The caramel sauce adds a layer of richness and complexity, a counterpoint to the tart, spiced apples in this easy-to-assemble, moist cake.
Make Ahead: The baked pudding cake can be cooled and refrigerated a day in advance; reheat on LOW in a microwave oven until just warmed through. The sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance; reheat in a nonstick saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth.
Servings: 8 - 10
- For the cake
- 1 1/4 cups flour, plus 2 tablespoons for the apples
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- Large pinch salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) melted unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large tart-firm apples, such as Granny Smith, Jonagold or Cortland, peeled and cut in 1/4-inch wedges (a heaping 3 cups)
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup pecan halves, toasted and coarsely chopped
- For the sauce
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Generous pinch salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use nonstick cooking oil spray to grease a 9-inch pie plate.
Sift the 1 1/4 cups flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then stir in the salt.
Combine the milk, melted butter and vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.
While stirring with a wooden spoon, slowly add the milk mixture to the flour to form a thick batter; lumps are okay.
Toss the apple wedges with the brown sugar, cinnamon and the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour in a separate mixing bowl to coat them evenly, then gently fold the apples into the batter. Transfer the batter to the pie plate, using a spatula to spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle evenly with the pecans. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the pudding rises slightly, the top turns a golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pie plate to a wire cooling rack to cool.
While the pudding cake bakes, make the sauce: Combine the sugar, water, corn syrup and salt in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium-high; once the mixture comes to a boil, cook for about 8 minutes, gently swirling the pan a few times but not stirring, until the bubbling mixture takes on a medium-brown color. Remove from the heat.
Carefully whisk in the cream (it will steam up) for about 1 minute and the vanilla extract to form an evenly caramel-colored sauce. The yield is a scant 1 cup.
When ready to serve, cut the apple pudding into wedges. Divide among individual plates, with a generous drizzle of the caramel on or next to each portion.
From food writer Tony Rosenfeld.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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