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New Fall Favorite Recipe: Browned Butter Caramelized Apple Spice Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce

Autumn isn’t complete without a visit (or two or three!) to a local orchard for some apple picking! It’s been a cool, rainy past few weeks, but the apples don’t seem to mind; they were as beautiful as ever. We visited several of our favorite orchards in northern Wisconsin on the Bayfield peninsula, which has optimal growing conditions for so many varieties of fruit. Rich soil combined with warm days and cool nights, as well as an extended growing season due to lake effect warmth from nearby Lake Superior results in A+ fruit. It’s such fun to taste all of the apple-related goodies that each orchard produces too: apple cinnamon doughnuts, apple ciders…the list goes on and on. Definitely a highlight of the fall season.

Browned Butter Caramelized Apple Spice Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce

Preparation: Generously butter and flour a 10-12 cup Bundt pan. Preheat oven to 350 F.

For apples:

  • 3 medium apples (any firm/crisp variety will work; we prefer semi-sweet flavor for this recipe)
  • 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

Melt butter over medium heat in a saute pan, stirring continually until lightly browned, with a nutty aroma. Add apples and toss to coat in butter evenly. Saute butter & apple mixture for 3-4 minutes, stirring once per minute. Ideally, apples with begin to brown, but do not allow them to soften or get burned. Add sugars and lemon juice and stir to coat apples. Once a caramely sauce has formed and sugar has melted, remove apples from heat and pour into prepared Bundt pan, spreading apples so they’re distributed evenly in the bottom of your pan.

For cake:

This cake can be made using our Cinnamon Spice cake mix following box instructions, or can be made from scratch using the following recipe if you do not have our mix:

  • 12 Tbsp (1 ½ sticks) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger (or 1 tsp fresh grated ginger root)
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 1 medium apple, peel on, finely grated (omit core and stem)

In a mixer, combine first 8 ingredients and mix until well blended. Add salt & baking soda and mix to combine. With mixer on low, alternate adding flour and apple cider and mix until just combined. Add grated apple and mix briefly on low til evenly distributed. Pour into prepared pan on top of sautéed apple mixture and bake on a middle oven shelf 40-45 minutes, until center of cake results in a ‘clean’ toothpick test. While cake is baking, prepare cider sauce recipe:

For Cider Caramel sauce:

2 cups hard apple cider (regular may be substituted)

¾ cup sugar

Pinch of salt

¼ cup heavy cream

In a small saucepan, boil hard cider on high heat until reduced by half, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add sugar and continue to boil over medium heat an additional 2-3 minutes until thick, syrupy consistency has been achieved. Remove from heat and add salt and cream, stirring to combine.

To complete:

Remove cake from oven and while still warm in pan, use a wooden skewer to poke 20-30 holes into the bottom of the cake. Pour ½ of caramel mixture across holes, which will absorb the mixture. Remove cake from pan after 5-7 minutes of cooling time in total. Finish cooling completely, 1 to 1.5 hrs, then drizzle with remaining caramel sauce and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Serves 10-12.