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Sometimes you see a recipe and all you can think is, "I can't wait to make that." Such was the case when my friend Nancy sent me this one she heard on NPR.
When my daughter-in-law told me her mother was making an apple pie, I decided to make this for Thanksgiving. It is not nearly as difficult as you think; you might consider making this cake during the holidays.
Apple Cider Pound Cake with Cider Caramel Sauce
Yield: 16 generous servings
Vegetable shortening and flour for pan
2 cups unfiltered apple cider
3 cups all-purpose flour
one-half teaspoon salt
one-half teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon ground mace or nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom
1½ cups (3 sticks) butter at room temperature
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ to 1/3 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
¼ cup pecan pieces or halves, lightly toasted if you wish
4 cups apple cider
½ cup Calvados, brandy or bourbon
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground mace
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1½ cups heavy cream
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Use fingertips or a dry pastry brush to thoroughly grease the inside of a 10-inch, light metal tube or Bundt pan with the shortening, making sure to coat every nook and cranny. Dust with flour and tap out any excess.
In small saucepan, simmer cider over medium-high heat until it reduces to 1 cup. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, mace and cardamom.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat butter at high speed until creamy. With the mixer running, gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Quickly beat in the vanilla. Add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with half the cider, beating after each addition only until batter is smooth.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Gently tap the pan on counter a few times to remove any trapped air bubbles. Bake in center of oven until a long tester or wooden skewer inserted into the center of cake comes out clean with a few moist, clinging crumbs, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn out cake and let cool to room temperature while you make glaze and sauce.
For glaze, in a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add cream in slow, steady stream, stirring continuously. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens and comes just to a boil, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Stir in enough confectioners' sugar to make stiff glaze that resembles icing. Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake, letting it run down the sides. Sprinkle with pecans and let sit for a few minutes while the glaze sets.
For sauce, in a large saucepan, bring cider, Calvados, sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, cinnamon, mace and cardamom to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. (Don't worry if lemon juice makes the mixture look curdled at first, just keep stirring.) Let cook at low boil for 10 minutes. Stir in cream and continue cooking until mixture reduces to 1½ cups, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Serve slices of cake with a little sauce.
Store cake in air-tight container at room temperature for up to a week. If you refrigerate cake, return to room temperature for serving. Store sauce covered and refrigerated; reheat it gently or return to room temperature for serving.
LEE WHITE HAS BEEN WRITING ABOUT RESTAURANTS AND COOKING SINCE THE LATE 1970S. EMAIL HER AT LEEAWHITE@AOL.COM.
A little over a month ago, The Day features editor Marisa Nadolny wrote about the terrific burgers at Haywire, a husband-and-wife owned burger place in Westbrook. I always believe Marisa's reviews, but now that I've been there, I must do a Nibbles, too.
To call this only a burger place is an understatement. There are 16 burgers, four chicken burgers, seafood burgers and veggie choices, a few amazing entrees, appetizers and, as they call it, big salads. Prices are very reasonable. Beef is freshly ground in-house from cattle raised in a humane environment without antibiotics or hormones. Are they delicious? I had a Sunny Side, beef, bacon, cheddar, fried egg, onion straws and garlic mayo. You can order "pink or no pink." I've not had a better gourmet burger anywhere.
730 Boston Post Road (Route 1)
Westbrook, CT 06498