Happy Harvest Time! Here I am in my little corner of the cornfield here in lovely Wisconsin. The nights are getting cooler and we are in the middle of many things, one of them being chopping hay and right around the corner will be the corn. I've been busy canning spaghetti sauce, corn, tomato juice, ketchup, salsa, and applesauce. Next up comes the pears, more apples, pumpkin, and then we can start the process for sauerkraut. This is a busy yet rewarding time of the year. I'm first going to give you the recipe for this delicious caramel apple cake with cream cheese frosting and then I'll also give you the recipe for my homemade applesauce as well as the homemade caramel. You can absolutely make the recipe with store bought ingredients though - so don't be intimidated! This cake embodies everything fall to me - enjoy it with a steaming latte in the wee hours of the morning and start your day off on the right foot!
Caramel Apple Cake (aka Applesauce Cake)
1 stick butter
1 C sugar
1 C applesauce (chunky is nice)
2 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1 pinch cloves
optional: raisins or walnuts
Cream together your butter, eggs, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. If your butter is already room temperature this will work fine - if it's cold, just heat it up a bit before you begin. Now is about the time I turn on the oven to preheat it to 350F - I let the mixer do the work!
If you're using homemade applesauce, I wouldn't add so much cinnamon and cloves, but that's up to you. Add the cloves, cinnamon, etc... but not the flour yet. Make sure everything is mixed well and then add the flour. You may need to adjust the flour a bit depending on where you live, time of day, humidity, etc... but ultimately your batter shouldn't be as runny as pancake batter but not as firm as a cookie dough.
Grease your 9x13 pan and then add the cake mix and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - 34-45 minutes at my house.
While the cake is baking, you can make your caramel sauce and cream cheese frosting- if you're not making it from scratch (you can totally buy caramel ice cream topping and cream cheese frosting), you can just relax during this part!
In case you want to make the frosting and such - those recipes are below.
When cake is done - allow to cool in the pan.
Using the end of a wooden spoon, poke holes in the cake (if you're like me, you'll need to space them just right so there's 13 rows of 8 holes in each row...but honestly, just poke some holes!!)
Pour the caramel over the top of the cake so the holes are filled and the cake is glazed with caramel deliciousness.
Frost with cream cheese frosting and if you have more caramel left, drizzle it on top - and maybe sprinkle some nuts along the top too - dress it up as you see fit and enjoy!
1 C brown sugar
1 stick butter
1 pinch of sea salt
1 t vanilla
1/2 C heavy cream
Combine sugar and butter in a pan on the stove (low heat) - stirring continuously. Add sea salt and vanilla - keep stirring. Add the heavy cream and stir until smooth and evenly combined. Remove from heat and continue stirring until caramel is room temperature and then it's ready to add to your cake (see above) or enjoy with ice cream.
Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 C sour cream
1 T vanilla
2 C powdered sugar
1 stick butter
All ingredients should be room temperature - just cream them together using a stand mixer (or hand mixer). If you'd like to add pumpkin pie spice, caramel, or cinnamon you can - depending on the recipe, this might be desirable.
Home Made Apple Sauce - Made Easy
4-6 medium sized apples
1/4 C sugar or honey
2 T lemon juice
1 T cinnamon
1 dash of cloves
You may core and peel your apples if you wish - but when I make a dozen quarts at a time, I simple core the apples and leave the skins on (then at the very end, I use a hand blender to blend the skins down so you don't know they're still in there) - totally your call! Anyway - get your apples into a pan (with or without the skins, but definitely cored).
Using medium heat, add the rest of the ingredients and stir together then cover the pan. Check back and stir often until it begins cooking down and then remove the lid. After 1-15 minutes, you should be able to blend or mash the mixture - if you like chunky applesauce, just mash with a potato masher and enjoy, but if you've left the peels on, you'll want to blend the mixture so it's not as chunky. Voila!