Having made a giant batch of applesauce this fall (unpeeled apples, a pinch of salt, lemon juice and nothing else), I realized last week that what was left would probably ferment if I didn't do something with it, and quick. So, I decided to whip up one of my favorite desserts, a spiced applesauce cake. Previously, I've made a fresh ginger glaze for it that tastes delicious but sort of curdles and doesn't look all that pretty. This time, I found inspiration in a rich, sweet, Southern-stye caramel icing from Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook, which I've made a few times for other cakes. But I wanted a true glaze, not an icing, so off to the interwebs I went.
Imagine my delight when I came across the perfect recipe on the blog of our very own TheRunawaySpoon! I adapted the measurements slightly, as I found I needed a little less powdered sugar to keep my glaze runny enough to drizzle, and it turned out to be the perfect complement to this tender, spiced and just slightly sweet cake. Thank you, TheRunawaySpoon, for your help, and I hope you all enjoy this cake and have a very happy New Year!
Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze
For the cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened (preferably homemade) applesauce
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the caramel glaze:
- 4 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 to 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and spices and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs with both sugars until light. Mix in the applesauce, oil and vanilla until smooth.
2. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning it out and cooling completely on the rack -- make sure the cake is not at all warm before you make the glaze.
3. TheRunawaySpoon wisely advises that you put a piece of foil or paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips before you start the glaze. Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat.
4. Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.
Note: If you're serving this cake to demanding or hyper-observant guests (What? Did I say that?), you may want to glaze the cake right on the plate you plan to use to serve it, forgoing the rack. As soon the glaze has even the slightest chance to set, it will crack if you try to transfer the cake from rack to serving plate.