Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Recipe: Apple Sponge Cake with Caramel Sauce

This recipe was adapted for US bakers from a recipe entitled Apple Pepper Pot Cake in the British version of the Jamie Oliver cook book Jamie's Great Britain.  It makes great use of local apples and hard cider, and is a very unique cake - the caramel sauce alone is a revelation.

Caramel Sauce:

1 stick butter (use the best quality you can, salted or unsalted depends on preference, but I generally use salted)
1 cup raw or brown sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
Pinch of ground gloves
3 heaping tablespoons of creme fraiche

Sponge Cake:

About 6 small apples such as Braeburn (enough to cover the bottom of the baking dish when cut into quarters)
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup raw or granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
3/4 cup hard apple cider
2 oranges for zesting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit.

Grease a 10" round baking dish or cast iron pan with butter, and line the bottom with greased parchment paper.

Core and quarter the apples and set aside.

In a separate saucepan, also at least 10", melt the butter for the caramel sauce on low heat.  Add the other ingredients and bring to a boil, then turn down to allow the sauce to simmer, and add the apple quarters in one layer.  Continue to cook for about twenty minutes, occasionally stirring and turning the apples, allowing the fruit to soften and the caramel to thicken.

While the apples and caramel are cooking, begin to cream the butter and sugar for the sponge.  Mix in the eggs one at a time, then add half the flour, the baking soda, and the cider.  Mix well, then add the remaining flour and the orange zest.

Spoon the apples out of the caramel, trying not to take too much of the sauce with them, and place them on the parchment in the baking dish.  Then pour the sponge batter over the apples, and spread it evenly.  Bake 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Once it comes out of the oven, allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes, then carefully invert it on to a plate. 

While the cake is baking, the caramel can be set aside at room temperature.  Once the cake is cooling, turn the heat on to low for the caramel and stir in the creme fraiche.  After the cake is inverted on the plate, pour over the caramel sauce, and serve warm.

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