Chunky Apple Cake with Penuche Frosting

Tuesday, August 14

Chunky, Spiced Apple Cake with Penuche Frosting | une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Is it too early to talk apples?

I'm still basking in sultry summer afternoons and tiptoeing barefoot through the evening grass, hoping to catch a few Perseid meteors streaking across the sky.

I love this time of year. I live for it. I want to bottle up these balmy days in huge mason jars, and come January, February, and March, I'd revel in the scent of fresh-cut grass, the sound of water lapping at a wooden deck, and the sweet warm taste of hand-plucked berries. Love!

Alas, my camera is still not fixed, so for the time being, I'm going to share recipes and photos that have been waiting patiently in an old SD card...some are a bit off-season. Apologies.

Now, lets discuss the cake, shall we?!

I made this recipe a long time ago, but trust me, I have an excellent memory when it comes to food (and for what songs were playing during seemingly random life moments). It's a simple cake, yes. And maybe it's even a bit homely. But it's filled with throat-warming spice, sweet apples, and assertive walnuts. If you've never had penuche frosting before, it's basically a sweet, butterscotch-like fudge. As soon as it cools off, it hardens, softy, into something crackly and wonderful. It's the perfect companion to apples, and cinnamon, and all things autumn. Summer won't mind if you have apples in August, she's not as damaged as winter when it comes heeding time constraints and overstayed welcomes.

Last but not least, you may notice that une Gamine has a brand new look! (Again.) :) This simple, beautiful design is by Ana, of Blog Milk. Thank you, Ana! XO

Chunky, Spiced Apple Cake with Penuche Frosting | une Gamine dans la Cuisine

Apple Cake

for the cake
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 room temperature eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or, 1 teaspoon of vanilla)
1 1/2 cups chopped apples (I used Pink Ladies)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

for the penuche
1/2 cup packed, brown sugar (light or dark)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I like salty butterscotch and caramel...if you prefer, you can reduce the amount or not use any salt at all.)
3 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon heavy cream (half & half is okay too)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with foil or parchment paper. [Note: If you're using foil, apply a light coating of butter.]
In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment (or any large mixing bowl if you're using a hand held), beat the eggs on medium speed until light and foamy. Add the oil and almond extract, and beat on medium speed until well combined. (About 3-5 minutes.)
Add the flour mixture. Use a large wooden spoon, or rubber spatula to fold/stir in the dry ingredients until all the streaks of flour have disappeared. Fold in the chopped apples and nuts.
Scrape the chunky batter into the pan, evening out the surface as much as possible.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. As the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze.

Glaze: In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, salt, butter, vanilla, and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it reaches a gentle boil. Continue cooking at the gentle boiling point for about 3-5 minutes. (It will thicken up beautifully.)
Spoon the hot glaze over the still-warm cake. The glaze sets very fast, so spread it around immediately, using an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.
Allow the cake and glaze to cool completely before serving.

Source:  Lick The Bowl Good 


  1. I'm so torn before a love for summer and fall but wow this cake makes me more excited for the coming season!

  2. Cute new look! I'm SO ready for Fall - I posted about lasagna just yesterday because I've been pining for melty cheese and the time of year when melty cheese will actually sound desirable again. The minute it does, we'll be having apple cake for dessert afterwards. :)

  3. I've never had penuche frosting but I love the sound of it (yes please to the extra salt!). It's the perfect topping for a delightful apple cake! Love your new look, too :)

  4. Sorry to hear about your camera. Hope it'll soon be fixed...

    A delicious treat! It is still a little early to speak about apples (at the moment, I'm eating tons of plums), but in a few weeks I'll look forwards to eating that fruit. ;-P



  5. I love apple cake, I love penuche frosting ... I may not be able to wait until fall to make this dream come true.

  6. I have never heard of Penuche, this sounds delicious!

  7. It's never too early to talk about apples! : ) This cake looks wonderful!

    Love your new look!

    Danielle xo

  8. This cake looks lovely! And also love the new look :)

  9. This recipe takes me back to my childhood. My grandmother used to make exactly this cake with this icing. I had completely forgotten about it.

  10. The website looks great! I finally found apples at the farmer's market this past weekend and I'm so happy they're back.

  11. it's never too early to talk apples! your cake is absolutely perfect! i want to sink my teeth into it. yum!

  12. LOVE the new site!'s gorgeous. I'm so jealous!

    And can I just say that I love you even more for using penuche? Reminds me of my mom and always makes me homesick. Looks awesome on this cake!

  13. love the new blog look! btw - we did catch the perseid meteor shower over the weekend, so i FINALLY saw my first one :) it is most definitely not too early to be talking about apple and apple cake - this looks amazing. seriously amazing. i cannot wait to make this.

  14. I love the sound I love the taste I just love it!

  15. Never to early to talk apples and that frosting looks killer!

  16. we're just on the cusp of autumn (it's subtle but it's in the air!) and apples are also on my mind. i'm getting over the passing of blueberries and soon raspberries and stone fruit but console myself with sweets like this one, full of hominess.

    PS. i have an old p/s camera that i do not use anymore, it sits on my night stand ignored (for about 3yrs!). you are welcome to it, email me if you're interested.

  17. I love apple cakes! Never tried penuche frosting, but seems really good!

  18. penuche is my all-time favorite frosting. salt makes it perfect. :)

  19. I made this tonight and the cake was delicious.. but when i was making the frosting and put it on the cake to cool it got really hard.. kinda like toffee. how can i avoid that next time? does that mean i didn't let it thicken enough? please help!

  20. Hi M,
    I'm sorry to hear about the frosting. Penuche can be finicky...if it's boiled for too long, it could reach the "hard ball" candy stage (which would make it tough). Once cooled, it should have the texture of soft fudge

    I would maybe try cooking it at a soft boil for only 3 minutes (not 5). Even if it's not very thick at that point, it will harden once it's cool. Also be sure spread it on the cake as soon as possible, before it takes on a fudge-like consistency.

    I hope that helps! At least the cake was delicious. :)

  21. It is never to early to talk apples, heck I eat them all year. I remember making a hearty apple cake, it is a dessert that is beyond fun! I love your cake, and really need to try your frosting recipe. I am new to your blog, it is beautiful! Take care, Terra


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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