Apple Cake with Sage Caramel #TheCakeSliceBakers

This has been an eventful October--on the 8th we welcomed baby #4.  He's healthy and I'm healthy, and I'm so thankful for the goodness of God.

But I'm also in the midst of that weird time warp that happens when you bring a baby home.  Days and nights run together and time becomes a very abstract concept.

I had planned on making this Apple Cake with Sage Caramel like a month ago.  There is a local orchard where the kids and I have picked apples and baked pies, apple butter, and this Apple Sharlotka.  We were set to go in September, but there was an unseasonably warm spell that caused all the apples to fall off the trees and rot.


All this to say that I had planned to make this cake way before last night, 1.5 weeks after I had a baby.

The cookbook that the Cake Slice Bakers have been working through this year is filled with recipes that come together easily.  I've had success with all the cakes that I have tried from it over the past months, so I felt like I could bake this one last night even though I'm running on sleep fumes.

Which is actually pretty high praise for this cookbook.  If Benjamina Ebuehi would like, I can write a blurb for the back cover: 

    "I felt confident baking from this book in a zombie-like post-partem state."--Amanda, a tired new mom of 4

This is a great dessert for October.  The cake itself is tender, not overly sweet, studded with fresh apples and lightly spiced.  It is topped with crisped apple slices, a caramelly cream cheese frosting, and a caramel infused with fresh sage.  And it would have had walnuts on top if I'd have had walnuts.

My brain is mush, and I couldn't find my 8x8 pan.  So I washed out a disposable pan that a sweet friend brought brownies in and went with that.

I've mentioned before that I like trying unexpected herbal flavors in desserts.  It can take a pretty basic applesauce snack cake and turn it into something fancy schmansy. The sage was not overwhelming, but added a sophisticated note.  My six year old boy said the caramel was his favorite part, and that the cake could be improved by putting more caramel on the sides.  I liked the caramel too, but think the cake could be made better by adding a little salt to the batter.  

Caramel is notoriously finicky to make, and I had some trouble with it.  When I added the cream, a large amount of the sugar turned to a big rock in the middle that I couldn't get to incorporate.  So I just poured the usable parts into a cup and went with it.  

Not perfect, but good enough.

Also, I would recommend mashing the apples for the batter fairly thoroughly.  I left a lot of big chunks, and they sank to the bottom.  But that's just being picky.

So give this Apple Cake with Sage Caramel a try!  It is easy enough that you can make it with a newborn;)

Apple Cake with Sage Caramel

from The New Way to Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi

Apple Crisps:
1 apple (any kind)

1. Heat the oven to 275 degrees.  Thinly slice the apple through the center with a very sharp knife or mandoline. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet (do not overlap) and bake for 45ish minutes.  Check often, as thinner slices will cook sooner than thicker.

2 apples (any kind)
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

2. Turn the heat up on the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper.

3. Peel and chop the apples, and place them in a small saucepan with the water.  Cook until tender (about 10 minutes).  Remove from the heat and mash, leaving only a few chunks.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the sugar and eggs together for 2-3 minutes--until pale and thick.  While the mixer is still running on low, add the oil and beat for another minute.  Mix in the homemade applesauce, and remaining ingredients, and pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes and cool in the pan.

Sage Caramel:
1/2 cup heavy cream
8-10 fresh sage leaves, plus more to decorate
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp flaky sea salt

5. Put the cream and sage in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer, remove from the heat, and allow to steep for 20 minutes. When cool, remove the sage.

6. In another small saucepan, heat the sugar over medium heat until is liquifies and becomes a light shade of amber.  You can swirl the pan to get the sugar to caramelize more evenly.  When the sugar is golden, slowly pour in the cream, whisking. **Careful--it will bubble up! Whisk constantly for 30 seconds, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt.  Cool

1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cream cheese

walnuts for garnish, if desired

7. To make the frosting, beat the sugar and butter together with the whisk attachment until it is pale in color and creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat for 1 minute.  Beat in 3 tablespoons of the sage caramel.

8. When the cake has cooled, smooth the cream cheese frosting over the top. Drizzle the remaining sage caramel over the frosting, then top with apple crisps, extra sage leaves, and walnuts 


Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The New Way To Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!

Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.

The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.

It is a new year and a new book - The New Way To Cake - and our choices for October 2020 were ~ 

Apple Cake with Sage Caramel

Malted Chocolate Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache

Caramelized Plantain Upside-Down Cake 


    1. Congratulations on your new baby! At least 2020 brought one nice thing! Great improv with the foil pan. It looks just fine!

    2. Holy Cow....that is dedication and high praise indeed for this cookbook. Congratulations on the new addition to the family. So happy for you.

    3. Hats off to you and congrats on your new baby. Yummy looking cake and I hope you are resting well.


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