Savour the season with this ultra-moist cake packed with morsels of tender autumn apples. The tasty made-from-scratch cake puts the boxed version to shame, and packs a sticky-sweet surprise as soon as you cut it. Each slice of soft, sour-cream based cake is injected with a rich maple caramel sauce, and topped with a whipped maple cream for even more Canadian flavour.

Apple Poke Cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Serves: 6 to 8

Ingredients:
Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream
2 apples, such as McIntosh, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Caramel Sauce:
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbsp water
3/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup 35% cream
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed

Topping:
3/4 cup 35% cream
3 Tbsp maple syrup
3 Tbsp sour cream

Apple Poke Cake

Directions:
Cake Base:
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
2. Butter and flour a 9-inch square pan.
3. Whisk flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.
4. Combine butter with eggs and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat mixture until smooth. Stir in half the flour mixture, then half the sour cream. Repeat additions. Stir until well mixed. Fold in apples, then scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth top. Bake in centre of oven until a cake tester inserted into centre of cake comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Caramel Sauce:
1. Stir sugar with water in a large, heavy bottomed pot. Place over medium-high heat and let caramelize, without stirring, until sugar turns a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Gradually whisk in maple syrup and cream, being careful to avoid splatters. Boil, until mixture is smooth. Whisk in butter, then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature.

Whip Cream Topping:
1. Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat cream until firm peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in sour cream, then maple syrup.

Assembly:
1. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, poke holes in cake, staggering each about 1/2-in apart. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of caramel over top of cake, smoothing with a spatula. Top with whip cream mixture, then drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons of caramel.