This recipe was a gift to the Berghoffs from a friend, Alma Lach, a cookbook editor and former food editor for the Chicago Sun-Times. The cake is good on its own but with caramel sauce spooned over it, it becomes spectacular. It appears in The Berghoff Family Cookbook From Our Table to Yours, Celebrating a Century of Entertaining by Carlyn and Jan Berghoff (Andrews McMeel).
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream or cream substitute
3 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon for pan
1 cup flour, plus 2 tablespoons for pan
3/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups peeled, cored, and minced Granny Smith apples
Make the sauce: In a small pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and cream, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the bourbon and vanilla. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square cake pan. Tap out any excess flour. In a small bowl combine the pecans and brown sugar; set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and mix well. With an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until very light. Stir into the flour mixture and add the apples. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the top of the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until firm. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Spoon half of the sauce over the hot cake and allow it to cool completely before serving. Cut the cake into 8 pieces and serve with remaining sauce on the side.
This recipe appeared in “What’s Cooking with Sheilah Kaufman,” an online column on jwmag.org from 2002-2010. Kaufman, the author of 26 cookbooks, teaches “fearless and fussless” techniques for elegant cooking in classes throughout the country. Contact her at www.cookingwithsheilah.com.