Thursday, May 17, 2012

Salted Caramel Apple Tatin Cake

I think most people have heard of tarte tatin, which is a tarte with fruit on the bottom that's flipped upside-down after it's been baked to expose the fruit. I decided to make a tatin cake because I had some apples and a container of sour cream that were both begging to be used. Sour cream? Yes, sour cream. It's a great ingredient in cakes because it helps add in a lot of moisture. I made a salted caramel because I love that salty sweet combo but you can omit the salt in the caramel if you're not a fan.

Cake Ingredients:
2 granny smith apples (or any apple that's good for baking)
1 stick butter, softened at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
8 oz. sour cream (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Caramel Ingredients:
1/3 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt

Start by greasing the pan. I used a springform pan to make flipping the cake easier. If you don't have a springform pan, I'd recommend using any pan that's shallow enough that flipping the cake out won't be a huge ordeal, e.g. a glass pie pan. Oh, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Next, I prepped the apples. I peeled them, cut them into wedges, cut out the core, and then sliced them up. I like to arrange the apple slices in a circle around the edge and then fill in the center with a few more pieces. I cut up any remaining apple pieces into chunks - I reserved about 1 cup of apple chunks and snacked on the leftovers.
To prepare the caramel, combine the sugar, salt (if you're so inclined), and water in a clean saucepan. Any oil or leftover food in the pan can cause the sugar to crystallize and turn into rock candy rather than caramel. It's also a good idea to pour the water around the edge of the pot. If you just haphazardly pour it in, you might splash some sugar onto the sides of the pan which might also make the sugar crystallize.

I don't have a candy thermometer (I know I should really get one) so I'm not sure what temperature the caramel was. I just babysat it and took it off the heat as soon as it started turning brown. It took about 10 minutes over a high heat for the transformation to take place.
Gently pour the caramel over the apples. You might hear a hiss or sizzle from the apples since the sugar is really hot. Work quickly though because the caramel will harden in just a few minutes.
Next, make the cake batter.
Pour the cake batter carefully over the apples. The apples shouldn't really move much because the caramel acts like a glue. Using a spatula, spread the cake batter evenly over the apples.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden and the cake passes the toothpick test.
Let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes until you see it start to pull away from the sides of the pan. This means it's ready to be flipped over. Look at the dripping salted caramel! To flip the cake, place the serving dish on top and then flip over and remove the pan.
Look at how pretty!
Slice and serve.
The cake is kind of dense but it's still light at the same time - oxymoron. It's really moist and delicious and the salted caramel is a great compliment to the sweet apples. Enjoy!

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