Spice Cakes with Apricot Caramel Sauce
• Nonstick cooking spray
• 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• Pinch kosher salt
• 1/2 cup hot water
• 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup molasses
• 1 egg
• 2-1/4 teaspoons granulated sugar
• Apricot Caramel Sauce (recipe follows)
• Slivered dried apricots, toasted walnuts or pecans or chopped crystallized ginger (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 9 round panettone baking cups* (2 inches tall and 3 inches in diameter) with nonstick cooking spray. Cut nine 3-inch diameter circles from parchment paper; place one in each panettone baking cup.
In medium bowl combine flour, ginger, baking soda, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and salt; set aside. In 1cup measure combine water and instant espresso coffee powder; set aside.
In large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed 30 seconds. Beat in brown sugar until combined. Beat in molasses and egg. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with espresso mixture in 2 additions. Mixture may appear slightly curdled.
Divide batter among prepared baking cups (about 1/3 cup each). Sprinkle each with 1/4 teaspoon sugar. Place cups in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.
Remove panettone cups and parchment to serve. Drizzle with Apricot Caramel Sauce (see below). If desired, top each cake with slivered dried apricots, toasted pecans or walnuts, and/or crystallized ginger. Makes 9 cakes.
Apricot Caramel Sauce
• 2/3 cup dried apricots, thinly sliced
• 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped1/4 cup warm water, divided
• 1-1/4 cups sugar
• 2 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
• 6 tablespoons whipping cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
In food processor combine apricots and ginger; pulse mixture gradually adding 2 tablespoons water. Mixture should resemble pieces the size of grains of rice. Set aside.
In heavy medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup, and remaining 2 tablespoons water. Cook and stir over low heat until combination is liquid. Increase heat to medium-high; boil until syrup is deep amber color (360° on a candy thermometer), about 7 to 8 minutes, brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling mixture occasionally.
Remove from heat; carefully add whipping cream and vanilla (mixture will steam). Return to low heat; add butter and apricot mixture. Cook and stir until butter is melted. Remove from heat; transfer to serving bowl. Serve warm. Makes 2 cups.
Check out more recipes from this casual carriage house dinner.
Photograph: Tyllie Barbosa