Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze
Adapted, slightly, from Food 52

Merrill’s recipe is perfect as is. So you can reference her and make it just as she had. I tweaked a few things though, subbing in 1/2 cup of whole wheat pastry flour (I like to feel somewhat virtuous eating my baked goods and am excellent and deluding myself that now, that I’ve added some whole wheat flour, this is now the equivalent of a nutrition bar.) Also, I used baking powder instead of baking soda (mostly because I failed to read the recipe right), but it was a happy accident. Finally, instead of vegetable oil, which I’ve found mostly just meh on flavor, I used a mild extra-virgin olive oil here. You don’t need to go for your finest, most flavorful oil. A gently scented one, that’s not expensive, should do just fine. You’ll love the added flavor, I promise.

For the Cake:
1 1/2 cups (191 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (60 grams grams) whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 (6 grams) teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon (4 grams) kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons (4 grams) cinnamon
1 teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground allspice
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (225 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (48 grams) light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened (12 ounces) (preferably homemade) applesauce
2/3 cup (116 ml) extra-virgin mild olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Caramel Glaze:
4 tablespoons (57 grams) butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup (48 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup (28 ml) heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) kosher salt
3/4 cup (65 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C), and butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan. Sift together the flours, baking powder, salt, pepper and spices and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, on medium speed, beat the eggs with both sugars until light, 2 minutes. Set the mixer to slow speed and mix in the applesauce, oil and vanilla until smooth.

2. Using a silicone spatula, fold in the dry ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes (check on the cake after 35 to be sure), or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning it out and cooling completely on the rack – make sure the cake is not at all warm before you make the glaze.

3. Put a piece of foil or parchment paper under the cooling rack to catch any drips before you start the glaze. Put the butter in a medium saucepan with the brown sugar, cream and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil for one minute exactly, and then pull it off the heat.

4. Leave the pan to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, but pourable consistency (you may not need all the sugar, you might need a bit more). If the mixture seems too thick, just add a splash of cream to thin it out a little. Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, moving slowly and evenly to cover as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake.

Serves 8 to 10.

© 2019 Olga Massov