Sunday, October 2, 2011

Caramel Apple Bundt Cake: What's my title?

For YK, DS, JEL, CJR, SH, MOM - thanks for inspiring me.

In recent weeks, I've been having a bit of an identity crisis.  I suddenly found myself questioning what I was doing at home.  I found myself wondering if perhaps, I shouldn't be doing something else - out of the home - something that had more style and panache than the life I was leading in my workout gear and food stained t-shirts.  I found myself in conversations with friends and loved ones, breaking down in tears asking the question, if what I was doing enough.

The main source of my conflict came from close friends, who are full-time working moms, who are incredibly smart and hold these high positions in super-prestigious companies.  I found myself wondering, what is my title?  Why aren't I a VP, Chief Counsel, Director, President, Esq, Ob/GYN, SOMETHING.  Mostly, my title is MOMMY said in a wailing voice and suddenly I began thinking that MAYBE, I wanted a title.  I wanted something to say that I was something more than a Stay-At-Home-Mom.  

But it was a conversation with one of my friends that helped me regain some of my loss of equilibrium.  I asked her, "Exactly what is your TITLE?" to which she responded VP.  I congratulated her and then started asking some crazy questions of her, such as "Do VP's get to shop more," or do "VP's get to choose fancier clothes", "Or do VP's only eat at nice restaurants."  Truthfully part of it was jealousy of the title and the other part was curiosity about how her life was different from mine.  She laughed at my questions, but gave me perspective in this regard.  She said, "This VP has a son draped around her, because he can't sleep.  It's 10:15 PM, and this VP can't find a way to get her son in his bed sleeping."

I realize that I'm pretty proud of my title Mommy, even when it is said in the most annoying, whiny, needy way.  Husband works hard and we have decided together that I am the happiest while being home with the kids and that I am most driven where motherhood is concerned.  It doesn't mean that I can't have other titles later (cookbook author, PhD, book expert) but for now, the title of Mommy is plenty hectic enough for me.

Signing off,

Joanne Choi, Mommy (oooh...I can add, Bundt Cake Maker.  Not a bad title at all.)

This bundt cake is really lovely in how subtle it is.  There is a bit of heat from the cinnamon, a bit of tart from the apple, a bit of sticky sweetness from the caramel all held together by a super moist cake.  All the flavors seem to fill all the spots that may be missing in your mouth.
Caramel Apple Bundt Cake
Makes 10-inch bundt cake, serving 12 to 14

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1¾ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, and chopped into ½ inch pieces

1 cup sugar
¾ cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (½ stick of butter)

Place rack in center of oven, and preheat oven to 350. Grease and lightly flour inside of 10 inch bundt pan.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using either a stand mixer (paddle attachment) or a hand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar and beat at medium-high speed until the mixture is light in texture and color, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating for 30 to 40 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary. Add vanilla extract. At low speed, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with sour cream. (Add a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour, a bit of sour cream, a bit of flour.) Fold in chopped apples.

Scoop batter into pan.

Bake cake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then invert it onto another rack. Place the cake, on the rack, over a baking sheet.   

While cake is baking, make caramel. Have both butter and cream, measured and ready to go. In a heavy bottom sauce pan (bigger is better - go for a 2 or 3 quart saucepan) add sugar and heat over medium high heat. The sugar will begin to melt and caramelize. As this happens, slowly drag sugar to the center of the pan and swirl the pan around so as to not burn the sugar. Allow all the sugar crystals to melt, using patience and diligence to watch and check the caramel. As soon as the sugar is all melted and is dark amber in color (Dave Leibovitz says like the color of a dirty copper penny) add butter all at once and whisk vigorously incorporating it into the sugar syrup. After butter is all melted remove from heat. Add cream and whisk until the caramel is a delicious mixture, all uniform in texture. Transfer caramel to a jar. Once cake has cooled for an hour, pour caramel over the entire surface of the cake. Using a spoon, spoon caramel over hard to “pour” areas, covering as much of the surface of the cake as possible. (I used up about ½ of my caramel sauce.)

Printable recipe


julie {chefjulieyoon} said...

Joanne, your apple cake looks amazing. I really want to give it a try. As for your "title" I think you can add "successful blogger" and yes, maybe eventually "cookbook author" to it. Keep going. I love reading your posts. You're doing a great job!


Jen said...

This looks amazing! I need to get me a fancy bundt pan like that one! Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Love, you can add, "My Love," "Super Mom," and "Talented Educator" after your name.
This is Husband, by the way.

Annie said...

I think that your post echoes what many of us moms struggle with: our identity inside the home and outside the home. More often than not, the one outside the home gets more recognition and validity from our society at large and yet it's our identity inside the home that has the most meaning when all is said and done. Full-time working moms struggle just as much with this issue as full-time stay-at-home working moms. My life incorporates both for the moment: part-time working outside the home and part-time working inside the home. Success seems to be dictated by the amount of money we make and the amount of stuff we accumulate and to define success any other way is to swim upstream! And yet I see that you do this with all your heart and I find it inspiring. I have two children and have stayed at home and worked full-time. None of it is easy. The important thing is that all of us moms stick together in solidarity to support one another and re-define what success means. We are multi-taskers, creative thinkers and advocates for our children (future citizens of the world). What greater purpose do we need? Our intelligence, intuition, strength and sense of humanity is what brings us together. Cheers to you and to all moms out there who struggle with the same issues. We're in this together for sure.

Anonymous said...

I would change that to Bundt Master! You are also the one person who has completely inspired me to challenge my family, myself, to eat better, and thrive together. Thank you for writing about these things that roll around in my head daily, the things I never mention because I think I am the only one that is thinking them. You are an inspiration!!

Potholes said...

You are a frenzy creator... Have you forgotten?! I absolutely admire you...

Anonymous said...

R u suppose to pour the caramel over the finished cake? Wasn't sure...

Joanne Choi said...

Yes...pour over the caramel. For some reason that part of the post has been truncated. I will correct.

Joanne Choi said...

Yes...pour over the caramel. For some reason that part of the post has been truncated. I will correct.

Kevin said...

That is one nice looking cake!

Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen said...

so many people inspiring you~ :)

warmvanillasugar said...

So pretty! This cake sounds wonderful.

Winnie said...

Wonderful looking cake!
It also looks and sounds delicious

Chubbles said...

Nice! Which bundt pan is this?

muebles almeria said...

Pretty effective data, thanks for the article.

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Yep - motherhood is are most important role - the cake looks sensational!
Mary x


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