I remember making caramel apples as a child with my mom in the kitchen. Unwrapping what seemed like an endless pile of caramels, dipping large green apples into a gooey bowl of it melted down, and finally adding whatever toppings to them that suited the mood at the time. Caramel apples are a treat synonymous with autumn and found in every orchard or grocery store around this time of year.
While the real deal will always remind me of childhood – there’s something to be said about putting all of those flavors into a loaf pan and enjoying the fragrance of it baking away in the oven. The house smelled like an apple orchard for hours – a complete added bonus.
I wanted to make a bread that looked as pretty as the inspiration, so I thinly sliced the apples and placed them upright in the batter prior to baking. When the cooled bread is sliced, the upright apple slices look so cozy nestled into a piece of the bread and the caramel sauce completes the package. This truly does taste like a caramel apple, and is an acceptable form of eating one for breakfast. Or any other meal of the day.
The sauce is an adapted recipe from The Pioneer Woman’s caramel sauce, found here.
Rather than using half & half, I substituted whole milk. The sauce is incredibly simple and exactly the right sauce for this bread.
As an added bonus, this bread is refined sugar free if you omit the caramel sauce.
Happy baking, and thanks for stopping by!
(For the Bread)
- 1/2 cup room temp organic butter (I used Hope Creamery)
- 1 cup organic, Grade A light amber maple syrup
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 organic eggs
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- 8 oz all natural, no sugar added applesauce
- 2 cups unbleached, AP flour (I used King Arthur)
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
- 2 honeycrisp or granny smith apples, cut width wise in 1/4″ sections
(For the Caramel Sauce)
- 1 packed cup brown sugar
- 4 tbsp. organic butter
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- Pre-heat oven to 325.
- Wash the apples and cut 1/4″ slices width wise on either side of the core. This will yield two quarters of each apple unused. Go ahead and enjoy those pieces while the cake bakes! (See above photo)
- In a large bowl or Kitchen-Aid mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all wet ingredients. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
- Add the batter into a greased loaf pan. Gently nestle in each apple slice across the batter. Depending on the size of the apples, the tops may sit above the batter. Bake 50-60 minutes until a tester comes out clean.
- While the bread is baking, in a medium sized pan atop your stovetop, add the brown sugar, butter, milk and salt to the pan and gently whisk over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Add the vanilla and whisk another minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Place the sauce into a glass container and allow to cool further in the fridge.
- Allow the bread to cool completely before removing from the loaf pan! Drizzle with the caramel sauce and serve the remaining sauce on the side for yourself (ahem, I mean your guests.)