My friend Jess and I were in charge of baking for Friday afternoon teas at Adams House, one of Harvard's residential undergraduate houses, for four years. This apple cake was a mainstay at the teas. As word spread about our baked goods, people outside of our House began to sneak into our events - including the entire men's swimming team on occasion. If that's not an endorsement, I don't know what is! —rachel325
1 1/2 cups
chopped, peeled apples (a mix of Granny Smith, Cortlands, Jonathans, or other local farmstead apples)
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a Bundt pan (or 9X13 pan).
In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the eggs. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and then mix in vanilla.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, soda, and salt. Add these to the wet ingredients and mix until blended.
Use a spatula to scrape bowl and ensure that everything is incorporated. Fold in the apples and pecans.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 20 minutes then invert the Bundt pan on a serving platter. (Do not invert and just keep in pan if using 9X13 pan.)
MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAUCE: Place sugar in a medium heavy saucepan. Pour water and corn syrup over the sugar.
Turn on the stove to medium-high and begin to heat the sugar mixture. Swirl pan gently until sugar dissolves, but do not let it boil. Use a slightly damp pastry brush to mix back any wayward crystals into the sauce.
Once the sugar is melted, turn the heat to high, cover, and cook for 2 minutes. Do not stir.
Remove the lid and continue cooking/swirling until the sauce begins to turn dark amber and just begins to smoke.
Remove from heat and add the butter, one piece at a time, stirring well to incorporate. Gently whisk in the cream. Be careful in case sauce bubbles up. If, as has happened to me, disaster strikes and the sauce becomes lumpy, don't panic - just set it over low heat and stir until smooth.
Stir in vanilla and a pinch of salt. Let cool slightly.
Poke holes in warm cake with a fork and then pour the warm syrup over the cake. Serve plain or with vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.