Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel

Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel.

Apple Upside Down Cake with Salted Caramel.

It’s official:  Winter is here.    Snow has fallen, plows have been out, fender benders happened, walks and driveways have been shoveled.  Black Friday took place, and we are barreling straight ahead to Christmas.  It’s time to make my list of cookies that I plan to bake, and get in the necessary ingredients.

There are quite a few apples remaining that I picked at the orchard, so let’s see what I can do to use them up during this last weekend of November.

I know that I will make applesauce and I may even make baked apples and eat them for breakfast. We like them with a little granola sprinkled on top,  or a dollop of yogurt, or both.

Baked apples filled with dried fruits.

Baked apples filled with dried fruits.

Feeling a little “out-of-sorts”, (probably because I have too many projects going right now), I decided to use some of my apples and make this upside down cake.   The recipe is an adaptation of one featured on the Food Network that used summer stone fruits, but with salted caramel in the picture I was certain that making it with apples would be just fine.  And it was.

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This recipe was a good choice as the white cake is light and mildly seasoned with vanilla and has a fine texture that I attribute to the buttermilk.  Apples with caramel and sea salt are the perfect topping, made that much better with a little ice cream on the side when you serve it.  It’s baked in a 9-inch square pan, so you will get 8 generous servings or several more if cut smaller.

It only gets better with a little ice cream on the side.

It only gets better with a little ice cream on the side.

The problem I had with this cake was getting it out of the pan intact.  The recipe suggests waiting 15 minutes after removing from the oven before turning it upside down onto a serving plate.  I did that, and still the cake broke on one corner, and stuck to the sides of the pan.  I patched it up as best I could using some of the sticky caramel for “glue”.   (note photo)   I realized I might have prevented this by running a knife around the edges of the cake before attempting to turn it out of the pan, so I suggest you do that if you make this cake.

See that broken corner?

See that broken corner?

The bright side is that it tastes so good, even when broken, that I’m happy to share my “disaster” photo with you.  We all have an occasional disaster, and there’s no shame in that.

APPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE WITH SALTED CARAMEL

Yield:   Serves 8 to 10

Ingredients:

Beautiful crisp apples, waiting to become a cake!

Beautiful crisp apples, waiting to become a cake!

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, divided
  • 2-3 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
  • 1  3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 375*F.  and coat a 9-inch-square cake pan with cooking spray.

2.  Combine 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1  1/2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan and stir until the mixture looks like wet sand.  Cook over medium-high heat, gently swirling the pan occasionally but not stirring, until light amber, about 5 minutes.   Remove from the heat and immediately pour into the prepared cake pan.  ( The caramel hardens quickly.)  Arrange the apple wedges over the caramel in 4 rows;  set the pan aside.

Lay rows of sliced apples on top of the caramel in the pan,

Lay rows of sliced apples on top of the caramel in the pan,

3.  Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining 1 cup sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour, and mix until just incorporated.  Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.

4.  Bake until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  ( Mine took 45 minutes.)  Cover the cake loosely with foil it is browning too quickly.   Remove from the oven and let sit 15 minutes, then invert onto a platter and let cool completely.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

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SOURCE:   adapted from The Food Network Magazine

 

 

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Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Caramel Apple Dip

Looking for a little something extra for your Halloween Party?  This one is easy to make and offers a different approach to caramel apples.

For some people, apple cider, apple pie, and caramel apples are some of the essential fall things, conjuring up memories of trips to the orchard, fall festivals, and such.  I have never been one to go out of my way for a caramel apple, finding them sticky and messy to eat.  But anything with caramel piques my interest, and this recipe for a dip really intrigued me.

In addition to the savory appetizers I served at Mr.D’s birthday party, I wanted something cold and fruit based, that children would like.  Let me tell you, this was definitely it.  Apples cut into thin wedges, arranged on a platter with this dip, some chunks of cheddar cheese, and some grapes made a perfect counterpoint to the hot and savory Salsa Wings and Baked Broccoli Parmesan Dip

This sweet smooth and fluffy dip is really a crowd-pleaser.  Be careful it’s so good that you won’t want to stop eating it.

