Back in October a few years ago, my church had an International Dinner after our yearly Missions Conference. As part of the theme, about a dozen or so ladies were asked to decorate tables to depict the various countries our missionary speakers were going to and get people to bring in food items native to those countries to fill them. One such table was Ireland themed, and my sister was chosen to be in charge of that one. Naturally, she asked my mother and I to help her out, and we were more than happy to oblige. My mother made Irish Stew, and I made an Irish Cinnamon Apple Cake I found on the web at Fantasy-Ireland.com.
I have modified this recipe slightly and included an optional caramel sauce that is listed after it. This particular cake can be a touch dry, but the flavor is wonderful. I would recommend serving it with the sauce, coffee, tea and/or a glass of milk. :) It would also be wonderful with the Vanilla Glaze listed in the Wacky Cake recipe blog.
Please note that this recipe is only soy-free if you use all soy-free ingredients and is fish and nut-free.
Irish Cinnamon Apple Cake
1 1/2 Cups soy-free flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 Cup salted, full-fat butter
1/4 Cup white sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
2 to 3 medium to large-sized apples, peeled, cored, quartered and sliced thinly
(I used Empire, but Granny Smith, Paula Red or any other good baking apple would be just fine)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Grease a 9x13 or 11x8 pan with salted butter (to keep it soy-free). I wouldn't recommend using oil to grease the pan for this recipe.
3. In medium-sized bowl, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt (sifted, if desired); set aside.
4. In large-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar (by hand with a whisk or with an electric mixer) until the mixture is light and soft.
5. Beat one egg into the butter mixture until well blended, then add a Tablespoon of the flour mixture; mix well (by hand with a whisk or with an electric mixer).
6. Repeat step 3.
7. Add in last egg, mix until well blended, then fold in (by hand with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula or with an electric mixer) two thirds of the remaining flour; mix well (by hand with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula or with an electric mixer).
8. Stir in the milk (by hand with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula or with an electric mixer) and then add the rest of the flour; mix well (by hand with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula or with an electric mixer). **Note: The dough will be very sticky and a bit tough to stir. Do NOT add any more milk. This is how it's supposed to be.**
9. Spread half of the cake batter into the bottom of the cake pan. (This isn't the easiest thing to do, but it is possible. :) I recommend using a rubber spatula for this step versus a spoon.)
10. Distribute the apple slices over the batter as evenly as possible. (The amount of apples you use is purely based on preference. The more you use, the more apple flavor you will get as well as more moisture. I strongly recommend using all 3 apples.)
11. Cover the apples with the rest of the batter. (By no means will you be able to spread this batter over the apples. What I do is dollop the batter in large spoonfuls over the apples and then spread it as best I can, ending up with a kind of lattice type effect. (I make it look as pretty as I can and then tell the perfectionist in me it's fine and stop trying to make it even. ;) ) You could even just dollop the batter in smaller spoonfuls over the top of the apples and not spread it if you wanted to, as well, or just place all the batter in the middle, leaving the outer edge apples exposed. Whatever floats your boat. :) )
12. Bake for 15 minutes.
13. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F and bake for another 30 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch.
14. Remove from oven and either:
- serve warm or cooled as is
- cover with vanilla glaze or caramel sauce (listed below) and serve warm or cooled
- serve warm or cooled with caramel sauce on the side
I also recommend having it with tea, coffee or milk. :)
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 Tablespoons white sugar
1/4 Cup boiling water
1 Tablespoon salted, full-fat butter
1. In small bowl or cup, dissolve cornstarch in the 2 Tablespoons water, add salt and set aside.
2. Getting a kettle of water boiling and keep it to temperature.
3. In a small to medium-sized non-stick skillet, heat the sugar on low to medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sugar melts and turns golden yellow in color. (Please resist the urge to turn the heat above medium. It does take about 15 to 20 minutes to do this step, but it is better to do it slowly so you don't scorch the sugar instead of caramelize it. Once the sugar begins to melt, it changes color quickly, so don't leave it. The stirring constantly is important, too, as it doubly insures that the sugar doesn't scorch.)
4. Remove the sugar from the heat and add the 1/4 Cup boiling water. (It is VERY important to follow this step exactly as you could get burned if you don't. The sugar will harden a bit and steam even with the water being boiling, but it's much worse if the water is cool.)
5. Return the water and caramelized sugar to the heat (keeping the heat low to medium) and cook the mixture, stirring constantly with the wooden spoon, until the sugar re-dissolves completely into the water. (Again, this takes a little time, 5 minutes or so, but resist the urge to turn up the heat. You can still scorch the sugar at this point.)
6. Add the reserved cornstarch mixture and the butter to the water/sugar mixture and cook on low to medium heat, stirring constantly still with the wooden spoon, until the syrup is thick and glossy like honey and coats the back of the spoon; remove from heat. (How long you cook the sugar mixture at this point is up to you. The longer you cook it, the thicker it will get and the harder it will get when cool. I recommend letting it boil about a minute after the butter is completely melted. If it is coating the back of a spoon at this point, it is done in my opinion. If not, check it every 10 seconds or so until it is coating the back of the spoon, then remove it from the heat. :) )
7. Serve on the side or over the top of Apple Cake (or any other dessert you find you want caramel sauce on top of). :)
This caramel sauce takes a little bit of TLC to get just right, but it is so worth it! It is phenomenal!
(Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce)
*This is a modified version of a recipe I got from ifood.tv.