I love this home-y spiced apple cake, which takes on a dramatic appearance when baked in my favorite Nordic Ware Heritage Bundt Pan. The pan’s swirled design creates lots of deep crevices to hold this cake’s accompanying Caramel-Rum Sauce. Big note: be sure to use shortening (which has a higher fat content than butter) to grease the pan, and brush every nook and cranny so the cake doesn’t stick to the pan when you unmold it. Another tip: make the sauce while the cake is baking – that way the cake and the sauce can cool down at the same time, and you’ll be ready to spring into action once they have both cooled.
Makes one 9- or 10-inch Bundt cake, serving 10
- 2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 13 tablespoons (183 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups (270 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (120 grams) apple juice or apple cider
- ¾ cup (181 grams) sour cream
- 1 ½ medium Honeycrisp or Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 2/3 cups/180 grams apple cubes)
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (59 grams) water
- 2/3 cup (155 grams) heavy cream
- 4 tablespoons (58 grams) unsalted butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dark rum (I use Myers’s)
Make the cake:
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325˚F. Brush the interior of a 9-inch (10-cup) or 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan (I used the Nordic Ware Heritage pan) well with shortening (make sure to get every nook and cranny), then dust it with flour, tapping out the excess.
- In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium-high speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add both the sugars and beat at high speed until light, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Add the vanilla and mix until blended. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating them with the sour cream and apple juice in two additions and mixing just until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and fold in the apple cubes by hand. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 75 to 80 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes.
- Invert the cake onto a wire rack and remove the pan. Cool completely.
Make the sauce:
- Half fill a small cup with water and place a pastry brush in it (this will be used for brushing down the sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals from forming). Place the cup next to the stove.
- In a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring and cook the sugar, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with the wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals that form. Cook until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber brown color. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the heavy cream (the mixture will bubble up furiously, so be careful). Stir to combine, then return the pan to the heat for another minute or so, to dissolve any hardened bits of sugar. Add the butter, salt and rum and stir gently until the butter is melted. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the sauce to a heatproof glass measure with a pouring spout. Let stand at room temperature for about 45 minutes, until it is just warm and has thickened slightly.
- Right before serving, place the cake on a serving plate and pour about half of the Caramel Rum Sauce over it, letting it drip down the sides. Serve the remaining sauce alongside in a small pitcher.