Monday, May 27, 2013

Apple Praline Bundt Cake

I adapted this recipe a bit from my husband's Great Grandmother's recipe.  He said he grew up with his mother making it, but wasn't exactly sure where it came from.  I had to trace it back just a bit, but it was worth it!  I hope that she would have been proud.  I am certainly humbled to have been entrusted with this old family recipe.  The things that I changed were to cut some of the fat and calories a bit from the original recipe, and maybe some touches just to make it "my own," but I tried to keep to the authentic spirit of the dish.  These are things that I encourage all of my readers to do, as the process of "making something your own" is one of the true beauties of cooking in your own kitchen. 

There may seem like a lot of steps, but this made-from-scratch dump cake is very easy.  Just follow along with me step-by-step, and YOUR house can be smelling like apples and warm spices soon!


Ingredients:

Cake -
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup cinnamon apple sauce
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3 cups cake flour (you could use all purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
  • 2 Tbsp praline syrup (optional)  

Praline Glaze - 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Garnish
  • glazed pecans (yep.  I purchased them in a bag.)
  • mint leaves (straight from the garden)

Step-by-Step:

First, decide on the type of apples you will use.  Some apples are best for eating "in hand," while others hold up better to the heat of cooking.  It may depend on what area you live in, and the time of year, so ask your grocer to recommend some best for cooking.  I had two kinds that I was considering.  Honeycrisp, which is one of our favorites, and Granny Smith.  I ultimately decided on the Granny Smith apples for this - they are really crisp, produce a nice amount of juice, and do not turn to mush when you cook them.  
Prepare the bundt pan with cooking spray and then granulated sugar (or flour).  Shake it around until all the surfaces and crevices are filled.
Mix together the sugars, oil, and applesauce. 
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup canola oil
Tip - If you have no applesauce, you can use a full 1 1/2 cups canola oil.  But using the applesauce cuts the fat and calories while still giving us a tender, moist cake.
3/4 cup cinnamon apple sauce
Mix until well combined.  I just used my hand mixer for this since there isn't a lot of "beating" that happens in this recipe.

Add the eggs and beat well. 
3 large eggs
I toasted the chopped pecans for about 8 minutes in a 375 degree oven, shaking them around every couple of minutes.  You will start to smell them when they start toasting.  Set them aside to cool.
Mix the dry ingredients together, then add them to the wet egg mixture.  
3 cups cake flour (you could use all purpose if that's all you have)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp table salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg

Stir well to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
Mix well.
Fold in vanilla, apples, and toasted pecans.  Batter will be fairly stiff.   The juice from the apples will thin it out as it bakes. 
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted

3 cups chopped Granny Smith apples
Fold.  Do not beat!
Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan, and bake at 350 F* for 75 minutes or until a long wooden pick come out clean from the middle.  (You can use a range of 325 - 350 degrees for 60 - 90 minutes.)


Allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan, then turn it out onto a cooking rack.  You will see the sides of the cake begin to pull away from the pan.  If desired, brush a praline flavored syrup (or a simple syrup) over the warm cake so it will soak in, and keep everything nice and moist.
Tip - Praline syrup can be found in any gourmet coffee shop, or the area of your supermarket that has flavored syrups.  You can also just make a simple syrup by dissolving equal parts sugar and water and boiling it down a few minutes.  I like the Praline syrup because it tastes like sweet Southern pecans and goes well with the flavor profile of this cake.
 
2 Tbsp praline syrup (optional) 
Praline Glaze - 
While the cake is cooling, make the praline glaze.  Stir together brown sugar, butter, and milk into a heavy saucepan.  
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup butter (4 Tbsp)
1/4 cup milk
Bring to a full boil and then cook about 2 minutes, stirring continually. 
Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and confectioners sugar. 
1 tsp vanilla

1 cup powdered sugar
Pour over cake immediately before it "sets up." 
Garnish the praline glaze with glazed pecans while its still "wet" so they will stick.
Tell me this isn't gorgeous!!  Moist tender spiced cake, juicy and slightly sweet/tart apples, creamy praline glaze, and those candied glazed pecans?  All you need now is a good cup of coffee and you are set!  Those old ladies were rocking this recipe before I was even born!  Nice!!

Enjoy this recipe?  There are tons more recipes like this for you to choose from.  Just pop on over to my Recipe Index for delicious dishes to choose from for your family!  

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Here are a few recipes to get you started:
Creamy Tomato Soup - excellent for a dark, rainy evening... with a good grilled cheese sandwich!  Freezes great!  Awesome for pot luck or family gatherings.
Beer Battered Asparagus with Lemon Herbed Dipping Sauce - a fun appetizer just for the heck of it!  Sometimes you want something fun and different, but still easy.

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas - for nights when you are super busy, don't necessarily have time to man the grill, but still want big flavors waiting for you!

Eggplant Parmigiana with Italian Sausage Marinara - for when you are entertaining someone special and really want your love to show!

Butter-Pecan Sweet Potatoes - good old down-home love on a plate!
Southern-Style Cornbread Dressing - Yes, you can make it just like the "elders" of your family did, back in the day!   Remember  - step-by-step is all it takes!

Apple Praline Bundt Cake - Written Method:
Prepare the bundt pan with cooking spray and then granulated sugar (or flour).  Start toasting the pecans.  I put them in the oven for about 8 minutes on 375 degrees.  You need to shake them around every couple of minutes.  Mix together the sugars, oil, and applesauce.  Add eggs and beat well.  Mix the dry ingredients together, then add them to the wet egg mixture.   Fold in vanilla, apples, and toasted pecans.  Batter will be fairly stiff.   The juice from the apples with thin it out as it bakes.  Bake at 350* for 75 minutes or until a long wooden pick come out clean from the middle.  Allow to cool at least 15 minutes in the pan, then turn it out onto a cooking rack.  If desired, brush a praline flavored syrup (or a simple syrup) over the warm cake so it will soak in and keep everything nice and moist.

While the cake is cooling, make the praline glaze.  Stir together brown sugar, butter, and milk into a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a full boil and cook about 2 minutes, stirring continually.  Remove from heat.  Stir in vanilla and confectioners sugar.  Pour over cake immediately before it "sets up."  Garnish the praline glaze with glazed pecans while its still "wet" so they will stick.

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