I was inspired by the idea of Caramel Apples rolled in nuts for a cake and searched the Internet for a recipe using these ingredients, having no doubt there was some genius out there that thought of this before me. I am usually seduced by pictures and certain components to a recipe, so the recipe for the King Arthur's Caramel-Apple Walnut Cake looked like a winner and I needed a dessert for a dinner party.
I thought the cake had excellent vanilla and cinnamon flavor and was dense, which you want to have with this type of cake, but it came out a bit dry and crumbly. The recipe noted that if the cake was over-baked, that this would be the result. I don't think that is what I did....because trust me, I know how to over-bake a cake. I was so infactuated with the concept of this dessert that I decided it would be worth tweaking. I had a batter that was more consistent and moist and was thick enough to support the apples. The end result was outstanding. This is a dense, moist cake, as with the previous recipe, the flavor of the caramel and pecans are enhanced by the sea salt. I brought this cake to work and immediately had requests to bake it for a profit and let me tell you, these girls do not like parting with their money, so although I knew it was ridiculously good, it was validating to have been offered payment to re-create the dessert and to be asked for the recipe. This Apple Cake will definitely be on my Thankgiving table.
Apple Cake with Pecans and Salted Caramel
1 1/2 cups of sugar
3 large eggs
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups of AP flour
2 tbs brown sugar
14 oz bag of caramels
3 tbs cream
1 cup toasted pecans
1 tbs sea salt
Pre-heat oven to 350, generously coat 9 inch springform pan with baking spray.
Peel, core and cube apples ( feel free to be more decorative) and toss with 2 tbs brown sugar and 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract, set aside.
In a bowl with mixer, beat the sugar and eggs at high speed until fluffy about 2 minutes, beat in butter until incorporated. In separate bowl mix flour and 1 tsp cinnamon, add flour to egg and butter mixture, then beat in the remaining 1 tsp.vanilla.
Pour batter into pan and smooth over. Add apples and push into dough slightly. Bake cake for approximately 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and cover with aluminum foil until cool.
Toast pecans in a 350 oven for about 5 minutes, do not burn.
In a pan, add caramel and cream, stir until melted. You can use microwave, but be careful not to overcook.
To Assemble: Once cake is completely cooled, remove from spring-form pan, the cake will stick slightly to bottom of pan, use a butter knife or pie cutter to loosen. Once cake is plated, use a spoon to drizzle half of caramel over cake and sprinkle pecans over caramel, then use remaining caramel to to drizzle over pecans. Sprinkle sea salt over entire cake.