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Author Notes: This is what popped into my head when the contest was announced. Unfortunately I'm not a cake girl. Enter Shirley Corriher's CookWise (a well timed Christmas present). After three tries, some very wise caramel advice from hardlikearmour (thank you, friend!!), I think I've created my first cake. —gingerroot
For Apple, Walnut, Sage & Caramel
- 1 crisp, sweet, slightly tart apple, such as a Braeburn
- 5 tablespoons walnuts
- 5 sage leaves, washed and dried (approx. 2 inch)
- 1/4 cup water
- squeeze of lemon
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- unsalted butter for greasing the pan
For the Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup corn flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons crème fraiche
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 large egg white, at room temperature
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round and butter the top of the paper.
- Halve and core the apple. Cut apple into 1/4 inch slices, as uniform as possible. Lay apple slices in your prepared pan, slightly overlapping. Arrange last pieces as desired in center.
- In a mini-prep processor, pulse 2 T of walnuts and sage leaves until walnuts are a mixture of fine pieces with chunks, and the sage is finely chopped. Add remaining walnuts and pulse a few more times. You want the walnuts to be varied in texture. Spoon walnut sage mixture over apples.
- Make caramel by putting water and squeeze of lemon (1/4 t) into saucepan. Mound sugar in the middle. Cover and bring mixture to a boil, swirling pan occasionally. Once sugar dissolves, mixture will bubble vigorously. After about 10 minutes, mixture should be fragrant and amber. Remove from heat and whisk in salted butter, 1 T at a time (be careful, mixture will be bubbling!). Carefully pour caramel over prepared apples. Allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk cake flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- Combine milk, crème fraiche and vanilla in a small bowl (I used my one cup measure). Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer, cream butter for 3 minutes, scraping down sides with spatula as necessary. Add sugar all at once and continue to mix and scrape, for another 3 minutes. Add whole eggs, one at a time, mixing in between. Continue to mix and scrape for another minute.
- Alternating between the flour mixture and the milk mixture, add to batter in three additions, mixing on low after each. Be careful to only mix until blended - do not over mix.
- With clean beaters, whip egg white until you have soft peaks. Fold into batter in two additions. Pour batter into cake pan, smoothing evenly with a spatula. Bake until fragrant, golden brown and when poked with a tester it comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Allow cake to cool before inverting onto a serving plate. Enjoy!
- Note: Cake may be made one day ahead and stored in an airtight container.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Walnuts
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Walnuts & Sage