I first served this on a crisp fall evening. We were eating outside and the air was just starting to get that chill that signals autumn has arrived. The comments that I heard after my family and dinner guests took the first couple of bites were: “This tastes like apple cider in cake form” and “No, it tastes just like a caramel apple” and “I think this tastes just like fall.” I like that the cake isn’t overly sweet, because the sauce is. So, if super-sweet is not your thing, you can leave off the caramel sauce. I drizzled, okay ladled, warm caramel sauce over the top and added a scoop of vanilla ice cream because…well, why not? But the next morning I had a piece of the cake sans sauce with my cup of coffee. On its own, it was light and equally delicious.
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Martina McBride
Makes: 16 servings
- 1⁄2 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups (about 2 apples) grated unpeeled Granny Smith apple
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Homemade Caramel Sauce
- Whipped cream or ice cream (optional)
Homemade Caramel Sauce:
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup half-and-half
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- Beat the butter with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy; gradually add the sugar, beating well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add the apple, beating just until blended.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt; add to the butter mixture, and mix just until blended. Stir in the walnuts, if desired.
- Pour into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes clean. Let cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Serve with Homemade Caramel Sauce and, if desired, whipped cream or ice cream.
- Caramel Sauce: Cook the sugar, half-and-half, butter, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-low for 5 to 7 minutes, whisking slowly until thickened. Remove from the heat, and let cool slightly before serving.
Tip: You can use most any kind of apple. Gala or Red Delicious work great too.
Excerpted from Martina’s Kitchen Mix by Martina McBride. Copyright © 2018 Oxmoor House. Reprinted with permission from Time Inc. Books, a division of Meredith Corporation. New York, NY. All rights reserved.