Can Rachael Ray bake? My guess is no. Well, at least not well enough to make the cake featured in her November 2007 magazine. She must have realized that all good magazines need a dessert recipe, or two, and hired a pastry chef to fill this gap.
At any rate, I had to try the cake for my Dad's birthday because a chocolate fan he is not. Caramel on the other hand, is a favorite and this cake looked like it would fill the bill. I love the idea of fruit fillings instead of even more icing.
So the cake was easy to make and tasted delicious. Hard to slice, I found, but I think a serrated knife would have worked so much better, as the cake is delicate and the apple slices need to be cut through as well.
A few quick tips for the cake-
I used the Pam Baking spray again, and again I was pleasantly surprised. The cakes fell right out of the pans, no crumbling issues at all.
The tops of the cakes are a tad wet looking. If you try and get rid of that look, you will burn the rest of the cake. Don't rest the cake upside down to cool because the wet spot will stick to the board and not let go.
Freeze the cakes for a half hour or so before frosting so the wet spot firms up and doesn't stick to the icing knife.
To ice it, run a two inch strip of frosting around the top edge of the bottom layer and then pile the apples in the middle to avoid leakage.
I used about 4 cups of icing sugar in the frosting but I also used more caramel sauce. The frosting is definitely a preference thing and it firms up really well in the fridge so don't worry about making it too thin to get the desired flavor.
Caramel Apple Layer Cake
Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine
2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 sticks (1 pound) plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 crisp apples (about 1 pound), such as gala, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup store-bought caramel sauce
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Generously grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.
Using an electric mixer, combine the flour, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, the baking powder and salt.
Mix in 2 sticks butter at low speed until the mixture is crumbly.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, 1/2 cup cream, applesauce and vanilla. Mix into the flour-butter mixture at medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the cake to release the layers, invert onto the rack and let cool completely.
In a medium skillet, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-low heat.
Add the apple slices and remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and cook, stirring often, until the apples are tender and the juice is syrupy, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons cream and simmer for 3 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 2 sticks butter and the caramel sauce. Slowly add the confectioners' sugar to taste, and until light, creamy and spreadable. Place in the refridgerator if too soft.
Place 1 cake layer on a cake plate; spread the apple filling evenly on top, then cover with the remaining cake layer. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, cover the top and sides of the cake with the caramel frosting, swirling the top to make a decorative pattern.