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Apple Butter Cake with Graham Cracker Streusel and Caramel Drizzle

Recipe: Apple Butter Cake with Graham Cracker Streusel and Caramel Drizzle NEW

Remarks:

    My husband declared it the best cake he’d ever tasted. My husband has eaten 25 years of my cakes so I guess that says something.I decided to start with a mix; just to make it easy for novice cooks. You’ll see in my recipe that I decided to put a streusel layer in the middle and one on top. Interesting thing is it all sunk to the bottom but worked out blissfully so I am sticking with it. Because the middle streusel “landed” at the bottom I decided the cake needed extra crunch on top. I happily cut up another toffee bar and tossed the pieces over the cake while it cooled. The bits didn’t completely melt, so I was successful in adding my crunch on top. My caramel sauce came to the perfect consistency after it cooled, so when I drizzled it over the cake, just the right amount slid down the sides to form that cascading affect so sought after in a drizzle cake. Bingo. I had it! Don’t be afraid by the number of ingredients. This is really a very easy cake to prepare. It just has three parts. The cake. The streusel. And the Caramel Drizzle.

Servings:
Serves 12

Ingredients:

    The Cake
    1 box of yellow cake mix
    ½ cup of softened butter (Not melted. Softened)
    2/3 cup of water
    3 eggs
    one cup of peeled and minced (tiny squares) of Granny Smith apple
    The Streusel
    1-1/3 cups of graham cracker crumbs
    ¾ cup of chopped walnuts (optional. Use any nut or no nuts)
    ¾ cup of brown sugar (loosely packed)
    1-1/2 tsp of cinnamon
    2/3 cup of melted butter
    3 English toffee bars - such as Heath bars - diced (save one third of the pieces for the topping)
    The Caramel Sauce
    3 Tbl of butter
    6 Tbl of dark brown sugar
    6 tsp of maple syrup
    6 Tbl of sweetened condensed milk
    pinch of salt
    ¼ cup of water

Instructions:

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the cake mix, butter, water and eggs in your mixer. Blend on slower setting to incorporate all dry ingredients. Use your spatula to wipe down the sides. Now turn the mixer up to medium high and blend a full four minutes. Time it. By blending for 4 minutes you will end up with a whipped butter batter that is amazingly fluffy. Stir in your apple bits after you’ve turned off the mixer. While the batter is mixing, if you are using a stand mixer you can make your streusel. In a bowl, combine the crumbs, chopped walnuts, brown sugar, cinnamon, melted butter and 2 of the English toffee bars cut into bits. Stir thoroughly. Grease and flour your baking pan. You can choose a tube pan (angel pan) or a 10” springform cheesecake pan. Pour one half of the batter in the pan. Then sprinkle one half of the streusel across the batter and add the last of the batter on top of the streusel. Finally put the last half of the streusel on top of the cake. Save the last toffee bar until after the cake has baked. Bake the cake for 55 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees. Check it with a toothpick toward the end of baking. If the toothpick comes out with no batter stuck to it, the cake is completely baked. It will be golden brown. Pull the pan out of the oven and immediately sprinkle on the rest of your English toffee bits. Let the cake rest on the counter to FULLY cool. While the cake is baking or cooling you can make your caramel sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, on medium high. Then add the sugar, syrup, condensed milk and salt and turn the heat to medium high. You want the mixture to begin to boil. Stir often and watch for the tiny bubbles to form on the edge of the pan. This is not like regular caramel sauce that you have to cook until it turns golden brown. This will already be brown. Don’t let it come to a full boil. You just want to see it start to thicken up. Then slowly add the water and continue stirring over the heat. Should only take about 5 minutes. Then let the sauce cool in the pan on the stove or counter. Do not put it in the refrigerator. This cooling will take a few hours. When the sauce is fully cooled, stir it to loosen up the top of the caramel and get it all incorporated. It will now be a thickened caramel topping.

Serving Suggestions:

    When the cake is fully cooled, release it from the pan. Put it crunchy-side up on a beautiful cake plate and drizzle the caramel over. You have two choices. Drizzle the caramel lightly and then reserve the rest to serve warm in a small puddle next to the cake slices or drizzle it thickly on the cake with no remainders. You can serve with vanilla ice cream as an option too. Or do both warm caramel sauce and ice cream.

Enjoy. Cheers! Zola

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