I love these little goodies. I made them for the first time last year, right around the holiday season, and while apples treats don't usually scream "Christmas fare" to me, they somehow seemed so seasonally right, if you know what I mean.
These little cakes are easy to make, freeze exceptionally well and, according to my sous-chef-in-training eight year old, they pair great with milk. I happen to like them with tea and coffee, and also think they would be nice packaged up and mailed to an unsuspecting recipient.
Have you started your holiday baking already? I'm finally getting around to it, and must confess that I'm taking a simplified approach to it this year. I just don't have the time (catering at Christmas + "hockey mom" = short on time!), or the desire to over indulge. Instead, I've selected five family favourites, plus a few items for gift giving, and am really hoping to keep it at that. Anything else that I think I might need, or want, will likely be bought from one of the fantastic bakeries popping up in my area.
What sweets are you baking this season? Are you taking the simplified approach as well, or are you celebrating big with lots of fun creations?
Mini Apple Spice Cakes with Caramel and Walnuts, adapted from Dorie Greenspan
For the glaze:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda and nutmeg and set aside. In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the brown sugar and stir until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and incorporate well. Add the applesauce and vanilla and whisk until all ingredients are well blended.
Using a rubber spatula, blend the flour into the wet ingredients, mixing until the flour disappears. Pour into the sprayed pan and bake for 23 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cook for 20 minutes.
While the cake is cooling make your glaze. Combine the cream, sugar, butter, corn syrup, vanilla and walnuts in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring often.
Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and smooth with the spatula. Top with walnuts and allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.