Spiced Apple Nut Cake
Orange soured cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
Zest of 1 orange
1⁄4 cup confectioners’ sugar
Spiced apple nut cakes:
1⁄8 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) plus 11⁄2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
3⁄4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B), divided
1⁄2 cup superfine sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
3⁄4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1. Make orange soured cream: Combine cream, vinegar and orange zest in bowl of an electric mixer. Cover and let sit overnight in refrigerator.
2. Place bowl in electric mixer fitted with whip attachment. Add sugar and beat until soft peaks form.
3. Make spiced apple nut cakes: Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 300ºF.
4. Place granulated sugar and 11⁄2 tablespoons of butter in 8" or 9" nonstick frying pan. Let melt over medium-high heat until sugar begins to caramelize, then add sliced apples. Toss apples in syrup and cook until they begin to soften and brown slightly, no more than 1 minute. Pour onto a cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet and set aside.
5. Butter and flour inside of six 6-ounce ramekins. Pour 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup into each of the ramekins (reserve the remaining 3 liquid ounces of maple syrup for later).
6. Divide the apple mixture into thirds. Take the first third and line the bottom of the ramekins with approximately three slices in each.
7. Place superfine sugar and remaining 1⁄2 cup (1 stick) of butter into bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Cream until well combined, then add eggs and 1 tablespoon of flour and beat well. Fold in remaining flour, cinnamon, baking powder, pecans and salt.
8. Place about 1 tablespoon of batter into each ramekin and spread evenly over apples. Add 2 more layers of apples and batter, making sure to end with the batter layer.
9. Carefully place ramekins into large roasting pan. Add hot water to roasting pan until it comes halfway up the sides of ramekins. Cover entire roasting pan with aluminum foil and secure tightly around edges. Place pan in oven and steam for 75 minutes.
10. Carefully remove ramekins from roasting pan and turn out onto plate while still warm. Pour remaining 3 liquid ounces of maple syrup over the top (1 tablespoon per individual cake). Serve with dollop of orange soured cream.
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