Monday, September 1, 2014

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake for Book Clubs

Welcome to all our readers who belong to book clubs! While I agree with Victoria Abbott about chocolate, both MURDER, SHE BARKED, and THE GHOST AND MRS. MEWER take place in the fall, so apple cake seemed appropriate. In the books, Holly Miller is taking up her grandmother's offer to become a partner in the Sugar Maple Inn on Wagtail Mountain.

The inn serves breakfast, lunch, and afternoon tea, so there are always wonderful goodies available. If your book club is meeting for dinner, you might want to try Oma's Hungarian Goulash, which you can prepare in advance. But I would guess most book clubs really just need some coffee or wine and a delicious cake. This is the kind of thing that would be served at afternoon tea at the Sugar Maple Inn.

I was inspired when I saw a recipe for an apple cake with caramel on top. We have gobbled this up – just can't get enough of it. The cake is packed with applesauce and grated apples, which make it very moist and the overly sweet caramel on top is irresistible.

Two tips for making this cake. First, when you add the grated apples to the batter, take a minute to rinse off all the parts of your food processor. It will make cleanup so much easier!

Second, use sugar instead of flour to prevent the cake from sticking to your bundt pan. I just read about this and did a quick Internet search to be sure I was doing it correctly. There's nothing to it. Be sure to butter your pan very well, then just sprinkle sugar on it, much like you would flour. The key is to do it just before adding the batter so that the sugar doesn't start to melt. I have never had a bundt cake turn out so easily and perfectly before. Plus, it adds a little sugar to the cake. You'll notice that I removed one tablespoon of sugar from the recipe, just so the cake won't be overly sweet. Then I added one more tablespoon to get full greasing coverage on the pan.

All you need now is a good book, good friends, and a great cup of coffee.

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake


1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup pecans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) butter at room temperature + extra for greasing the pan
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar + extra
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 cup applesauce
2 medium apples, peeled and cored

Place flour, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the pecans are fine. Transfer the flour mixture to a bowl. Insert the grating disk and grate the apples.

Preheat oven to 350.

Take 1 tablespoon of sugar out of the plain sugar and set it aside. Cream the butter with the sugars. Beat in the eggs. Alternate adding applesauce and the flour mixture until completely combined. Stir in the grated apples.

Grease the bundt pan liberally. Sprinkle the extra sugar on the butter. You may need another tablespoon of sugar for full coverage. Use a cooking spoon to ladle the batter into the bundt pan and smooth the top. Bake 40 minutes or until it begins to pull away from the sides and a cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to rest on a baking rack about 5-10 minutes. Loosen the edges, and flip onto the rack. When cool, top with caramel.


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 heavy cream

Place the ingredients in a deep microwave safe dish (I used a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup). Microwave in short bursts, stirring occasionally, until it bubbles up and the sugar melts. (You may find that you even like it if the sugar doesn't melt!)

Pulse pecans with the flour and spices.

Sugar the pan instead of using flour!

Spoon in the thick batter.

Before adding caramel.

So moist!

Coming December 2nd

Where it all started . . .

In honor of Book Club Week, I'm giving away a Mystery Lovers' Kitchen tote bag to one lucky person who leaves a comment on this post before midnight September 3rd. Good luck, everyone!