Lately, I have been rethinking my aversion to cooked fruit. Those of you that are close to me know that I am always complaining about mushy fruit in desserts, like apple or berries. And, those of you that only know me through this blog are probably now just realizing why this blog has so few pies, tarts, etc. I am slowly starting to realize that my issue isn’t necessarily with all types of cooked fruit, but with canned fruit or the fruit in mass-produced pastries and pies (which is probably also canned). It’s very much a texture thing with me, so cooking fruit at home gives me greater control over the texture and any other aspects that may make the fruit unpleasant for me.
Before my gradual acceptance of including cooked fruit in desserts, there were a few exceptions. Apples cooked in “apple pie filling” were meh, but apples cooked in CARAMEL SAUCE were a win. I would normally serve it over cheesecakes or ice cream, but one day I found myself wondering if I could incorporate the caramel apples into a cake. To be more specific, I decided to make a caramel apple bundt cake. After a few experiments, several of which were failures, I came up with a recipe that worked for me. The caramel apples still sink to the bottom of the pan, meaning that they end up at the top of the bundt cake. But, I decided that it doesn’t matter. The cake is delicious anyway.
The first step is to make the caramel apple filling. Melt some butter in a pan, then add chopped apples (sprinkle them with cinnamon, if you want). Cook until they start to soften and are coated in butter, then add the sugar and continue cooking until the sugar melts. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to strain the apples out of the pan and set aside. Continue cooking until it starts to turn dark amber, then remove from heat and add the cream. If it looks thin, you can return it to the heat and keep cooking after that so that it continues to thicken. Once it’s done, remove from heat and stir in the apples.
It’s best to make this a day in advance and refrigerate so that it gets firm. It will be easier to fill the bundt with a firmer filling.
Once you’re ready, you can make your batter for the caramel apple bundt cake. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs one at a time until combined. Add your (pre-sifted) dry ingredients alternately with your liquid, then pour all but about 1 cup of the batter into your greased bundt pan. Using the back of a spoon or a small spatula, trace a small “moat” in the center of the bundt. Fill it with the apple filling, taking care that it doesn’t spill over towards the edges of the pan. Top with the remaining batter and gently spread it across. It doesn’t have to cover all of the apples. The cake rises during baking, and that will take care of that.
Into the oven it goes!
When it’s done, let the caramel apple bundt cake cool in the bundt pan for no more than 10 mins before inverting. If any of the caramel apple filling leaked out, you don’t want it to harden and make your cake get stuck to the pan.
You can see parts of the caramel apple filling had started to poke out, but who cares? It’s delicious!
I could never get the apples to stay in the middle of the cake, but it tastes great regardless!
Check out those thinly sliced apples floating around up there! The caramel apple bundt cake can be served warm or at room temperature. I have never had issues storing this cake at room temperature, but feel free to refrigerate if you are squeamish about that sort of thing.
Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
For the Caramel Apple Filling
- 1/2 cup ((1 stick) butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
For the cake
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk (or regular milk)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch salt
Make the caramel apples
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cinnamon (if using). Cook, stirring, until they are coated with butter, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves and the liquid starts to boil, about 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the remaining liquid, stirring often, until it turns a deep amber. Remove the skillet from the heat to stop the cooking and add the cream. Be careful, as the cream may splatter. Return the skillet to the heat and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the apples. Allow to cool until lukewarm. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease your bundt pan (or spray with cooking spray)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
Gradually add flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Begin and end with flour mixture. Mix just until combined. Do not overmix!
Transfer batter to prepared bundt pan, reserving about 1 cup of matter. Trace a small trench in the center of the cake batter and fill with chilled caramel apple filling (you will have some left over). Top with remaining cake batter and gently spreading to cover most of the filling. Bake for 55-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for no more than 10 minutes before inverting.