Monday, October 10, 2016

Apple Cardamom Cake with Caramelized Almonds

The fall magic surrounding this recipe is the cake part is just the frame. The dessert is stuffed with a thick layer of seasonal apples steamed in cardamom sugar and caramelized almonds.

What's not to like?

This cake is another great Thanksgiving dessert idea. After your guests are stuffed with carbs from the meal, this dessert, containing mostly fruit and nut might be the lighter option. 

You can make this cake up to two days ahead which is also a plus. I do recommend serving it warm, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of each piece. So much for the lighter option.

Tip: If you have an aversion to cardamom, you can replace it with apple pie spice or plain old workhorse ground cinnamon. 

Apple Cardamom Cake with 
Caramelized Almonds
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 30 Minutes
Rest time: 30 minutes
Yield: 8- 10 pieces
  • 1+1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 +1/4 teaspoons cardamom powder, divided
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar plus 6 tablespoons, divided
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1+1/2 lbs apples
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup blanched almond sticks

  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, one teaspoon of the cardamom powder and brown sugar.
  • Cut the cup (2 sticks) of butter into pieces. Add to the  dry ingredients along with the beaten egg and knead into a smooth cake dough.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic cling film and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Wash the apples and pat dry. Cut the apples into quarters and cut out the cores.
  • Slice each quarter thinly lengthwise.
  • In a large skillet, add 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cardamom powder and the 1/3 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently.
  • Add the apple slices to the mixture. Gently stir to coat the apple slices. Cover the skillet, lower the heat and steam the apples in the cardamom sugar mixture for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in a small skillet over medium-low heat.
  • Add the almonds. Stir to coat and lightly caramelize.
  • Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon cardamon powder over the nuts. Mix again, remove from heat and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour an 8-inch inch cake pan.
  • Remove the crust dough from the refrigerator
  • Press the cake dough into the pan, making sure the dough goes up the sides at least 2 inches. You want a deep frame.
  • Sprinkle about 1/3 of the caramelized almonds on the bottom of the crust.
  • Gently transfer the caramelized apple slices to the prepared crust. 
  • Distribute the rest of the caramelized almonds evenly over the top. 
  • Whisk together the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of cardamom powder and sprinkle over the top.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes before de-panning. Slice and serve warm (with vanilla ice cream if you prefer)

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