Christmas Recipes

Apple Cake with Pear-Brandy Caramel Sauce

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Yield: 12 servings



  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 Granny Smith or Pink Lady apple, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Pear Brandy-Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pear brandy or Calvados
  • Pinch of salt



  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Grease a 12 inch Bundt pan or a 14 inch tube pan.
  2. Sift the flour, cinnamon, soda, salt and cloves together into a large bowl; set aside.
  3. In a mixer bowl, on medium speed cream the brown sugar and butter together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, beating until creamy. On low speed, alternately blend in the dry ingredients and the applesauce.
  5. Stir in the chopped apple and nuts.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap it to settle the batter.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is baking, prepare the sauce.
  8. Let cool for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a rack to cool.

Pear Brandy-Caramel Sauce

  1. In a small saucepan, cook the cider over medium heat until it reaches a syrup-like consistency and is reduced to 1/4 cup. Set aside.
  2. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Cook over medium-high heat, swirling the pan gently, until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear; do not let the mixture boil.
  3. Increase heat to high, cover and boil the syrup without stirring for 2 minutes.
  4. Uncover the saucepan and continue to boil the syrup until it begins to darken around the edges. Gently swirl the pan until the syrup turns a deep amber and just begins to smoke.
  5. Remove from heat and with a wooden spoon carefully beat in the butter until well blended.
  6. Stir in the cream until smooth. If the sauce becomes lumpy, return the pan to the stove and cook over low heat, stirring until smooth.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the reduced apple cider, the pear brandy or Calvados and salt.
  8. To serve, cut the cake into slices and top with the warm caramel sauce.

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