The minute I saw this cake in Food Network magazine, I knew I would be making it. I have to say though, it is a bit of work. Well worth it in the end, but work none-the-less. The recipe below is a tad bit lighter than the original - using light cream vs. heavy, less sugar, and subbing out some white flour for wheat. Hey, every little bit helps.
For the Caramel and Apples:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
2 cups sugar
5 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup light cream
4 large Golden Delicious apples
For the Batter:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
Butter a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan. Make the caramel: Cook the sugar and corn syrup in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is dark amber.
Reduce the heat to medium. Carefully add the cream and 4 tablespoons butter (it will splatter) and cook, stirring, until combined, about 3 minutes.
Remove the skillet from the heat and let sit 1 minute. Pour 1 1/2 cups caramel into a glass measuring cup and set aside (at this point, feel free to cut up another apple and dip away - you're already ready for a break). Pour the remaining caramel into the prepared pan and set aside until set, about 30 minutes.
Arrange the apple top, stem-side down, in the center of the pan. If the quartered apples shift, just push them back into place.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Make the batter: Whisk the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, orange juice and vanilla.
Beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Crack the eggs into a small bowl. Slip them into the mixer bowl, one at a time, and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 5 more minutes.
With the mixer on low speed, add half of the sour cream mixture, then half of the flour mixture. Repeat. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula; finish combining the batter by hand.
Spread the batter over the apples in the pan. It was pretty thick.
Invert a plate on top of the cake, then flip over the cake and plate. Using pot holders or a towel, wriggle the pan off. Soften the reserved 1 1/2 cups caramel in the microwave (or on the stove if you are like me and don't own a micro). Drizzle the cake with some of the caramel. Slice and serve with the rest (lots of the rest). I promise that it tastes better than it looks. The top gets all sticky and caramely.