Caramel Apple Almond Cake


Nov 01

Apple spice cake layers with layers of white chocolate frosting, salted caramel and candied almonds.

I love finding inspiration for new cake flavors from other types of desserts. In the past, I’ve been inspired by ice cream, sweet bread, cookie, brownie, pie and now… popcorn! I recently tried the Almond White Chocolate Gourmet Popcorn from Choosy Chocolates, a local Salt Lake City candy company, and immediately had the thought that white chocolate and almond would be a great flavor pairing in a cake. Originally, I was just going to do an almond cake with white chocolate frosting, but that sounded too basic and the more I thought about it, I knew I wanted a few other flavors and textures in this cake. (You know me, basic isn’t really my strong suit.)

After I decided to add the apples and candied almonds, my mind then started thinking of chocolate and candy covered apples. (It’s like the book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” but goes more like, “If you give Courtney a cake flavor, she’s going to want to add another flavor to the cake. If she adds another flavor to the cake, she’s going to want to add some texture too. If she adds some texture, she’s going to want to add something savory or bitter to balance all the sweetness… My mind just doesn’t stop as I think these cakes up!) So, as I thought about candied apples, I couldn’t help but add salted caramel to the mix. I also wanted to give the cake a bit more almond flavor and added a teaspoon of pure almond extract to the white chocolate frosting, which seriously ended up tasting just like the popcorn!

I couldn’t be happier with how this cake turned out. I like that the cake itself isn’t too sweet because you get plenty of sweetness from the frosting, and then the salted caramel helps to balance out all the flavors.

Enjoy!

 

 

Apple Almond Caramel Cake

Yield 1 3-layer 6-inch round cake

Apple spice cake layers with layers of white chocolate frosting, salted caramel and candied almonds.

Ingredients

For the Apple Cake

  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup shredded green apple (about 1 large apple)
  • 1/4 cup milk, room temperature 

For the Candied Almonds

  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

For the Salted Caramel

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream 

For the Almond White Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 oz. white chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon pure almond extract

Instructions

For the Cake

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 6-inch cake pans with non-stick spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Spray the paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, sift together the flour, almond flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth.
  4. Add both sugars and mix until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 30 seconds.
  6. With the mixer on low, add half of the dry ingredients, followed by the milk, and the remaining dry ingredients. Stir until combined.
  7. Fold in the shredded apples.
  8. Evenly distribute the batter between the three pans and bake for about 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.
  9. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting the cake layers to cool completely on wire racks. 

For the Candied Almonds

  1. Combine the almonds and sugar over medium heat in a large pan.
  2. Stir continuously as the sugar melts and coats the almonds. Try to spread the almonds evenly across the pan to ensure they all get toasted.
  3. Continue until the almonds are golden brown.
  4. Remove from heat and pour the candied almonds onto parchment paper to cool completely. 

For the Salted Caramel.

  1. Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Let the sugar mixture sit on medium heat and start to boil. You don't want to stir while the sugar is cooking because it will cause the mixture to crystalize. Stay close to the pan and keep an eye on the boiling sugar. When it turns a dark amber color (takes about 5-10 minutes) and you can start to smell the caramel, remove the pan from the heat. (Once the mixture starts to turn yellow, it will get to an amber color quickly, so don't turn your back for too long.)
  3. Very slowly add a little of the heavy cream, while stirring vigorously. Continue to add a little cream at a time. You're tempering the caramel so it doesn't turn into a rock-like ball.
  4. Once all the cream is added, stir in the vinegar, salt and vanilla extract. Set aside until cooled completely. 

For the Almond White Chocolate Frosting

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
  2. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the powdered sugar.
  3. Once the powdered sugar is combined, gradually add the cooled white chocolate, followed by the cream, almond extract and vanilla extract.
  4. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat the frosting for about five minutes.
  5. Before frosting, mix the frosting by hand with a wooden spoon to push out air bubbles and create a more silky texture. 

Assembly

  1. Level each cake layer.
  2. Place the first cake layer on your cake board and cover with about 1/2 to 2/3 cup frosting, followed by about 1/3 cup candied almonds. Repeat with another cake layer, frosting and almonds. Place final cake layer top-side down.
  3. Frost the cake with a thin coat of frosting to create a crumb coat. Chill in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  4. Apply a final coat of frosting and decorate as desired. I used the caramel as a drip around the sides of the cake and saved some for drizzling over each individual cake slice when I served my guests.

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