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Apple Cake with Calvados Caramel

Apple Cake with Calvados Caramel

Fall in Washington signals the annual apple harvest.  Apple Cake with Calvados Caramel features Washington apples with the French apple brandy Calvados.

Course brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Keyword apples, cakes, caramel, ice cream, Pastry
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Author David Ross


For the Apple Cake-

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
  • cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoon apple brandy
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar for dusting.

Calvados Caramel-

  • cup heavy cream
  • 1" piece of vanilla bean, cut in half
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 4 tablespoon butter, cut in cubes
  • 1 tablespoon apple brandy


Make the Apple Cake-

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Spray a 9" square baking dish with flour and cooking oil spray.

  2. In a mixing bowl, add the flour baking soda, cinnamon, allspice and salt and blend to combine.

  3. In the bowl of a mixer, add the butter and beat on slow speed. Add the oil and mix to combine, about one minutes. Add the sugar and brown sugar, and beat to combine, another 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, and continue to beat until the ingredients are combined.

  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until the batter is combined. Add the candied ginger, raisins, vanilla and apple brandy and continue to mix into the batter. Add the apple chunks and blend into the batter.

  5. Spread the batter into the baking pan and bake for 40-46 minutes or until the cake is golden on top and a wood skewer in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake on a wire rack.

Make the Calvados Caramel and Serve-

  1. Pour the cream into a saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the cream. Bring the cream to a boil and reduce the heat to low while you make the caramel.

  2. In another saucepan over medium high heat, add the sugar, water, salt and corn syrup and stir to blend. When the mixture boils, turn the heat down to medium-low and cook the caramel, without stirring, for 8-10 minutes. The caramel will turn an amber color.

  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and add the cream. Be careful as the cream will boil. When the caramel simmers down, stir in the butter and the apple brandy. Whisk the caramel until it's smooth and creamy. Let the caramel cool down a little before serving.

  4. Cut the apple cake into serving slices. Dust the cakes with powdered sugar and then drizzle with the caramel. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

    Apple Cake with Calvados Caramel

Recipe Notes

You can make the caramel ahead, just cover and refrigerate.  Warm it up in a bowl over a simmering saucepan of water and serve. We garnish the Apple Cake with some Almond Crumble. Find the almond crumble recipe at the link to our Wild Huckleberry Panna Cotta.