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Apple Cake with Beer Caramel and Cardamom Cream

Growing up on a farm in the midwest there were bushels of apples that we picked every fall.  This is a version of a favorite dessert my sister and I used to make while we were growing up. I added a RAD twist influenced by one of today’s hottest cooking trends – Cooking with Beer!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Serves: 1; 9-inch spring form tube pan
Yields: 10 – 12



Apple Cake:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Beer Caramel Sauce:

  • ½ bottle (12-ounce) 3 Daughter’s St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale
  • Zest of 1/2 orange, in large strips
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter

  • 3/4 cups brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pinch of kosher salt

Caramelized Apples:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 large HoneyCrisp or Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water

Cardamom Cream:

  • 6 green cardamom pods, or substitute 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons super-fine sugar, plus ¼ cup
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 1 cup heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 325° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk the oil with the granulated sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Fold in the diced apples with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the lower third of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the butter, cream and brown sugar and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring. Remove the toffee glaze from the heat and stir in the vanilla.

Place the warm cake (still in its pan) on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the hot glaze over the cake and let it seep into the cake, poking lightly with a toothpick. Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours. Invert the cake onto a plate, and invert again onto another plate, right side up.

Caramel Sauce: Bring the 3 Daughter’s St. Pete Beach Blonde Ale, orange zest, and ground cardamom to a gentle boil in a saucepan over medium heat; cook, stirring until reduced to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Add the butter and brown sugar and cook, stirring only if the mixture looks like it might boil over, until thick and syrupy, 10 to 12 minutes. 

Slowly stir in the cream and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, remove zest with tongs, and stir in the vanilla and salt. Reserve for assembly.

Caramelized Apples: In a large skillet, melt the butter and the brown sugar. Add the apples and cinnamon and cook over moderately high heat, turning the apples once or twice, until they are tender and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Add the water to dissolve the caramel in the skillet, and then transfer the caramelized apples to a plate.

Cardamom Cream: Use the flat of a knife to smash cardamom pods. Discard husks. Using a mortar and pestle, grind cardamom seeds. Add 3 tablespoons sugar and grind to combine. Place cardamom-sugar mixture in a large mixing bowl and stir in crème fraîche and heavy cream. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Slice the cake and serve with the caramelized apples, caramel sauce, and cardamom cream.

Rad Tip: Make ahead: the unmolded cake can be stored in an airtight container overnight at room temperature. The Beer Caramel Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; reheat gently before serving. The Cardamom Cream and Caramelized Apples can be made up to 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.

Rad Remix:  For a sweeter apple that compliments the dessert use the Honey Crisp apple, or a firm-fleshed apple with sweetness like a Gala or Fuji.  For a tart contrast to the sweet dessert use the Granny Smith variety.