Classical Apple Caramel Cake
1 box spice cake mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups finely chopped apple (put in processor and chop)
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
In large mixing bowl, blend together the first 7 ingredients on medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Stir in apples and pecans. Divide evenly among 3 greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. (Pans may be lined with waxed paper.)
Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until center of cake is firm or cake begins to turn loose sides of pans. Cool cake layers on racks. When cool, slice each layer into two layers. Spread the following filling between layers. Frost sides and top with caramel icing.
Apple Cheese Filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/4 cup margarine (not spread)
1 pound confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1½ teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups chunky apple sauce (directions follow)
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream together cream cheese and margarine. Add confectioners sugar and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in apple sauce and pecans.
For apple sauce, peel and slice 5 medium Gala apples and cook until just tender. Drain. Add 1/2 cup sugar and stir until dissolved. Thicken with 1/3 cup water and 1/4 cup corn starch. Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Cool completely before adding to filling. I like to make the apple sauce a day ahead and put into refrigerator.
1¼ cups sugar
1¼ cups water
3-1/8 cups sugar
17 ounces evaporated milk (1 large can and 1 small can)
1¼ sticks margarine (not spread)
1½ teaspoons vanilla
1½ cups chopped pecans (optional)
In a large, heavy, stainless Dutch oven, spread 1¼ cups sugar. On high heat, brown sugar. Don’t stir until you see the first bubble appear, then start stirring from the bubble and gradually stir until the sugar is melted, golden brown, and transparent.
If it starts browning too quickly, lower the heat. As soon as it becomes transparent, add the water. Don’t panic — it will harden, but just leave it alone. It will melt.
While this is melting and cooking down, mix the 3-1/8 cups of sugar and milk in a 2 quart microwave-safe measuring cup. Heat in microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes. Don’t boil, just heat.
The mixture in the Dutch oven should cook approximately 6 to 7 minutes on high. Watch it and you will notice a change in the size of the bubbles. When the bubbles are very small and “fast,” add the milk and sugar mixture from the microwave, stirring constantly. When it starts to boil rapidly, add the margarine. Stir very often until mixture cooks down.
Reduce heat after margarine is melted and mixture begins to boil again. Cook until a soft ball forms when dropped in cold water. This takes quite a while, so be patient. Remove from heat and add vanilla and pecans.
Beat with a large spoon until of spreading consistency. Don’t get discouraged. You have to beat and beat and beat. If you should accidentally overbeat it and it gets too hard, just add some hot water, a teaspoon at a time until spreading consistency is reached.