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Apple Spice Cake w/ Roasted Garlic + Honey-Poached Garlic Sauce {National Garlic Day 2012}

The day has arrived.  It is finally here.  The day when sing praises on high.  Praises to the stinkingest rose around.  Pungent and bold.  Mellow and sweet.  Garlic in all of its glory.  HOORAY GARLIC!  Are you with me?  Give me a G...

But anyhoo...while I share my love for garlic year-round, I really do like to give it the props it deserves on its very own day.  Happy National Garlic Day.  I'll admit that often I forget until the last minute.  I'm either scrambling the day before to make something and get it post-ready in time.  Or I'm smackin' myself in the head day-of and scouring my many drafts for something garlicky enough to qualify for an actual garlic day posting.  But last year?  I made a note.  And so now I've been looking at that reminder for an entire year. I don't think I'll be forgetting any more.
And I don't know what happened.  I absolutely KNEW...that I was making one of two things to share today. Either Roasted Garlic Ice Cream or Pineapple-Garlic Upside Down Cake (the first of which I've always wanted to make and the second I have made and always meant to share).  Yet, here I am without either.  And with two completely different things.  But I will share both of those one of these days.  And hopefully I won't wait a whole 'nother year to do so.  Goal summer: garlic ice cream.

But I don't want to detract from the beauty of the two garlicky goodies that I actually am sharing today.  The first is a beautifully rustic apple spice cake...but what makes it so unique is that it contains two whole roasted heads of garlic.  It's sweet and savory all at the same time.  It's not fancy - it's more along the lines of beautiful peasant-fare.  I'm fairly positive that you could eat a slice as a remedy to ward off an oncoming cold.  Or perhaps the mosquitoes before going out at night.  Or vampires for that matter.  The garlic is pleasant - but only if you're a garlic fan.  It is present.  And waving it's hands around in your face trying to be noticed.  The tart apples and oily nuts along with the spices are a fantastic foils for the antics of the garlic, though.  And I think that a cool, creamy scoop of vanilla ice cream suits it perfectly.

This is a fun cake to present in celebration of National Garlic Day...or when you just want to have a bit of fun with your guests.
The Honey-Poached Garlic Sauce, however?  It's captured my heart.  Golden, sweet, chewy cloves of garlic suspended in a thick, spoonable honey sauce that is tinged with hints of cinnamon and citrus?  Oh yeah.  It does tend to seize up a little when you drizzle it over your ice cream.  And stick in your teeth.  But I don't mind one little bit.  I just put my tongue to work.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.

But I think it is so much more than a sauce to top ice cream.  I want to get a tangy log of goat cheese and drape ribbons of this sauce over it and then set a pepper grinder loose over the whole thing.  It'd be enough to make your crackers dance in anticipation.  Or maybe warm a round of brie in the oven until it is gooey in the center?  Mmm hmmm.  Slather it with some of this sauce studded with fat, golden cloves of garlic.  And then use crisp apple slices to dig in and transport the whole glorious mess to my mouth.  That's happening.  Soon.

Apple Spice Cake w/ Roasted Garlic + Honey-Poached Garlic Sauce
by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 (plus time to roast garlic)
Cook Time: 55-75 minutes
Keywords: bake simmer condiment dessert vegetarian garlic honey apples spice National Garlic Day cake

Ingredients (serves 10-12)
    • 1½ c. + 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • ¼ tsp. salt
    • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
    • grated zest & juice of 1 large lemon
    • 2-3 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped medium-fine
    • 4 oz. unsalted butter, at room temp.
    • ⅔ c. sugar
    • flesh from 2 heads of roasted garlic
    • 2 Tbs. brandy
    • 1 large egg
    • ½ c. milk
    • ⅔ c. finely chopped pecans
    • confectioners' sugar
    • 1 c. honey
    • 1 c. water, plus more as needed
    • 10 plump garlic cloves, peeled
    • 1 long strip of lemon peel (no white)
    • 1 cinnamon stick
    Apple Spice Cake w/ Caramelized Garlic:
    Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 9" round cake pan very well.

    Sift the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices together into a small bowl and set aside. Combine apples with lemon zest and lemon juice and set aside.

    Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in garlic and brandy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add egg and beat until smooth.

    Add flour mixture gradually, alternating with the milk, on low speed until just combined. Fold in the apples and pecans.

    Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. Slide into preheated oven and bake for 55-75 minutes (check at the lowest time) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before turning cake out of pan. Flip back over (right side up) onto a serving plate. Sift confectioners' sugar over the top of the cake. Serve plain, with whipped cream or ice cream, or with Honey-Poached Garlic Sauce.

    Honey-Poached Garlic Sauce (yield: ~1 c.):
    Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and let bubble slowly until water has evaporated and garlic is tender and golden, 30-45 minutes. If the water boils away before the garlic has caramelized, add 1 Tbs. of water at a time until garlic is ready.

    Remove from heat and let cool. Discard lemon peel and cinnamon stick, if you wish. Keep the garlic cloves whole or mash them up a bit. Serve (and keep) at room temperature.

    I'm not going to lie and tell you that you can't even taste the garlic. You totally can. The cake is a fabulous, rustic treat which you may want to serve for special occasions. I think maybe using a single head of roasted garlic instead of two may be just as good...and not quite so strong.

    The honey-poached garlic sauce, however? Rockin'! Sweet and garlicky. Perfect for serving with desserts such as cake or ice cream or try serving it with fruit (think crisp apples or pears) and I'm thinking it would be amazing drizzled over a log of tangy goat cheese with a smattering of cracked black pepper over the whole thing. Or maybe with a wedge of brie...

    both recipes adapted from Garlic Garlic Garlic
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    So how will YOU be celebrating National Garlic Day this year?  And who wants to send me some Black Garlic?  I need to try some.  If you have a post up today in honor of National Garlic Day 2012, add a link back to this post and then send it my way (you can see details here).  Por favor!?  I'll be gathering up all of the gloriously garlic-loving posts and sharing them with everybody this weekend.  I want yours to be in the mix!

    And if by chance you didn't get a chance to post for NGD on NGD this year, please feel free to link up any older garlicky posts in the linky on this post!  You can never really have to many garlic recipes.  That's what I always say.
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