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!


  1. I'm drooling just looking a pictures of that apple cake. YUM!

  2. The cake looks so yummy! I feel like going and picking apples now. :)
    myrifraf @

  3. What a good looking cake, easy with ingredients on hand. And I laugh every time I see the title The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer. Can't wait for the book.

  4. Sounds delicious. Are there any adjustments for high altitudes?

  5. Oh, yum. One can never have too many apple recipes. I made my first apple cake of the season yesterday (before I had this recipe!), using my own apples--not that they were completely ripe, but I had to save them from hungry squirrels.

    Good tip about dusting with sugar rather than flour. I've done that with demerara sugar (the coarse kind), and it gives a nice crunch.

  6. Well, this cake just looks too decadent for words. Wow. I like the idea of using sugar to dust the pan instead of flour, thanks for the tip. I'm planning to try this one, maybe for our next potluck at church. I certainly don't want to be tempted by it staying in my house! :)

  7. The cake made me in weak in the knees and I love, love the tote! Thank you for a chance to win.

  8. The cake looks SO your series!

    patucker54 at aol dot com

  9. The cake looks yummy! I cannot wait to try out this recipe. Thanks. Raquel39m(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. Krista, the cake looks delish. I love the flavors of fall! And I can't wait for The Ghost and Mrs. Mewer. What a cute title!

    Daryl / Avery

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. I love the tip about sugaring the pan. Thanks!

  13. That cake looks wonderful! Good luck on the new book! Can't wait to read it and to try that recipe!

  14. The cake looks moist and delicious! Yum! Thank you for sharing this recipe and for this opportunity to win this beautiful tote! Happy Labor Day! :)

  15. Looks scrumptious! Love the sugar tip! Thank you, Krista for all of your wonderful books!

  16. That cake looks awesome and i love the idea of using sugar instead of flour. I may do that with other cakes. Thank you

  17. I love caramel and apples so this sounds really good. I didn't know that trick with the sugar, I'll definitely have to try that.

  18. Perfect fall recipe, can't wait to try it

  19. I am so excited I saw this post I didn't realize you all had this blog with desserts and good books. I am really looking forward to the Wolfe Widow and the cake too!

  20. Love it, perfect fall recipe, since the weather is cooling down..have it try it...:)

  21. Looks delightful. Can't wait to try it.

  22. I'm baking for our book group's October meeting and I think I will make this and something pumpkin!

  23. The family will be going apple picking soon and I can't wait to make this cake.
    Love, love, love the tote!!

  24. Will it work without the pecans? My elderly mother can't eat them.

    1. Darcy, the flavor won't be exactly the same, but I think it will work. If you take out the pecans, then increase the flour by 1/2 cup.

  25. Replies
    1. I think it might work as cupcakes. Layers, hmm. Yes, I think it might. But don't bake it quite as long. I would check it at about 18-20 minutes.

  26. I have a bundt pan I've never even used! Happy to see a fall type recipe to make.

  27. This looks like something I could get my nana to eat. Can't wait to try it.

  28. Thanks for the recipe and the give away . Happy Labor Day to all

  29. the cake is stunning Krista--I'm a total sucker for caramel. xoxo

  30. That cake looks delicious. And I just finished The Diva Wraps it Up! Loved it. One of the best in the series so far.

    Amanda K.

  31. I'll have to give this a try and by me, I mean my husband (the chef in the family)

  32. MMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm can't wait for the oven to heat up!

  33. You had me at caramel, this sounds fantastic, I can't wait to try it...I hope I still have a bundt pan, I haven't made one in a long time.