Time is flying for sure lately! Can you believe it’s almost October? I feel like the summer came and went, and it’s been a bit of a blur. Next thing I know, there are apples, pears, and gourds galore at the market, and I’m not complaining one bit! The problem I do have is buying bags of them, and I can’t seem to eat them fast enough, so Ive been thinking of several ways I can use them up.
I have this elderly neighbor, Barry. He lost the love of his life last year, and now lives alone. They were together for over 40 years. He doesn’t have any children – or any family near him for that matter. He is a sweet old man, a retired art professor, and full of stories. Once a week, I meet with Barry for dinner or coffee. I just love hearing about his life and his art work. He is always very happy and positive, and a joy to be around. I have never heard him complain one bit, and he has gone through a lot in his lifetime. You’d be amazed how much you can learn from our elders. As I got to know Barry, I realized one thing, he loves his desserts. Every single time we go to eat, he never fails to order dessert. So, as I was thinking of what to make with all the apples, I thought I would make some kind of dessert and give some to Barry so we can have it over coffee.
My first thought was to bake the iconic apple pie, but, how boring is that? I wanted to make something out of the ordinary, and I remembered this whisky cake that I made last year that was just incredibly delicious. So for my first fall weekend, I decided on an apple whisky cake. What can be better than that you ask? Well, how about topping it with some warm whisky caramel sauce. It’s a great cake to share with your friends and family on a cozy weekend. I adapted this from an old Martha Stewart German Apple Cake recipe, with my addition of the ginger, almond extract, and whisky. The sweetness of the apples married with the spice of the cinnamon and ginger gave it a certain zing. The whisky caramel just added a whole other level of happy to this cake, and it definitely stepped it up a few notches.
Apple Cake Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) softened unsalted butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon scotch whisky
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
3-4 large baking apples
1/4 cup apple jam
- Generously butter an 8-inch square pan. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt, Set aside
- In a large bowl, whisk together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until fluffy, then add the eggs, almond extract and whisky. Mix together until well blended.
- Slowly add the flour mixture into the butter mixture and mix well. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Set aside.
- Peel and slice the apples and place into a medium sized bowl. Squeeze lemon juice into the apples. Add the cinnamon, ground ginger and the remaining sugar to the apples and mix well until the apples are well coated.
- Place the apple slices on top of the batter and overlap them while slightly pressing against the batter.
- Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the tester comes out clean.
- Cool in the pan or on a wire rack for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- While the cake cools, heat the apple jam in a small sauce pan until it starts to boil. Take it off the heat and brush on top of the cake.
Whisky Caramel Sauce Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon scotch whisky
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Combine the sugar and water in a heavy bottom sauce pan and set over medium high heat. Cook until the sugar is completely dissolved and the color turns amber. Approximately 10-12 minutes.
- In a small sauce pan, warm the cream over medium heat and add the whisky.
- Slowly pour the sugar mixture into the warm cream and whisk until smooth (approximately 2-3 minutes).
- Remove from heat then slowly whisk in the butter and salt. Let it cool.
Drizzle the apple cake with the cooled caramel sauce and serve. Best served with your favorite cup of tea or coffee and a good book.