What is sweet and tangy, moist and sticky and all around delicious? The answer is, this sticky apple date cake from Brooklyn Supper. I love this cake and it is a real treat for the senses. Filled with both dates and apples it is rich and dense. And when you add in a generous amount of fresh ginger, you are rewarded with a surprisingly zippiness in every bite. The ginger takes you by surprise but its warming flavor completes this cake making it a welcome treat. And by all means, don’t skip the caramel sauce. It makes this already great cake extra special. I love to serve the cake slightly warm; it makes the sauce extra drippy and delicious.
STICKY APPLE DATE CAKE
For the cake:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups copped dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
6 tablespoons peeled, minced, fresh ginger
1 1/2 cups sweet-tart apples peeled, cored and cut into a 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups)
For the sauce:
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, bring the dates and water to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until dates start to soften, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and immediately stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat butter and sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy 3 – 4 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then add the ginger.
- Add flour mixture and beat until just combined.
- Stir in the date mixture and then fold in the apples.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 40 – 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the sauce by combining the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted and the sugar’s dissolved – about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the cream, bring mixture to a gentle simmer, and then turn heat to low.
- Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce has thickened, 5 – 7 minutes. Set sauce aside to cool slightly.
- Cool the cake for 15 minutes, then remove sides and set on a serving plate.
- Use a toothpick to poke holes all over cake. Pour half the warm sauce over the cake.
- Slice, and serve warm cake with a generous drizzle of sauce.
- Leftovers will store well wrapped at room temperature for 3 days.
Pineapple upside down cake is common, but orange? With salted caramel? Why not? These popular flavors are good on their own but even better when served together. I came across this recipe in the Food Network Magazine, which is not a magazine I read regularly but came across while sitting in a waiting room. I took one look at the cake and was immediately intrigued. I made a few adaptations, substituted the almond flour I had on hand for the ground almonds called for in the original recipe, and was good to go. What resulted was a sweet and salty gooey cake that was a resounding success with everyone at the dinner table. Enjoy!
SALTED CARAMEL ORANGE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE
For the caramel:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
For the cake:
1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 cup buttermilk
Sea salt, for sprinkling
- To make the caramel: Combine the sugar, 1/3 cup water, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring just until the sugar dissolves.
- Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, but not stirring, until amber 8-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully whisk in the butter.
- Pour the caramel into a 9-inch round cake pan, tilting the pan so the caramel coats the bottom. Set aside.
- Slice off the top and bottom of each orange and cut off the peel and white pith using a chef’s knife, following the curve of the fruit. Cut along each side of the membrane to remove the segments. Discard any seeds and place in a decorative pattern in the caramel. Set aside.
- To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and whisk to combine.
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with a mixer set on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in the orange zest.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour in three additions alternating with the buttermilk, until just smooth.
- Pour the batter over the top of the orange slices and smooth the top.
- Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Transfer to a rack and let cool slightly, then run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan.
- Invert the cake onto a serving plate and allow to cool completely.
- Sprinkle with the sea salt before serving.
If you love bacon and the combination of sweet and savory the way I do, you are sure to become a fan of this dish. Courtesy of Cuisine at Home magazine, I can’t decide if these skewers make better appetizers or desserts. Since the sweetness of the caramel and chocolate are foiled by the saltiness of the bacon, you can place the skewers upright in a glass and place them on a buffet table as a part of a brunch feast or serve them individually as a part of an appetizer plate. These skewers can also make a surprise appearance on a dessert plate alongside a fruit salad. Or, if you are feeling truly decadent, you can eat them as is for a lazy weekend mid-afternoon treat. However you serve them they are sure to disappear so be sure the cook gets his or her share.
Do be sure to use a thick cut bacon since thinner slices are more apt to burn and won’t give you enough surface area for your caramel and chocolate to adhere to and as always, use the best quality of chocolate you can find. You will notice the difference.
BACON SKEWERS w/ CARAMEL & GANACHE
For the bacon:
1 pound thick sliced bacon (about 14 slices)
14 wooden skewers
- Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Coat a broiler pan with cooking spray.
- Weave each piece of bacon onto a wooden skewer and place on the prepared broiler pan.
- Place the bacon in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, flip each skewer over and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until the bacon is browned and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and place on a plate lined with paper towels.
- Transfer the bacon skewers to a parchment lined baking sheet and set aside while you make the caramel.
For the caramel:
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place the brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Allow to boil for 1 minute.
- Whisk in the cream and boil for an additional 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Drizzle each bacon skewer with the caramel.
- Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator to allow the caramel to set while you make the ganache.
For the ganache:
3 tablespoons heavy cream
3 ounces good quality milk chocolate, chopped
- Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate.
- Let the mixture sit for 3-4 minutes then whisk the chocolate into the cream until it is smooth.
- Drizzle the chocolate over the second side of each bacon skewer.
- Allow the chocolate to set then serve.
Yields: 14 skewers