Applesauce Cake with Caramel Icing

Circle B Kitchen

Recipe Courtesy Food52

You might find the addition of ground black pepper a little odd in this recipe, but flavor-wise, it doesn't read "black pepper".  I think it mostly contributes to the wonderful spice notes and I would advise you not to leave it out.  I used a chunky applesauce and would advise you to do the same.  Musselman's makes one with small chunks of apple that was just perfect in this.  Homemade would be even better!

For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar 
1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce (homemade would be awesome)
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

For the glaze:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
½ cup light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
About ¾ cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted 

Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a standard-size (12-cup) Bundt pan (or spray with nonstick cooking spray).

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, and spices, and whisk to mix well. 

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs with both sugars until light. Beat in the applesauce, oil, and vanilla until smooth. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add the flour mixture, and beat briefly, just to combine. Use a rubber spatula to fold gently, making sure that all the dry ingredients are incorporated. 

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake for 10 minutes in the pan on a rack before turning it out and allowing to cool completely.  (The cake should be room temperature before applying the glaze). 

When you’re ready to glaze, set the cooling rack (with the cake on it) on top of a rimmed sheet pan. This will catch drips. 

Put the butter in a medium (2- to 3-quart) saucepan with the brown sugar, cream, and salt, and set over medium heat. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute exactly, and then pull the pan off the heat. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, and then gradually whisk in the confectioner’s sugar until you have a thick but pourable consistency.  Only add as much sugar as you need to make a thick glaze.  If it gets too thick, add a little cream to thin it down.  

Immediately pour the glaze over the cake, evenly covering as much surface area as possible. Let the glaze set before serving the cake. 

Yield: about 10 servings