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Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce

Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce
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For the Apple Cake
  1. ½-¾ cups chopped dates
  2. ½-¾ cups apple brandy (or Calvados)
  3. 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  4. 2 cups white sugar
  5. 2 teaspoons baking soda
  6. 1-teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. ½-teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. ¾ teaspoon salt
  9. 4 cups slightly tart apples: peeled, cored and roughly chopped
  10. ½ cup melted butter
  11. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the Caramel Sauce (yields about 2 cups)
  1. 1-cup sugar
  2. ¼ cup cold water
  3. ½ stick butter
  4. 1-cup heavy cream
  5. ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Instructions
  1. About one hour before starting to bake the cake, place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the apple brandy. Stir from time to time and if they get too "tight", just add more brandy.
  2. Preheat oven to 325. Using butter, grease a baking pan (approximately 13 x 9 x 2).
  3. Into a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  4. Add the chopped apples, dates, melted butter and the eggs. This will be a very heavy, thick batter but don't worry -- just be sure to mix it well.
  5. Spread in the prepared pan, place on a rack in center of the oven and bake for 1 hour. Test with a skewer -- if it comes out still a bit gooey, bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. You'll know when it's done. It will be a nice dark tan color and will spring back to a light touch.
Caramel Sauce
  1. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Continue to boil until the sugar caramelizes and turns a deep amber color, being careful not to let it get too dark and burn.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully pour the cream into the melted sugar. It will bubble violently and give off steam.
  5. Return the saucepan to a low heat and stir butter and sea salt. Set caramel aside until ready to serve.
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