Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When Upside-down is Rightside-up

I went to Bikram Yoga today and it felt SO GOOD to be back! I loved finishing a hard workout with spaghetti legs instead of brick legs. I really needed the stretch and class was even more encouraging because even though I haven't been to Bikram since last March, I can tell that running has made me stronger again. I tried every pose even though I'm far from perfecting any. And I didn't have to take a break and sit down during class at all!

In other news, I have two apples left from our trip through Nebraska City. I've fallen into a terrible habit of baking on my days off, and today I wanted to make a Ross-approved treat since he's always cleaning up after me when I work several days in a row. Enter caramel apples + cake. I used these two recipes for guidance and I'm so happy with the results!

Browned Butter Caramel

4 Tbs. butter
3/4 cup brown sugar

Melt butter in skillet over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, begin to stir with a heat-safe spatula until the butter turns golden. Continue to stir for about 10 more seconds to achieve a really rich caramel color. Take off heat immediately and turn burner down to medium heat. Add brown sugar and place skillet back on the burner. Cook for 3 minutes over medium heat until the caramel is smooth and creamy.

Caramel Apple Upside-down Cake

1 batch of browned butter caramel (see recipe above)
2 apples, cored and sliced
sprinkle of lemon juice
1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup all-purpose and 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
6 Tbs. butter
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup real maple syrup
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Make browned butter caramel, pour into 9-inch cake pan (I used 12 muffin tins and had a little leftover) and set aside. Arrange apple slices in pan. Sprinkle lemon juice over apple slices and set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon). Cream together the butter with the granulated sugar, syrup, and applesauce. Add the eggs, one at a time, while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla extract and then the dry ingredients, alternately with the milk. Beat until light and fluffy.

Spread over apples and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When it's done, the cakes will look golden and the sides will start to pull away from the pan. Allow to cool for several minutes, then grab a plate or cake stand and place on top of the pan. Flip over and hope for the best. Gently tap the top of each muffin tin and carefully remove.

Sometimes things must be upside down to become right side up. In yoga and in baking!

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