Thursday, September 21, 2006

Surprise in What?

I had planned on devoting more time to this entry, but the forces of nature and a big party tomorrow have conspired to keep it brief. As part of a monthly food bloggers event titled "Sugar High Friday" and hosted this month by St. Louis' own Alanna Kellogg (for SHF specifics visit her blog: ( This month's SHF theme was "Surprise Inside" recipes, meaning a sweet treat with a special something under the surface. I actually came up with my recipe for a cooking class I was teaching this week at the local Viking Store. It was a fundraiser for the Clayton Farmer's Market where I was paired with a local farmer- a bison farm to be exact. Suffice it to say my interest in creating a "Bison Pot de Creme" was nil (although what a "surprise inside" that would have made). Instead I adapted this moist apple cake flavored with green cardamom (much less assertive than black) with a molten center of caramel sauce made with apple cider. It's seasonal and a little different, but not as surprising as it could have been.

Cardamom-Apple Cake with Molten Cider-Caramel

Quantity Produced: Makes 12 Individual Cakes

Tart Apples, Peeled/Grated 6 Apples
Light Brown Sugar, Packed 3 Cups
Eggs 3
Flour 3 2/3 Cups
Green Cardamom, Ground 1 teaspoon
Cinnamon 1 ½ teaspoons
Salt ¼ teaspoon
Baking Soda 2 ½ teaspoons
Pecans, Chopped 1 ½ Cups
Vanilla Extract 1 ½ teaspoons
Butter, Softened 3 oz.
Oil, Canola (neutral oil) 3 oz.

Cider-Caramel Sauce (Makes 1 ½ Cups)

Apple Cider 3 Cups
Vanilla Bean, Scraped 1
Dark Brown Sugar ½ Cup (Packed)
Butter, Unsalted ¼ Cup
Heavy Cream ½ Cup

Preparation Procedure for Cider-Caramel Sauce-

Reduce cider by half, add vanilla bean, sugar, butter and cream. Reduce until thick. Keep warm

Preparation Procedure for Apple Cake-

Preheat oven 350d.. Combine softened butter & oil in mixer using paddle attachment. Add sugar, egg and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon & cardamom).
Mix until combined. Add grated apple and chopped pecans, mix until combined. Using greased individual ramekins, spoon cider-caramel into bottoms of each ramekin (at least 1 Tablespoon) and top with spoonful of apple cake batter. Bake 45min. to 1 hour. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm in ramekin.