Homemade Food Gifts: Caramel Apple Mini Cakes

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For many of us, a happy holiday starts with great food.

This is the time of year to bust out every top notch ingredient, pull your best kitchen tricks out of your sleeve and get the good dishes dirty. It’s also about baking the very best you can, with the spirit of the season in your heart, and sharing with those you love. That’s why holiday food gifts are tippy top on my short list of things I love to give (and receive!)

We canned a lot this year, so I’ll be giving some jars away, but most of my food gifting will be freshly baked seasonal treats. I love the flavors of the season – everything from egg nog and gingerbread to those glistening dried fruits in…yes, I’ll admit it…fruitcake! I have a bunch of tried and true favorites, but I’m always looking for new giftable holiday recipes.

This year I’m adding a new one to the bunch…Caramel Apple Mini Cakes, a King Arthur Flour recipe.

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These dense, rich little cakes get their flavor from fresh apples, along with King Arthur Flour’s Boiled Cider. I had a bottle to play with this season and I’m just in love with the burst of pure apple cider flavor it adds, with no artificial ingredients. It’s made from Vermont cider, freshly pressed and boiled until it becomes a thick, pourable syrup. Perfect for everything from apple pie to pork chops in the Crock Pot. (I plan to add some to my mulled cider this year, just to perk it up.)

Topped with a thick cooked caramel frosting, they’re just the thing to complement all those warm, yummy things that seem to show up in mugs this time of year. (Tea, cider, hot toddy, anyone?)

After this season, KAF Boiled Cider has earned a permanent place in my kitchen, right alongside KAF Apple Pie Spice.

These easy-to-make cakes are also easy to gift when you bake them in mini loaf size paper baking pans. King Arthur Flour has disposable paper pans for just about any recipe, making it even easier to deliver to your lucky recipient’s doorstep. They’re plenty strong enough for baking and transporting and they make your gifts look great, especially when you wrap them up with holiday bags, tags, and ribbons. KAF has a huge selection to help make all your kitchen creations look pretty and professional. I love the polka dotted paper cones and BAKE ribbon! 

For tons of festive food gift inspiration, visit kingarthurflour.com and make a gift of it!

Caramel Apple Mini Cakes

recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Cake

2 cups (8 ounces) King Arthur Whole Wheat Flour, traditional or white whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups (11 1/4 ounces )brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) boiled cider or frozen apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup (4 ounces) applesauce
3 cups peeled, chopped apples (about 3 apples, 3/4 pound before peeling)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) walnuts, chopped

Frosting
5 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup firmly (3 1/4 ounces) packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons (1 3/8 ounces) corn syrup
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) milk
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease the wells of a Pop-Up Pan, or 12 muffin cups.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices; set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, stoping once or twice to scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl, then mix in the dry ingredients, vanilla, boiled cider and applesauce, stirring until evenly moistened. Fold in the apples and walnuts.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 15 minutes before turning out of the pan; cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting: Melt the butter, stir in the salt, brown sugar, and corn syrup and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts. Add the milk, bring to a rolling boil, and pour into a mixing bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Beat well; if the mixture appears too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar. Spread on the cakes while the frosting is still warm. Yield: 12 servings.

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25 Comments

Filed under 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food, Uncategorized

25 Responses to Homemade Food Gifts: Caramel Apple Mini Cakes

  1. Those look amazing. And I love the idea of paper pans!
    Stephanie {Binkies and Briefcases} recently posted..Sharing Our Christmas Decorations and a SecretMy Profile

  2. You can’t make me look away when caramel is involved. This recipe sounds so perfectly wonderful.
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell recently posted..Glazed Cranberry Orange Quick Bread (Good Cook Leftover-Inspired Recipe Link-up #8)My Profile

  3. These look awesome!! I love caramel! Pinning these for future reference. ;)
    Christine Luken recently posted..Meatless Meal Planning MondayMy Profile

  4. Your caramel apple mini cakes look delish! Thanks for sharing the recipe.
    Virginia @thatbaldchick recently posted..Nexus 7 TabletMy Profile

  5. I have seen those paper pans before and thought how great they would be for gift giving! This recipe looks delish!
    Francine @ Teresa’s Family Cleaning recently posted..Happy Thanksgiving PoemMy Profile

  6. Home made treats are such a special gift. It is something that makes people feel special and loved.
    Janeane Davis recently posted..Take Action Now – What I Learned From My Accountability GroupMy Profile

  7. Shauna

    Oh my goodness, those look amazing and I totally love the idea of gifting them. Would be an awesome idea for our church gift exchange. :) Thanks so much

  8. those look AMAZING. amazing! I love caramel and apple!
    brett recently posted..Estella Decks the Halls with Great Holiday Gifts for the Babies in Your LifeMy Profile

  9. Pam

    I think homemade food gifts are the best kind. These look delicious!

  10. Ave

    These cakes look delicious! What a great gift idea!
    Ave recently posted..3 DIY Christmas TreesMy Profile

  11. Jutta P

    That frosting looks divine. We moved to a new town this year. Our neighbors have been so friendly. So, I am planning on taking some goodies around. I will have to keep these in mind!

  12. These look so good and would make a very nice food gift too!

  13. YUMMM.. this looks amazing; I was in the mood for an apple cake and bought a bunch of apples the other day but couldn’t find a recipe that I liked.. this looks awesome, so going into the kitchen to make it now. Thanks for sharing
    Melanie a/k/a CrazyMom recently posted..Follow our Elfcapades with #ElfMagic and our Elf Becky ~ She’s Back!!!My Profile

  14. These look like a delicious gift idea..I really want to try making them myself!
    Amy Desrosiers recently posted..accént® Moisturizing Lotion and Cleansing Wash *Gentle Skincare for Eczema! #ReviewMy Profile

  15. My mouth is watering. I love Caramel and apples. It is always nice to get a yummy homemade gift from someone’s kitchen.
    Chrishelle @ Cheer MamaDrama recently posted..TO TATTOO OR NOT TO TATTOO: PARENTING TEENSMy Profile

  16. These little mini cakes look so yummy. Who doesn’t love the mixture of Apple and Caramel? These are perfect for the holidays and would make great gifts!
    Cynthia L recently posted..Comment on Garlic Shrimp with Mushrooms by Francine @ Teresa’s Family CleaningMy Profile

  17. These look absolutely delicious. I love caramel and apple together.
    Shannah @ Just Us Four recently posted..25 Awesome Christmas CraftsMy Profile

  18. WOW! That looks completely amazing! I don’t know if there would be any leftover to use as gifts if I make this, lol!
    Dawn Lopez recently posted..Join Me For The #EasyGifts Twitter PartyMy Profile

  19. This looks and sounds really yummy. I love apples in cakes. I will pin this for sure.
    Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas recently posted..Christmas Cranberry Salad – Gluten FreeMy Profile

  20. This looks wonderful! I’m sure anyone would love this as a gift.
    Paula@SweetPea recently posted..Peppermint Candy Twist CenterpieceMy Profile

  21. Laura Jacobson

    Oh these look so good! I love caramel apples and this would be so good! I think my grandson would love them!

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