Monday, September 12, 2011

Caramel Apple Strusel Bundt Cake

This cake is so light and fluffy, with a wonderful apple, “caramely” top, and strusel packed on top of that. It does take extra time to make, but ohhh so worth it. Funny how our company stayed till it was all baked and cooled ;)  Thanks Food  and Wine for the recipe.
1/4 cup pecan halves
2 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 Granny Smith apples (2 pounds)—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
3 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 325°. On a parchment paper—lined baking sheet, toast the pecans and oats for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool.
In a food processor, pulse the flour with the toasted pecans until the nuts are finely ground. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the oats, dark brown sugar, salt, black pepper and cinnamon, and nutmeg. Using a fork, stir in the butter until large clumps form. Spread the streusel on the parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.
Increase the oven temperature to 350°. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan. In a large bowl, combine 1/2 cup of the brown sugar with the cornstarch, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add the apples and toss until the apples are thoroughly coated.
In a large skillet, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Add the spiced apples and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until they’re almost tender, about 6 minutes. Scrape the apples onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until they are cool, about 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda and salt. In a measuring cup, mix the buttermilk with the apple juice concentrate and vanilla. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the remaining 2 sticks of butter and 2 cups of brown sugar with the orange zest at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. At low speed, in 3 alternating additions, beat in the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture; scrape down the side of the bowl as necessary.
Spoon the cooled apples into the bottom of the Bundt pan, spreading them out. Scrape the cake batter over the apples and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake the cake in the center of the oven for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes.
Set a cooling rack on a baking sheet. Invert the cake onto the rack and scrape any apples stuck to the pan back onto the cake. While the apples are hot, pack the streusel topping over the top of the cake. Let stand until cool, about 1 hour. Slice the cake with a serrated knife and serve.

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