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‘Tis The Season

How a design pro decks his halls and throws a high-class holiday bash

(page 4 of 4)

Brown-Sugar Spice Cake with Cream and Caramelized Apples

8 Gala apples (3½ lbs.)
3⁄4 stick unsalted butter, softened
3⁄4 cup (packed) light brown sugar

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. ground allspice
1⁄2 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1⁄8 tsp. ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1⁄3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 large egg
1⁄2 cup maple syrup
1⁄2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 1⁄4 cup heavy whipping cream
1⁄2 cup sour cream
2 tbsp.sugar


Arrange oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly butter and flour 9-inch round cake pan. Peel and core apples, then cut into 1⁄2-inch thick wedges. Spread the 3⁄4 stick of softened butter in an even layer over bottom of a 12-inch heavy skillet and sprinkle with 3⁄4 cup of brown sugar. Add apple wedges and cook over medium heat without stirring until sugar is melted and apples start to give off liquid. Cook until apples are just tender and juices become syrupy, about 30 minutes. Pour off excess syrup and reserve,   and sauté apples until caramelized and very tender. Return syrup to the apples and cook until heated through.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Using a standing mixer, beat together one stick of butter and 1⁄3 cup of brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg until combined. Add maple syrup, 1⁄2 cup sour cream, and vanilla and beat until well combined. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture and mix until well combined. Spread batter in cake pan. Bake  until a toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Beat cream with sour cream and sugar using mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.

Cut cake into wedges; top each piece with caramelized apples and a dollop of cream. Serves 8-12.


Photography: Matthew Gilson


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