I’m not sure what possessed me to make this cake. It’s fruit, fruit, and then oh yeah, more fruit which is definitely not the kind of dessert that I’m usually drawn to. But the moment I saw this recipe, I knew I needed it.

Maybe it was the brandy. Maybe it was the brown sugar sauce. I don’t know what it was but oh my goodness, I am so happy that I decided to make it! It’s sticky and chewy and the raisins just burst in your mouth with brandy flavor. The sauce? I will pour it on everything I eat for the rest of my life.

I thought I had burnt the cake when it pulled it out because it was so dark but don’t fret if I make it, it’s supposed to look that way. It’s caramel-y and delicious and pretty much perfection in (fruity) cake form. I’m already dying to make it again!

Sticky Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Sauce
For the cake:
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup brandy
  • 1 cup dried apple slices cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 2 cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 2 medium-sized tart apples such as Northern Spy or Rome Beauty, cut into 1/2" inch pieces
For the brown sugar sauce:
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons brandy optional
To make the cake:
  1. In a small bowl, soak the raisins in the brandy for 45 minutes. Add the dried apple pieces and macerate for a further 15 minutes. Do not drain!
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F. Butter a 9 x 13 inch pan and line the bottom and up the two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper, letting the paper hang over the edges by an inch or so. Lightly butter the paper.
  3. In a small bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl with a hand held electric mixer or whisk, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend both sugars. Add the eggs and beat on medium speed until thickened and pale, about 2 minutes with a machine, 4 to 5 minutes by hand. Add the cooled melted butter and mix to blend. Fold in the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just enough to moisten most but not all of the flour. Add the dried fruit and brandy mixture and diced fresh apple, then fold them into the batter with long, deep strokes. Don't fret about the ratio of fruit to batter -- there is a remarkable amount of fruit but it bakes into a wonderfully chewy cake.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set in the center of the oven. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the center springs back when lightly touched, a tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Serve warm with the brown sugar sauce.
To make the sauce:
  1. Combine the butter, sugars and cream in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir this mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then increase the heat to medium and bring the sauce to a very gentle boil, stirring all the while. Cook 5 more minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the brandy, if using. Serve immediately, or cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days. To rewarm, either microwave the uncovered sauce on low power or transfer the cold caramel to a saucepan and stir over low heat until warm.
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