There are many reasons why Fall is my favorite time of year. First, I love the crisp Fall air with its milder temperatures. Second, I love the spectacular bursts of colors the trees and bushes provide. And third, I love Fall cooking and baking. The aromas in the kitchen at this time of year are like no other, from the smell of the first pot roast braising in the oven to the sweet smell of baked apples providing that warm feeling of comfort and home. Fall is definitely the best season of the year.
So let’s start out the season by focusing on Fall baking! I chose this particular recipe because it embodies everything I love about Fall – apples, cinnamon, cream cheese, vanilla… need I go any further. The ingredients scream Fall and the smell of this cake when it’s baking in the oven beats any apples and cinnamon air freshener you could ever buy.
So let’s talk apple cake with praline glaze…
Lesson Learned 1 – Be organized when you make this recipe. This recipe has several components and the best way to make it is to be organized. First, that means reading the recipe thoroughly. Second, and I know this may sound silly, is to create a strategy for putting everything together. When I made this I did things in stages to stay on track and to keep the kitchen from being turned upside down.
The first thing I did was shred the carrots. (If you can find carrots already shredded at your local store you can certainly use them). I used my food processor for that. Make sure you used the shredding disc as shown below.
Cut the carrots and put them into the processor’s feeding tube.
With the processor on, push the carrots down the feeding tube using the round plastic tool that comes with the processor. You will wind up with shredded carrots as seen below.
I am going into such detail about this for a couple of reasons. First to show the correct disc to use to get shredded carrots. You don’t want to use the processor’s main blade for this. Second because this step takes up time and space. I found the best way to stay organized when making a recipe is to see if there are any components that require a machine other than a mixer and determine how using that machine may affect your work space.
Once I shredded the carrots I put them in a bowl, washed my food processor and put it away. If you’ve ever worked with a food processor you know it’s comprised of several pieces and all those pieces needed to be washed. Washing them, reassembling the food processor and putting it away freed up a lot of work space for me – space that I could use to comfortably assemble the other components of the cake.
After using the food processor I put together the cream cheese filling and set it aside, assembled the wet and dry ingredients, greased and floured the bundt cake pan, measured out the pecans (I purchased pecan pieces so I didn’t have to worry about chopping them) and lastly I cut up the apples. I saved the apples for last because I wanted as short of a period of time between when they were chopped and when they were incorporated into the batter. Apples, when cut, will oxidize meaning they will start to turn brown the longer they are exposed to the open air. By cutting them last I still had nice light green apple pieces to put into the batter. There are altogether seven major components of this cake and so the more organized you are the smoother the process of making the cake will go.
Lesson Learned 2 – Check each egg before putting it into the batter: There are four eggs in this recipe and each one should be checked separately by cracking it into a small dish before adding it to the batter. You don’t want to add them all at once just to find you have one bad egg and then have to throw out all the batter. It only takes a few seconds to ensure that all the eggs you’re using are good.
Lesson Learned 3 – For high altitude baking decrease the baking powder by 1/4 teaspoon. The baking soda amount can stay the same.
The major point to consider when making this recipe is being organized. Otherwise everything is relatively simple. I can assure you this cake is delicious. I gave some to a neighbor who said it was so delicious that she wanted the recipe. I’m sure you’ll want to print this recipe and keep it as part of your Fall lineup of baking…
Apple Cake With Praline Glaze...
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, room temperature
2 cups sugar, divided
4 eggs, divided
1 cup canola oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 generous tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 cups green apples, peeled and chopped (2 medium size granny smith apples)
1 cup shredded carrots (2 large carrots)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 Tbs. milk
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 10 inch fluted bundt pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl beat the cream cheese and 1/4 cup of sugar until smooth. Beat in 1 egg. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Whisk together until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In a large bowl beat together the oil with the remaining sugar and eggs until well blended. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the oil mixture until blended. Fold in the apples, carrots, and pecans.
Put half of the better evenly around the bundt pan. Put the cream cheese mixture on top. Add the remaining batter on top of the cream cheese mixture.
Bake 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the bundt pan before removing the cake from the pan.
To make the glaze – in a large saucepan bring the brown sugar, butter and milk to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and whisk in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake. Sprinkle with pecans.