Caramel Apple Cake
Why This Recipe Works
For an awesome dessert to showcase fall's bounty of apples, we sandwiched slightly salted, bittersweet caramel between layers of warm-spice-specked applesauce cake. We wanted the cake to be supermoist and sing with the concentrated flavor of apples. To achieve this, we turned to applesauce (a great source of moisture) and apple cider. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves provided warm, spicy notes. And rather than stick with the vegetable oil called for in so many snack cake recipes, we opted for melted butter for its rich flavor. We made the caramel filling extra-thick so it wouldn't seep out when the cake was cut. By cooking the sugar to a deep amber color, we tempered the sweetness of the caramel. Butter and heavy cream transformed the mixture into a thick but spreadable filling while just ½ teaspoon of salt gave it the right salty-sweet balance. Frosting the whole cake with caramel buttercream tied all the components together, and crafting roses out of thinly sliced apples proved to be a surprisingly simple decoration with high visual impact.