*This Cardamom Spiced Whole Wheat Apple Cake + Honey Caramel bakes fresh seasonal apples into a dense and tender spiced whole grain buttermilk cake that is drizzled with a simple caramel sauce sweetened with honey.
The calendar tells us that Autumn is here once the 22nd of September has arrived. Mother nature has her own way of announcing the season’s change: in falling leaves of crimson and gold. For those of us who bake, we have a different way of knowing when summer has slipped away into Fall. Pumpkins, pears, cinnamon & quince, figs & nutmeg, all of these find their way into our ovens. And none more frequently than the apple.
Don’t apples just scream “fall is here, bake me, bake me!” to you? That’s all I hear when I come across harvest-ready apple tree.
Speaking of which, I have an apple tree right out my back door that is positively dripping with little golden apples. And one branch of reds, which is absolutely bizarre and entirely wonderful all at the same time. Randomness suits our family.
Apple cakes are always the first thing I want to bake once the fruit starts flooding the markets. This year I’ve had a small (well, maybe medium-sized) obsession with cardamom. Therefore, a cardamom-spiced apple cake was on the to-bake list.
I wanted a hearty, dense yet tender cake that could stand up to a heavy load of apples so I modified the recipe to my Irish Apple Cake for a whole wheat version with more spice and the addition of tangy buttermilk. I used Honeycrisp apples in my cake which hold their shape well but are a little more sweet and juicy than the oft-baked granny smith apple.
The cake itself is lovely, but is not very sweet. A sticky honey caramel adds just enough sweetness to the overall cake, as well as another element of glossy moisture. Serve this cake warm with vanilla ice cream on top. And if you happen to….I don’t know, make extra caramel sauce because you know caramel sauce is what makes the world go round and want to drink it by itself, drizzle extra on top of that apple-y, ice creamy goodness. Couldn’t hurt, right?
Apple Cake Tips:
*Make sure to cut your apples in uniform cubes for even cooking. Random sized chunks may leave you with some apples over-cooked, while some may be too crisp.
*Test your cake with a toothpick before removing from the oven. It should come out mostly clean, with a few moist crumbs attached. Don’t simply rely on a golden, puffed top as your only sign of done-ness. This cake can take a little longer to bake than most.
*I used honeycrisp apples, but you can use almost any variety in this cake. If you like your cake on the sweeter side, use a super sweet variety of apple like Gala’s or Golden Delicious.
*This cake has a thicker batter, more like that of a quickbread. So when it doesn’t turn out runny and fluid, don’t worry! You done good.
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 1½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
- 1½ cups Oat Flour
- 2 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Ground Cloves
- ½ teaspoon Ground Cardamom
- 1¼ teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 6 oz. Butter, cold, cut into cubes
- ¾ C. Turbinado Sugar
- 3 Large Tart Pink Apples (I used Honeycrisp)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla
- 1¼ C. Buttermilk
- FOR THE HONEY CARAMEL:
- ½ cup Honey
- ½ cup Heavy Cream (grass-fed)
- pinch of salt
- FOR THE CAKE:
- Grease and flour a large bundt pan or two smaller bundt pans (I used a smaller bundt pan for the cake pictured).
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl. Make sure the bowl is very large to allow room for the apples to be folded in.
- Cut the butter into the flour using your fingers or a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.
- Add the ¾ C. sugar to the flour mixture and mix in.
- Peel the apples and slice them into small cubes (about ¼" x ¼").
- Toss the apples into the flour mixture and combine them thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs vanilla, and buttermilk together. Add to the apples and flour and mix in with a large spatula until just combined. Batter will be thick and dough-like.
- Transfer the dough into the prepared bundt pan or pans and flatten the top surface using the back of your spatula.
- Bake for 55-60 minutes (40-45 minutes for small bundts). Test the center for done-ness (a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake should come out mostly clean). The top of the cake should be golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and turn out of pan/pans. Make honey caramel.
- FOR THE HONEY CARAMEL:
- Place the honey, salt, and heavy cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium/high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5-6 minutes, or until mixture has reduced by half and is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from heat.
- Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Drizzle over the top of the warm cake.
- Serve cake warm with vanilla ice cream.
Apple season is here! Here are a few more recipes for using them up!