Swirls of apples nestled in a tender vanilla bean flecked cake drizzled in luscious caramel and a kiss of confectioners’ sugar. This cake is simply delicious in the most beautiful of ways.
When Nordic Ware featured their Premier Gold Collection I knew they were on to something huge. Now we all know their products are in a league all of their own but these pans, well they transcended the kitchen and now are part of design decor. These gold finished, cast aluminum pans are absolutely stunning. If you’ve not seen one in person, trust me on this, its jaw-dropping. We’re talking dead sexy. Yes, these pans are dead sexy.
I’ve been fortunate as I’ve been creating deliciousness for them for about 2 years now and honestly every time I get a new pan to test out I kind of just sat there staring at it in awe. This time they sent me the new 6-cup Heritage Loaf Pan and their Better Batter Bowl to test out. Those curves and swirls of the pan just begged to be highlighted in a cake. However, one thing about their pans is you can push the limits with it. Who says you have to limit it to a cake?
This pan would rock at making an epic meatloaf, formed salad, pate, and so forth. I have a ton of ideas planned for this cake including a Neopolitan swirled cake. But today I wanted to go with something a bit more jaw-dropping. By adding the apples to the swirls of the cake pan you end up with some seriously gorgeous cake. And those crevices just beg for caramel drizzles.
So let’s get technical here about this pan. It’s not the size of your typical “Bundt” pan. It’s only 6 cups whereas the regular sized ones are 10-14 cup depending on the pan. What this means is that when you want a smaller cake or one where you kind of don’t have to share you can make these. For Mr. Fantabulous and I, it’s honestly the perfect size. It’s perfect for us for the week or, if we have company over, it’s enough for a dinner party of say 6-8 people.
Of course, it’s non-stick which means it releases easily, and cleaning it is simple. And because it’s made out of heavy cast aluminum, you’re ensured to have uniform baking and browning. Plus it’s made in the USA! now I know a few of you have asked how to easily clean a bundt pan with all those crevices. Honestly, I find the easiest way is to take a sponge, cut it almost on an angle so I have a tip/point. I wash the pan in hot, soapy water and use the pointed tip of the sponge to get into the nooks and crevices. It comes out perfectly clean each and every time.
So when you make the cake batter, what do you use? Stand mixer, hand mixer? Tell me about your bowl – does it have an easy pour spout? Well, none of mine have a spout but luckily they also sent me their Better Batter Bowl. It has an easy-grip handle and a spout that makes pouring a breeze. It’s BPA-free and Melamine Free Plastic, High-Heat Plastic which means it’s super easy to clean. It holds 5 quarts (god… 5 quarts of cake batter!!! ♥). And yes, this too is Made in the USA!
How to Add the Apples
Okay so let’s dish about this cake or more specifically, how to inlay the apple slices as I did above. Apples are crispy and not really soft. If you tried just peeling the apple, slicing it, and putting the slices in, you’d most likely end up breaking the apple.
Therefore you need to soften the apple. Now, this is the only good thing about having a microwave – you can soften the apples in a couple of minutes.
Literally, all you do it put the sliced apples in a bowl, add a trace bit of water, and cover them with plastic wrap. Zap for a minute or so and what you end up with is a soft, “bendy” apple that you can form down into the pan. However, be careful as the apples will be rather warm. Just please, don’t overcook them. You just want to zap them enough so you can bend them without breaking them.
One other thing I want to mention is to take a look at how full the pan is. It’s about a 1/4″ from the top. That’s OK. Now if you don’t have a steady hand carrying a full pan to the oven, just place the empty pan on a rimmed baking sheet, fill the cake pan up with batter and then put the tray into the oven. You *might* need to bake the cake a few minutes more though in doing this method.
Next, let it cool and unmolding it. Sure it’s scary but honestly, I never fear it with my Nordic Ware pans. Just let it cool before trying to remove it. This cake I let cool for a good 35 minutes before unmolding it. To unmold I give it a few shakes up and down slightly to jar it loose. Next place a cooling rack on top and in one fail swoop, flip it over. Voila! The pan releases the cake beautifully with nothing left stuck in the pan. Once the cake cooled completely I drizzled some warmed caramel sauce in the swirl cavities and kissed it with some confectioners’ sugar.
Okay so let’s get to the nitty-gritty – how’s it taste? So full disclosure I made this cake 4 times. The first 2 times it was good but soooooooooooooo heavy and dense and had a ‘weird’ texture. It was because I was using confectioners’ sugar instead of granulated. By the 3rd time (and switching the sugars, increasing the milk, and reducing the yogurt) we had a full success. However, could I repeat that same result in a 4th cake using the recipe? Yep! SUCCESS! It’s such a delicious cake that pairs well with coffee, tea, ice cream, or a fork. LOL
Now I’m sure many of you have those wheels in your head spinning with “what other fruits could I use in place of apples?” Easy – stone fruits would be amazing! Think apricots or peaches with a ginger cinnamon glaze. You could also line the swirls with blueberries and add fresh lemon zest to brighten up the cake. For the drizzle, I would go with a glaze of confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, cream, and more zest.Print
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 12 Tbl unsalted butter, melted then cooled
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 Tbl Vanilla Bean Paste (see note)
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 large apple (fuji, gala, princess, etc..), peeled and cut into 1/4” long slices
- Caramel Sauce, warmed
- Confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle. Coat the 6-cup Heritage Loaf Pan with butter/flour baking spray or brush with melted butter and coat evenly with flour discard any excess flour.
- In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In the Better Batter Bowl add the sugar and cooled butter. Using a hand mixer cream the two for 4-5 minutes or until pale in color. Add in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and yogurt mixing in til blended.
- Add in 1/3 of the dry mixture, mix just until combined. Add in half of the milk, mix then and another third of the dry mixture mixing again. Add the rest of the milk, mix and then finish with the last of the batter. Be sure to scrape down the sides to incorporate.
- In a bowl, add the apple slices, 2 tsp of water and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave in 30 second intervals. You want to cook just until the apples are soft and pliable but not mushy. You want to be able to bend the apples to put them in to the swirls of the cake.
- Grab the prepared pan and place an apple slice in each swirl cavity in the pan. Next, carefully pour the batter into the pan. It will fill up about 1/2” from the top. *If you do not have steady hands in carrying something full, place the loaf pan on a rimmed baking sheet then fill the cake pan. This will make it easier carrying it and putting it in the oven.
- Bake for 43-53 minutes or until a cake tester inserted comes out moist but mostly clean.
- Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for at least 25-35 minutes before flipping the cake out onto a platter. The pan and cake should be cool to the touch.
- Drizzle with caramel sauce and dust with confectioners’ sugar. The cake will last 3-4 days covered or 7 days in the fridge.
I highly suggest using Vanilla bean paste. I buy mine on Amazon – Vanilla Bean Paste However you can use the same amount of vanilla extract plus a seeded vanilla bean but you really won’t get that intense vanilla flavor.
Keywords: apple caramel cake, bundt cake, fresh apple cake, caramel apple cake, fall desserts