Well this is turning out to be one of the most random internships I could have imagined. Yesterday I spent all day folding origami butterflies for a monarch exhibit and scanning pictures of wildflowers from the 1940s. Today I folded more butterflies and cut out little magnetic pictures of plankton.
Among these funny little crafty things I'm doing, I am learning some interesting stuff about the inner workings of museum curation and the collection of local natural history. Plus I get to go to the Pacific Grove monarch sanctuary and film and take pictures of the butterflies as part of my job... not too shabby!
When I'm not working, I'm off exploring Monterey, shopping at little thrift stores, and cooking and baking with my friends who are hosting me! My friend Maria, who is an expert baker and has even made award-winning cookies, has never actually tried vegan baking before. I knew I had to find an incredible recipe to prove that baked goods can be just as delicious without all the dairy and eggs. Angela's Caramel Apple Upside-Down Cake turned out to be the perfect thing.
Unfortunately, Trader Joe's does not carry brown rice syrup, so we used a different recipe for vegan caramel. The cake still came out amazing- everyone in the house was blown away!
Caramel Apple Upside-Down Spice Cake
For the caramel (adapted from The New Vegan Table):
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup earth balance
3/4 cup soy creamer
1/2 tsp vanilla
For the cake (from Oh She Glows):
4 apples (we used sweet fuji apples- yum!), peeled and sliced thinly
1/2 cup earth balance
1/2 cup sugar
1/3+1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup soy milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1. To make the caramel, stir together the sugar, water and maple syrup in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and let cook until it reaches 248º. Carefully add the earth balance and soy creamer and whisk quickly. Lower the heat and stir for about 2-3 more minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.
2. Grease a 9-10" round pan and once the caramel has cooled slightly, pour about 2/3 of the batch over the bottom of the pan. Place apple slices on top, layering them if necessary.
3. Preheat the oven to 325º. With a mixer or by hand, mix the earth balance and sugar until fluffy. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl, and combine the dry in a medium bowl.
4. Alternate adding the wet and dry ingredients to the butter and sugar, mixing well as you go. Pour the batter over the caramel and apples and spread evenly with a spatula.
5. Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for about 10-20 minutes, then flip onto a plate and pour the rest of the caramel sauce on top. Serve and enjoy!
This cake is warm and comforting on a chilly day!