Harvest Apple Cake with Caramel Frosting

October 25th, 2010

I am not a great cake baker.  There is something in my nature that rebels against following a recipe to a tee.  I am too haphazard in my approach to baking.  It makes me nervous to level flour and fill teaspoons just so. So when faced with baking a cake for David’s birthday,  I was a bit trepidatious.  We had some wonderful apple crisp type apples and the allure of cinnamon and other spices were calling me so I made a cake combining several recipes that included these ingredients.  The only frosting that would work this time of year was a caramel frosting to mirror the idea of taffy apples.

We also had company this past weekend and I decided, because of my klutzy ways with cake decorating,  I wanted no one present when I attempted to frost the cake.  The kids, their friends and all of the children went for a hike on Chimney Rock.  Of course David was here and had to suffer through my expletives over “his special cake”.  I’m sure by the time I was finished he was wishing that he had never had a birthday.

The cake had turned out moist and beautiful just as the recipe had promised.  I had made it two days ahead of time and put the layers in the fridge.  The frosting was another story and it was all my fault.  For some reason, I decided that it was too runny in the pan after following the exact directions so I dumped in more confectioner’s sugar.  Big mistake.  The frosting seized up and became very dry, so spreading it was “an expletive deleted” nightmare.  But the cute pumpkin candies covered up my mistakes.  So if you decide to make this cake, please follow the directions.  Happy Birthday David.  Actually the cake was delicious in spite of myself.


1 1/2 cups oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamnon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 1/2 cups flour
3 cups grated apples

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put oil, sugar and eggs into the bowl of a mixer.  Beat until creamy on low speed.  Sift flour and other dry ingredients together.  With mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in three additions and blending until incoporated each time.  Remove bowl from mixer and fold in the grated apples.

Grease and flour 2 8″ or 9″ inch cake pans.  Pour batter in the pans.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center of cake comes out clean.  Cool in pans for about 10 minutes and then invert onto rack to cool.  Wrap layers and cool in fridge if not ready to frost.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 box confectioners’ sugar

Cook butter and sugar together until well blended.  Add 1/4 cup milk and 1 box confectioners’ sugar.  Mix and add just enough milk to spread.

Easy Pastry Shop Apple Tart

September 21st, 2010

We are still enjoying the Honey Crisp apples that we brought back from Michigan.  I thought about making a traditional apple pie, but the weather has been so hot this month that a pie seemed too heavy to be enjoyed properly.  Laura Calder to the rescue!  I am enjoying her French Food at Home show on the new Cooking Channel.  One of the things I’ve noticed about her is the simplicity of her recipes and the fact that she uses very few kitchen gadgets.  She whips her cream by hand in a copper bowl, she chops and dices without the aid of a food processor, and her kitchen always seems so serene.  Now I’m not saying that I am giving up my kitchen gadgets, but I love the sense of calm that she projects in her kitchen.  You can almost hear the birds singing in her yard.  But I digress (borrowed that one from My Year on the Grill).

Laura made this simple apple tart last week.  The crust is cookie-like, comes together simply and is patted into either a springform pan or a tart pan.  I considered using my 9 inch tart pan, but thought the filling would overflow, so I made it in my high- sided springform pan.  Next time, I will be brave and use the tart pan because the filling takes up very little space and I love the ridges that result on the crust.

But what makes this tart so special is the cream cheese filling.  It is what makes this “Pastry Shop” good!  You know those wonderful cream filled pastries that you get from the bakery.  That is what this tart tastes like.  It is so good that I had it for breakfast one morning with my coffee and I was enraptured.  The gilding on the lily of this tart is the layer of cinnamon spiced apple slices with almonds scattered about.  Simple and decadent at the same time.  A perfect tart.


For the crust:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vinilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

For the cream filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the top:
3 apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Make the crust:  Cream the butter and sugar.  Stir in the vanilla.  Finally, mix in the flour to make a smooth dough.  Press into the botton of an 8-inch springform pan (I used a 9-inch pan or a 9-inch tart pan), giving it about a 1-inch rim.  Bake 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.  Remove the tart shell from the oven.

While the crust bakes, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla for the cream filling until smooth.  Make the topping by tossing the apple slices with the cinnamon and sugar.

Spread the cream cheese mixture into the tart shell.  Arrange the apple slices on top in a spiral pattern and then scatter the nuts on top.  Bake until the apples are tender and golden, about 40 minutes.

I am submitting this recipe to the Hearth ‘n Soul blog hop.  Go over to Girlichef’s blog to see all of the wonderful “REAL” food entries this week.

Printable recipe

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.