autumnal cake in a beautiful chiffon bundt pan. What's better is that this cake goes perfectly with the apple cider caramel that I told you about in my previous post

The choice of the ingredients was pretty easy: apples, spices and mulled cider, yet again!  It's true that sometimes I get obsessed with certain combinations, but once you try this cake you will understand why, especially if you like apple cakes!

And now let´s bundt!

The mold (Nordic ware chiffon pan) I used has a 10 cups capacity, and for it you need:
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 150 g soft butter
  • 220 g brown sugar
  • 200 g cooked apple (I chopped the apples into small dices, added the spices, a tablespoon of maple syrup and cooked the apple pieces until slightly tender and not falling apart)
  • 220 g cake flour
  • 10 g baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50 ml of mulled cider, see note below (you can substitute the mulled cider with cream, but the taste will be slightly different)
  • 100 ml cream
  • 2 tsp of mixed spices (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, star anise)
  • 1 tsp brandy (optional)
First sift together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt. Set aside.

In your mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until creamy and well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, making sure they combine well before adding the next egg. Add the cooked apples, the brandy and mix for just few seconds.
Turn off your mixer and with a spatula, fold  the flour mixture in 3 batches. Start with the first third then add the mulled cider, another third followed by the cream and finish with the last third.

Pour the mixture in your greased pan and bake  between 45 to 50 min in a preheated oven (175 C) or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake it in the pan for 10 min then unmold and  let it cool completely on a cooling rack.

Once the cake has cooled completely, transfer it to a serving plate.

This cake is delicious as it is. It captures the essence of autumn in every bite-size piece!  You will love how comforting and scrumptious it is.

To please your palate even further, why not pair the cake with a decadent drizzle of apple cider caramel. The combination is heavenly, I kid you not!

Though it looks quite sophisticated, this recipe is actually easy to make and would be the ideal sweet finish to a hearty Thanksgiving, Christmas, or a special family gathering meal. Try it, it will not fail you.

Note: For the mulled cider all you need to do is add whatever spices you like (cinnamon, star anise, cloves, Jamaican pepper, juniper pepper, nutmeg and a strip of orange peel) to a litre of apple cider, and let it simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Spicy Apple Cider Caramel!

The changing colors, the cooler temperatures, the cloudy skies, and the many characteristic products are all the things I love about autumn. As the nights get chilly, it is so comforting to sip on a warm drink while tucked in bed and watching nice show on TV.

The other day I made a mulled apple cider to enjoy on my Friday night, and so I did! Inspired by the drink, I decided to try out a recipe for an apple cider caramel I saw a while back on Pinterest. This seemed all too fitting as I am a big fan of caramel. I have shared many caramel recipes before (links at the end) so it was time to add a new recipe to the bunch!

To make this caramel, you need few ingredients and a bit of patience!
First you need to make a kind of mulled apple cider that needs to be reduced and then you can proceed with the standard caramel making process.

For reduced spicy cider you need:
  • 250 ml apple cider
  • one stick of cinnamon, 
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 4-6 allspice corns
  • 4-6 juniper berries
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar

Make sure to use a good quality cider. In Spain, the northern region of Asturias produces some of the country's finest ciders, and I always use a cider from that region for my recipes.

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, and let them simmer on a gentle heat for about 30 minutes. The liquid has to reduce and become darker in color. Needless to say that at this point your house will smell amazing!

For the caramel, you need:
  • 60 ml of the reduced apple cider
  • 150 g sugar
  • 60 g cold butter cut into cubes
  • pinch of salt
  • 250 ml cream (35%)
Put the sugar in a saucepan and melt over a gentle heat. Once the sugar is golden brown add the mulled apple cider and let it simmer for few seconds. Always be careful when adding liquid to a hot caramel as it will splatter. Add the cold butter and let it melt. Add the salt and finally the cream.
Let the sauce cook for a few minutes until it thickens.

Lift the saucepan off the stove and allow the caramel sauce to cool down.

Pour the sauce in a clean jar and refrigerate if you will not use it within the day of its making.

This caramel sauce can be used in so many ways. It will go well with pancakes, crepes, sponge cakes, cheesecakes, as a sweet dipping sauce, and so much more.

This caramel sauce is just divine: sweet, spicy and with just the right amount of acidity from the cider. Do give it a try, you won´t be sorry!

For other caramel recipes click hereherehereherehere and here