Before the Civil War.. before Abraham Lincoln… before the Industrial Revolution… artist Thomas Cole was quietly painting landscapes up near the Hudson Valley in New York state. He is regarded as the founder of the Hudson River School – an American art movement which centered around the Hudson River, Catskills and Adirondacks. It’s easy to appreciate the beauty of the area’s landscapes. The East Coast fall season in particular is spectacular with its bright colors and crisp clean air. Even though we may mourn the end of summer, there’s something special about the countryside this time of year.
We decided to pay homage to this great American artist by visiting our local market and acquiring some great tasting New York state apples. These are just a few highlights our state has to offer:
When it comes to apple recipes, the most obvious choices come to mind. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple tart… Somehow these options didn’t feel like the right pairing for our American Painter. Let’s face it, Thomas Cole is just not as apple pie as Norman Rockwell, of neighboring Stockbridge, MA. After a little research, we chose this apple spice cake recipe for it’s light delicate flavors and use of the quirky Bundt pan. Perfectly paired with tea or even champagne, it’s a versatile cake that showcases apples in a fresh new light!
Apple Spice Cake with Caramel Glaze
(adapted from epicurious.com)
nonstick vegetable oil spray (Pam)
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 pound (about 3 apples) Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/3 inch cubes
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup (half stick) melted unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs (room temp)
4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1/4 cup whole milk
1). Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 12-cup Bundt pan with nonstick spray. Sift flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Transfer 3 tblspn of this flour mixture to Bundt pan and tilt/ tap to coat. Set pan aside. Place cut apples and 2 tblspn flour mixture in another medium size bowl, toss to coat.
2). Combine 1 cup brown sugar, vegetable oil, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 cup sugar, eggs, and 3 tsp vanilla in a large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until wet ingredients are thick, about 4-5 minutes.
3). Gradually beat in the remaining flour mixture (in 3 stages). Fold apples and pecans into the batter. Transfer to the prepared Bundt pan.
4). Bake cake in the center of oven until cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. (start checking at 50 minutes). Transfer cake pan to the wire rack. Let stand while making the caramel.
5). Melt butter in a small heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in remaining 1 cup brown sugar, then milk. Continue to whisk until topping is smooth and blended, about 5 minutes. Whisk in remaining 1 tsp vanilla. Spoon or pour 1/4 cup of hot caramel topping over warm cake in pan. Let stand until topping is absorbed into the cake, about 15 minutes.
6). Turn cake over onto wire rack (line bottom with foil or parchment), pour remaining warm topping over cake, letting it drizzle over the sides. Let cake cool at least 1 hour. Transfer to a cake stand.
7). Before serving, dust top with powdered sugar. Serve at room temperature.