Yummy for breakfast, wrapped up in a piece of parchment, eaten on the way to...anywhere.
It's even better for dessert, drizzled over in brandy caramel, next to a scoop of soft French vanilla, at home, watching "Game of Thrones" or "Justified" or just reading a cookbook on the couch next to Chris.
It's time to bake. Seriously bake.
And I don't care that it's summertime, 101 degrees, tan lines and all that.
Brandy, apples, dark brown sugar, caramel -- they're eternal. Seasonless.
Julia is my official taste-tester.
She's into bugs, princesses and my camera. She also makes a mean "raw meat soup" out of dirt and "princess smoothies" from bathwater.
Jack...he's mainly just into dirt. Dirt and Spiderman.
And deconstruction. Especially deconstruction.
We're trying to harness it.
But it's hard.
This cake and its caramel sauce come from Regan Daley, baker of one of my favorite crunchy cookies -- the butter-toffee crunch shortbread cookies.
My pictures of the cake really don't do it justice.
It's no pageant-winner.
But it's dark and delicious and moist and chunky, with the perfect crust.
I'll take delicious over some visual aesthetic any day.
adapted from In the Sweet Kitchen, by Regan Daley
For the cake:
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup brandy
- 1 cup dried apple slices
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups tightly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten and at room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 2 medium-sized tart apples, one peeled, one unpeeled, both cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 1/2 tablespoons brandy (see note)
In a small pot, combine butter, both sugars and cream. Stir together over low heat until sugar dissolves. Stirring constantly, increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a low boil. Allow to boil on medium for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in brandy.