It’s officially autumn here in Southern California. They days are lovely and warm and nights are brisk and cool. I can no longer wear shorts and flip flops to Boy Mimi's Friday night football games. I actually need a jacket to stay warm (okay so it’s only a cotton jacket not a parka). I am not complaining - the cool weather is a welcome change. Besides needing long pants and a jacket, the cool weather makes a slice of this moist apple cake, drizzled with warm caramel sauce and paired with a hot drink a great way to celebrate a victory or console yourself after a defeat.
This cake is one I have been making for many years. It's loaded with apples, raisins and toasted nuts. The caramel sauce is an old stand by from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. It's one I always have on hand to dress up apple, pear and pumpkin desserts in the fall and ice cream sundaes in the summer.
Apple Raisin Cake with Caramel Sauce
1/1/2 cup AP flour
½ cup cake flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch each cloves, mace and ginger
1 cup unsalted butter
1/1/2 cups sugar
2 ½ cups peeled chopped granny smith apples
2/3 cup raisin, plumped in 1/3 cup bourbon and drained
½ cup chopped roasted pecans.
Plump raisins: Place raisin in a small pan, add bourbon and heat to a simmer. Turn off heat. Let raisins soak for at least 10 minutes. When ready to use drain, reserving the liquid.
Butter and flour a 9 inch spring form pan.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
In a medium bowl mix together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and all spices.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add 1 tablespoon of the bourbon reserved from the raisin, beat until light and fluffy about 30 seconds.
Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the apples, raisins and nut. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely.
While cake is baking make Caramel Sauce:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1 cup cream
2 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Blend the sugar and water in a 1 ½ qt sauce pan and bring to a simmer, brushing the sugar from the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and water. Remove from heat and swirl the pan by the handle to make sure all of the sugar has dissolved and the liquid is perfectly clear. Return pan to moderately high heat; cover and boil for several minutes. After a minute or so peek at syrup, when the bubbles are thick uncover the pan.
Continue boiling, swirling the pan by the handle until the syrup begins to color. When it is a light caramel color remove from the heat and continue swirling and the color will darken more. To stop cooking place bottom of the pan in cool water.
Slowly add the cream, which will congeal the caramel. Return pan to low heat and simmer, stirring until the caramel dissolves. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Use warm or cooled. Refrigerated in a covered jar, the sauce will keep for weeks.