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In my haste to set it out for everyone to enjoy, I forgot to take a photo of the final platter arrangement of fruit, dip, and cheese.  But what I did was set the bowl of dip in the center of a square serving platter.  In the two diagonal corners were piles of apple wedges, in another corner were the chunks of cheese, and in the fourth corner was a bunch of red grapes.  This was a pretty arrangement, with all the cool foods grouped together.

The recipe calls for 3 apples, but I cut up 6 apples, and still there was some dip leftover.  The next day, I put a small container of it and an apple in Mr. D’s lunch.  He really liked having it as a mid-day snack at work.  So this would also be good in lunch boxes for school, or as an after school snack, if you are someone looking for such ideas.

CARAMEL APPLE DIP

Yield:   2-3 cups of dipIMG_8360

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (8-ounces) low fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup marshmallow creme
  • 3 medium eating apples
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. water

Directions:

1.  In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and brown sugar,

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

Whip brown sugar with cream cheese.

add caramel topping and vanilla and beat until smooth;

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Mix in caramel topping and vanilla.

Fold in the marshmallow creme.  This can be really sticky so I used my beater on low speed to get the marshmallow mixed in evenly.

 

Fold in marshmallow creme.

Fold in marshmallow creme.

2.  Cut apples vertically into thin wedges.  In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice and water;  toss apples in the lemon juice mixture.  Drain.

3.  Serve apples with dip, and enjoy.

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Happy Halloween, everyone, and have a great weekend!

 

SOURCE:   Taste of Home

Camelitas

Carmelita Bars

Carmelita Bars

I charge 500 kisses for these bars!    That’s a lot of kisses, but boy, they’re worth it.

I have a very good friend who loves these bar cookies, and whenever he says he wants some cookies, I always say “it’s gonna cost ya”.  When he says, “how much?”,  I say, ” 500 kisses”.    He loves the cookies and I love the pay-off!  (This is all in jest, of course.)     Try baking these for someone special in your life and see what the reward will be.

Buttery crust and crumb topping.  In the middle, chocolate, caramel and nuts.

Buttery crust and crumb topping. In the middle, chocolate, caramel and nuts.

No one I know can resist a caramelita bar.  The base and top layer is made of flour, butter, oats and brown sugar, and the middle layer consists of chocolate, nuts and caramel, but you can customize this layer with whatever you may have in your pantry.  I’ve used different kinds of nuts, coconut, toffee chips and butterscotch chips.  They’re a hit however you make them.

If you need to bribe someone, do it with these!

If you need to bribe someone, do it with these!

Baked in a 13 x 9-inch pan you get about 32 bars.  You will need to let them cool about 30 minutes and then run a knife around the edge of the pan to prevent the caramel from sticking.  Once cool, they cut neatly into the desired number of squares or bars.

CARMELITAS

Yield:   about 32 barsIMG_4247

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 package caramels ( 14 – 16 oz.) unwrapped**
  • 1/2 cup milk or cream**
  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, walnuts, or other kinds

Directions:

1.  In a medium saucepan, combine the caramels and milk or cream.  Heat gently, and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside.

**My tip:  a quick and easy step-saver is to use a jar of caramel ice-cream topping instead.  It works just as well and I think is less costly. You will need to use 1 1/4  cups of prepared caramel topping if you go this route.

2.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease, or line with parchment, a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

3.  In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt.  Mix at low speed just to combine.  Add the butter, a chunk at a time, with the mixer running.   Once all the butter is in, add the egg.

4.  Reserve 1 1/2 cups of this mixture for the topping.  Pour the remainder into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.  You can lay a piece of plastic wrap on the surface and then use a loaf pan to press it down evenly.  Remove the plastic wrap, and bake for 10 minutes.

5.  After removing the base from the oven, sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.  Drizzle the caramel sauce over the them, and then sprinkle the reserved base mixture over the top.  Press down lightly to help it adhere.   Bake for 25 to 28 minutes, until the top is golden brown.  Remove from the oven and cool at least 30 minutes before cutting.

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SOURCE:  Cooks.com