Fresh Apple Cake—Happy Birthday, Dad!


Today is my dad’s birthday! Birthdays in my family mean: Mom makes your favorite meal, Mom makes your dessert of choice, and Mom ties a balloon to the birthday person’s dining room chair. (Only on Mom’s birthday do I take over all these festive duties.)

This year Dad wanted to celebrate with this Fresh Apple Cake Mom has made a few times. A moist and scrumptious spice cake with fresh apple layers and a decadent caramel glaze. Perfect during apple season. Perfect for a Happy fall Birthday.

Fresh Apple Cake
recipe adapted from Southern Living

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 pounds apples* (about 4 large apples), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges

Caramel Glaze (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan for 5 to 7 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Set aside.
2. Stir together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl (or stand mixer) until blended.
3. Combine flour, cinnamon, soda, and salt; add to butter mixture and stir until blended. Stir in apples and 1 cup pecans. Batter will be very thick, similar to cookie dough. Spread into a lightly greased 13×9-inch baking pan.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake completely in pan on a wire rack. Spread caramel glaze (below) on top of cake and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of toasted pecans.

*the original recipe calls for tart Granny Smith apples. Mom has been making this cake with Golden Delicious apples this season, which are sweeter. Use whatever apples you like and/or have available!

Caramel Glaze
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Bring sugar, butter, and milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Stir two minutes more and use immediately.

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