Aaahhhh autumn, here you are in all your glory bringing us the things that dreams are made of – including this Best Thanksgiving Apple Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting or salted caramel sauce – dangerously delicious!!! Inspiration comes from the incredible work of Savannah’s best baker, Minette Rushing. I’ve added some coconut to this one and a little orange juice.
Summertime gets all the glory with it comes to travel and adventure, but never underestimate the power of fall.
Who doesn’t love a hayride and watching an old tractor driving through the pumpkin patch on a chilly afternoon? Soon signs of autumn will be everywhere as our marsh grass turns from green to brown and gold.
Now that fall is here consider packing up the family and going apple picking. This is an outdoor activity that is still something available to do safely and South Carolina has some excellent choices.
Five Farms You Will Want to Visit
If you’re looking for a full day or weekend apple adventure, consider Bryson’s in Mountain Rest, SC. It’s located in the beautiful Long Creek area of the Blue Ridge Mountains near the Oconee State Park. They even press their own cider and have plenty of free samples.http://www.brysonsappleorchard.com/Home.html
South Carolina orchards are among the most beautiful in the South. Windy Hill Orchard and Cider Mill in York, SC is another I recommend highly. It’s open right up until Christmas and has a nice variety of apples.http://windyhillorchard.com/
Travelers Rest, SC is where you will find MacGregor Orchard with as many a 16 varieties of apples ripening at different times. Try using several varieties for this Best Thanksgiving Apple cake. Stock up on all kinds of delicious goodies here and enjoy spectacular views.
If you’re looking for family activities you’ll want to go to McCleod Farms in Chester because they have the largest corn maze in the state and it’s located next to a huge market. Finally, there is Cotton Hill Farm with the largest pumpkin patch in the state and plenty of apples for the best Thanksgiving Apple cake. They’re open for hayrides and tons of family fun.https://www.macspride.com/corn-maze. http://www.cottonhillsfarm.com/fall-farm-tours.html
If you’ve been searching for just the best Thanksgiving apple cake, go no further! This is the only apple cake you will ever want to make with its rich, gooey caramel frosting and melt in your mouth texture. Oh my, I cannot describe this experience. Make it one time and you will be baking this for a lifetime – hands-down best Thanksgiving Apple Cake!
I’ve been making apple cake for as long as I can remember, but this year I topped it off with this very decadent salted caramel frosting. I mean to tell you this is a dangerous recipe, dangerously delicious that is. It’s the perfect complement to fresh apple cake.
Photography by Donna Von Bruening
Mise en place – always prepare and organize before you begin
Best Thanksgiving Apple Cake
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Granny Smith apples
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 325* and prepare baking pans. Use four 6 -inch round pans and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.
If using a Bundt pan, bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees and use the recipe below for salted caramel sauce instead of the icing.
Combine the sugar, eggs, oil, orange juice, flour, baking soda, kosher salt, cinnamon, and pure vanilla extract and mix well. Fold in the apples, coconut, and pecans into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Frost the top of the cake when cooled.
Salted Caramel Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup half and half
pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/4 cups confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon whole milk (if the mixture is too thick)
In a heavy-duty saucepan combine the butter, brown sugar, half and half, and cream of tartar over medium to low heat stirring with a wooden spoon. Once butter is melted and sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil. Stir for 2 -3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
Once cooled reserve 1 tablespoon. Set aside. With an electric mixer combine the cooled caramel mixture with confectioners sugar until combined. Continue to add the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time. Stir in milk until it becomes a creamy consistency.
Spread frosting on the cooled cake. Drizzle with reserved caramel. Sprinkle an addition of kosher salt lightly just before serving.
Salted Caramel Sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 stick of butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
Place sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and is amber-colored with no lumps, 6-8 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the butter carefully as it will bubble up. Use a whisk to stir until the butter is fully melted and the mixture is incorporated, 1-2 minutes.
Slowly pour the heavy cream in a steady stream into the mixture using your whisk to combine. Once combined, let it boil for one minute before removing it from the heat.
Stir in salt and allow the caramel to cool completely before using it on the cake.