applesauce spice cake with butter caramel glaze


I'm going to go ahead and call this the cake of the year. Or at least, of my year. Of all my baking adventures in 2013, this incredibly warm, spicy cake has a tiny bit of tartness from the apples and a sweet hit of richness from the glaze. Totally hits the spot for a fall or winter gathering, holiday desserts, you name it. Though the glaze looks insanely (dare I say beautifully?) intense here, don't worry: it's just enough sweetness that, once it sets, doesn't feel so heavy.

For this recipe you'll need:

For the cake:

2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 large eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

4 tablespoons of butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup of light cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 to 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted

To get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a large Bundt pan. Set aside. Whisk together your flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and spices in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat both eggs with your sugars until light and airy. Add the applesauce, oil and vanilla and mix on low until smooth. 

With a rubber spatula, fold your flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Once the cake is out of the oven, let it cool for about 10 minutes on a wire rack before flipping the pan over. As long as the pan was well-greased, it should be no trouble at all to remove.  Allow to cool completely, which will take about an hour. The longest hour of your life? Probably. Although, when I know I'm baking for a crowd and I can't taste-test the results right away, I have slightly (though only slightly) fewer ants in my pants. Exactly.

After some time has passed, you can get started on your glaze, which is no doubt the best part. Or is it? Who can tell, it's all good. In a small saucepan, melt your butter down over medium heat. Add your brown sugar, salt and light cream. Whisk to combine, then bring to a rolling boil while stirring constantly. Allow to boil for only one minute, still stirring, and then remove from heat. It should be resemble a slightly runny, syrupy texture. Add your powdered sugar in quarter-cup increments. It's hard to know how much you'll need until you actually get started, so just whisk in small amounts and test the thickness. It should get a little gooier but still be easy to pour. That makes sense, right? It is caramel, after all.

Next, lay a piece of tin foil or parchment paper under the wire rack to catch any drips that you may or may not eat. Slowly pour your warm glaze over the cake, layering until you run out. Or until you decide to finish off the rest with a spoon. It's the holidays, so really, who's judging?