Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apple Cider-Caramel Cake, Gluten-Free

Walking all over the internet for pumpkin recipes, I came across this one. It didn't have any reviews but how could apple cider and caramel be wrong?

It is supposed to be a light recipe but I fattened it up, substituting butter for margarine, regular buttermilk and cream cheese instead of low-fat. The idea of using breadcrumbs to prepare the pan was a little disturbing to me, and since I was making this gluten-free anyway, used gluten-free flour.

Apple Cider-Caramel Cake
from My Recipes

2 1/4 c apple cider, divided
2 1/4 c granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp butter
3 c sliced peeled cooking apple (such as Braeburn, Rome, or McIntosh)
1/2 c butter, softened
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1 (8-oz) pkg. cream cheese
3 large eggs
6 tbsp fresh lemon juice, divided
3 c gluten-free all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp powdered sugar

Bring 2 cups cider to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1/2 cup (about 20 minutes).

Full saucepan at the on-set, after 7 minutes, and then after 24 minutes. I considered measuring the final volume but I didn't.

Reduce heat to medium-high; stir in 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Cook 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves and cider is thick and dark-colored, stirring occasionally.

This is the change after four minutes. And then I let it cook another couple of minutes because I wasn't sure if I really saw a color change after staring at it constantly.

Remove from heat; cool 1 minute. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter.

Stir in apple; cook 15 minutes over medium-high heat or until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; cool. (If apple mixture hardens, place it over low heat until softened).

Preheat oven to 325°. Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with butter; dust with flour.

Combine 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/2 cup butter, lemon rind, and cream cheese in a large bowl; beat at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes).

I chose to do this in two steps: first combine the butter and cream cheese, then the sugar and zest.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in 2 tablespoons lemon juice.

Combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Fold in apple mixture.

Pour into prepared pan; bake at 325° for 60-90 hours or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Who knows if smoothing the batter makes a difference to a bundt, but I did it before baking the cake for 60 minutes.

Combine 1/4 cup cider, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and vanilla; let stand until sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.

Cool cake in pan 5 minutes, and pierce with a wooden skewer in several places. Pour cider mixture over cake in pan, and let stand 10 minutes.

Remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

Sift powdered sugar over top of cake.

I waited until the morning to sprinkle on the sugar. I didn't want this specimen-like thing to happen again.

I took this to work and the consensus was, "uh, nice try but don't do that again." The cake part was good, but the apples were bitter. The sugar was much too cooked, aka, burnt. I might've reduced the apple cider too much but I definitely went way too long and too hot after adding the sugar. Staring at the caramel sauce as it cooked was probably not the brightest thing I've ever done since the color change was indistinguishable over those few minutes. And the cook time after adding the apples was just way too long. If I do this again, I will heed these words.

  • apple cider: $0.70
  • granulated sugar: $0.53
  • butter: $0.45
  • apples: $0.73
  • lemons: $1.28
  • cream cheese: $1.49
  • eggs: $0.95
  • gluten-free all-purpose flour: $2.90
  • buttermilk: $0.26
  • vanilla extract: $0.08
  • powdered sugar: $0.02
Total: $9.39 or about $0.52 for each of 18 servings. Normally I'd laugh my head off - 18 servings in a bundt? In this case since the apples were gross 18 was probably on the low end.