Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on June 20, 2015

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.comWhat I love most about being a professional chef is teaching others how to cook and bake. Baking was always my first love and from the start, I did it well. Cooking was something I learned at a young age, and not something I ever aspired to do — it was something that developed over time and out of necessity.

Both of my parents worked full time, and it was hard for them to plan nutritious and well balanced meals every day of the week. Dad would do the grocery shopping on the weekend and mum would loosely plan meals for the week – I say loosely because we had to have some flexibility for scheduling changes that would inevitably arise.

My mother would call about 3:30pm every day to make sure we arrived home safely from school, and also what I had to prepare for dinner each night. I was 13 and had just started to pay attention to good shopping habits and how things came together in a meal. By happenstance, this early training cultivated my interest in the industry. It was not until many years later that I even entertained the notion of taking this on as a career.

When I got into the food business in the late 80’s/early 90’s, there was no Food Network and no celebrity chefs. It was a tough field to enter into as a young woman, and not something you did without a lot of thought. It was not a professional type of career, and was looked down upon by many people – including my parents. The hours were long and the work was demanding. The pressures of the industry separated out those who really wanted to be great from those who were in it just for a paycheck.

Times have really changed. The explosion of food television has created an interest in the industry unlike any other time in history. Now chefs have the flexibility to choose from either traditional kitchen duties or other more unique job descriptions that expand beyond the kitchen.  This new emphasis on the industry comes at a time when health professionals have gone to battle with processed food manufacturers. Their belief is that if people ate more whole foods and prepared more meals at home, we would not be dealing with a health crisis quite like the one before us.

Chefs, farmers, nutritionists and other health advocates have begun to develop advocacy programs focusing on the very young. Their goals are to help them learn about their food, show them to make better food and ingredient choices AND teach them how to prepare healthier meals and treats. Regardless of whether a youngster uses this information to become a home cook or professional chef — either way — it’s an important skill that will serve them well.

Parents always ask me to consider developing recipes for the younger audience. So, I created a new Kid Friendly Foods category to satisfy the request for both meals and desserts. What better way to launch this new category than with a simple apple cake recipe that little hands can prepare for Father’s Day.

It’s time to think outside of the box — baking from scratch does not and should not involve a boxed cake mix. Have you ever glanced at the side panel to see the list of the chemicals used in these cake mixes?

This great little recipe is worry free and starts with a handful of common pantry ingredients that can come together as a fancy cake with your favorite frosting or baked like a coffee cake with a streusel topping for easy snacking. If you prefer to use a simple glaze (instead of frosting) you can try the honey balsamic toffee glaze listed below or my easy milk sugar glaze. If you want to be a little more creative, you can try a cream cheese frosting or the more traditional vanilla or chocolate.

The glaze listed below is sweet and tart and can be drizzled on a slice of the cake served with a scoop of ice cream. The honey balsamic vinegar I used is a product from Honey Ridge Farms It’s perfect for this recipe because it’s so fruity with low acidity – the resulting toffee sauce can be use for this cake or drizzled on ice cream, yogurt or fresh fruit. This is a truly sensational, homemade dessert created especially for little hands.

Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee (makes 1- 9” bundt pan)
2 cups shredded apples (I used sweet gala)
2 eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon maple extract (or use vanilla)
½ cup applesauce
2/3 cup oil
2 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

Shred the apples and set them aside. Place the eggs, sugar, extract, applesauce and oil together in a medium sized bowl and whisk everything together until well mixed. Sift all of the dry ingredients together and then add the wet ingredients into the dry. Whisk everything together and then pour into a greased baking pan. This batter will be on the stiff side and is very easy to handle. If you would like to add streusel on top of this, I would suggest baking it in a 9”x9” baking pan, and adding the streusel on top before baking. If you would like to make a cake that you will later frost, bake the batter in a round 9” cake pan. This recipe will make one 9” layer cake.

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Honey Balsamic Toffee Glaze
Half a bottle of Honey Ridge Farms Honey Balsamic Vinegar (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (or use 4 tablespoons Honey Ridge Farms honey)
1 ½ cups heavy cream ** for a darker toffee sauce use only 4-8 tablespoons

Add the 2/3 cup balsamic vinegar along with the sugar to a small pot and cook on moderate heat until the syrup will begin to bubble. You will smell the vinegar in the evaporation and as it begins to bubble slower and slower it will be hard to tell when it begins to turn to caramel because it is so dark to begin with. When you see the bubbles starting to slow after a few minutes add half of the heavy cream and stir with a wooden spoon. The color won’t change too much but it will loosen the syrup a little and bubble up. If you want to keep the toffee darker, then don’t use more than 4-8 tablespoons. If you want it lighter, then use the entire quantity of cream. Make sure to put it back on the stove and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes until you see large bubbles forming again slowly.  At this point, add the rest of the cream. Cook on the stove for another few minutes and then remove from the heat and allow it to cool completely. This will be a thinner toffee, more like a caramel sauce.

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

The consistency of the sugar should be about soft ball stage (about 235-240 F) before adding the cream…

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Result is a deep, sweet and tangy toffee…if you would like it lighter, simply add the entire amount of cream listed in the recipe…

Father’s Day Apple Cake With Honey Balsamic Toffee Sauce, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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