Monday, 18 June 2012

Father's Day Caramel Apple Cake

No, this is not a giant donut, as my son thought it was yesterday when he saw it on the table in the kitchen!  It is a cake!  Caramel apple cake, made to a recipe that I've created myself by combining 2 separate recipes.  Papa Bear loves caramel apple cake, and I always make him the same one each year on his birthday.  For Father's Day this year, I decided to make him a different version of his favourite cake, so that the one he has in October when it is his birthday, is still especially for that day!  The cake that I make him on his birthday is quite substantial and very appropriate for an autumn celebration, so I wanted to try to make something a wee bit lighter, for a summer day celebration instead - and this is what I came up with.

To make this cake you will need ...

1 1/2 cups oil (I used Crisp'n'Dry which is what we always have)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups golden caster sugar
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder (not bicarbonate of soda)
1 sachet instant powdered vanilla pudding mix (such as Angel Delight or Jello)
1 14 oz can apple pie filling
3 apples, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 teaspoon apple pie spice (this isn't readily available in English supermarkets - we have some that Papa Bear's oldest brother brings us back from his regular trips there - if you can't get hold of any, use this recipe to make some for yourself - it is worth it, because it tastes wonderful!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

1.  Begin by greasing a large (8 inch diameter, 4 inch deep) round cake tin - or a tube pan as I used, if you don't mind the "donut" effect"!  Set your oven to 180 degrees/gas 5.

2.  Mix the oil, sugars and eggs until well combined.

3.  Add the flour, pudding mix and baking soda, and fold into the mixture gently.

4.  Add the pie filling, apples, walnuts, spice, salt and vanilla and fold in.

5.  Place mixture (which will be thick and shiny) in tin, and bake in the centre of your oven for about an hour (mine took exactly one hour, but it may take less or more time depending on the size of the tin you use).  If the top starts to brown too much before it is done, cover with a layer of foil.

6.  Remove from oven and loosen from tin, then place on a wire rack to cool.

While the cake is cooling, you can be making the first part of the frosting.  For this you will need ...

1/3 cup half-and-half cream or evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup powdered sugar

1.  Place the half-and-half or evaporated milk, the butter and dark brown sugar, in a small saucepan and warm gently on the stovetop until melted (about 3 minutes).

2.  Remove from the heat, and allow to cool in saucepan.

3.  When the caramel mixture is cold, add the powdered sugar (it is best if you sift it first so there are no lumps) and mix to form a smooth, thick frosting.

4.  When the cake has completely cooled, you can frost and decorate it how you like.  I went for the donut look because Papa Bear also loves donuts - though he says this cake is much nicer!

And we all agreed - it is indeed very yummy!  Quite light, in fact, perhaps because of the pudding mix, and with a delicious mildly spiced taste from the apple pie spice.  The chunks of apple make it lovely and moist, but it has a nice firm texture, so it wasn't too "puddingy".  We were going to have it with brown bread ice cream, which I did make too (if you have not ever had brown bread ice cream, it is not at all how you would expect, but instead has a lovely caramel taste), but we couldn't fit it in, so we put that aside and had it whilse we were watching a movie later in the evening!  Well, it was Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day for yesterday, sweet precious Papa Bear!  I'm so glad you enjoyed your special day - and I'm so glad you enjoyed your special meal, too.