I’ve introduced you to many magical places in New England over the years. This time I’ve found one so beautiful, so magical and so enchanting, I’m bursting at the seams to share it with you.
Nestled off a side road in Southern Vermont is a truly spectacular place called Scott Farm Orchard. A Landmark Trust property, this orchard cultivates over 100 varieties of heirloom apples plus, pears, quince, peaches, apricots and more.
They also have a farm stand and you can pick your own apples. The barns, orchard, farm store and properties are stunning and with over 570 acres, it’s worth the 2 hour drive from Boston.
In the 1800’s Nobel Prize winning English author, Rudyard Kipling, built his home here and named it Naulakha (Hindi for jewel beyond price). It was at this home that Kipling wrote some of his best known children’s books, The Jungle Book and Captain Courageous.
Scott Farm Orchard renovated the carriage house into a vacation home. Needless to say, it’s utterly charming.
Just down the road from the carriage house is Kipling’s main house, Naulakha. It’s a stunning estate with sweeping lawns and beautiful plantings. I especially loved the big Victorian porch overlooking the mountains of Vermont.
If you love walks and exploration, wait until you see what this property has in store. Kipling made a tunnel made completely out of Rhododendrons that bloom in May. There are walking paths, woodsy paths, and magical garden retreats.
And, the scenery. I can’t say enough about the scenery.
What’s most amazing is that Naulakha and The Kipling Carriage House are available for your next getaway or holiday. In total, there are 5 beautiful historic holiday rentals and they’re reasonably priced.
I immediately started to imagine a wedding in the orchard and a honeymoon at Naulakha …or a photography retreat or family reunion spot. Or just a relaxing break – away from it all. Seriously, how fantastic would it be to snowshoe here in winter?
Of course, I’m not the only one who was completely blown away by the property. The orchard scenes from the two time Academy Award winning film, The Cider House Rules, were filmed here as well.
Needless to say, I worked hard to create a recipe worthy of the incredible heirloom apples I bought at Scott Farm Orchard. I give you, Heirloom Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce. (P.S. Congrats to Susan on winning the New England giveaway. You can see her clambake here. Also, be sure to check out my latest fresh feature article. It was so much fun to put together.)
Heirloom Apple Cake with Caramel Sauce
I’ve broken the recipe down into components to make it easier. You’ll need tart apples that are good for baking and hold their shape in the oven. I was fortunate to have heirloom apples but good local apple will do. You’ll get a better flavor if you use several varieties of firm apples.
2 heaping cups of peeled and chopped apples (2-3 apples)
1/4 c (35 g) muscovado or dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 (15 g) tbs flour
Place apples in a microwave safe bowl and heat in a microwave at medium high power for 3 minutes. Stop and stir after each minute. You only want to cook until the apples just begin to give into the pressure of the back of a spoon. Once the apples are tender, remove and strain over the sink. Mash the apples with the back of a spoon, pushing out as much liquid as possible. Add the spices and flour. Stir until combined. Put filling in the refrigerator.
1/3 c (60g) diced pecans
Heat oven to 350 F (180C). Spread pecans out on cookies sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or just until they begin to release their aroma. Cool Completely. Pulse in a food processor until you have pecan flour/meal.
1 c (130 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 cup pecan meal
1 1/2 tsp (7 g) baking powder
pinch of salt
8 tbs (115 g) unsalted butter
1 c (200g) granulated sugar
1 tsp (4 g) vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 c plain low fat Greek yogurt (I didn’t have Greek yogurt so I put plain Stoneyfield low fat yogurt in a paper towel lined sieve with a bowl underneath and let the liquid drain for 2 hours. I then measured out 3/4 c of the yogurt with liquid removed).
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. mace
Preheat oven to 350 F (180C).
Butter and flour the inside of a 7 or 8″ spring form pan.
In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until nearly white, about 3 minutes. Mix in extract and eggs. Then mix in the yogurt. Scrape down bowl.
Add dry ingredients and blend mix on low. Then, mix on medium high for about 30 seconds.
Pour 2/3 of the cake batter into buttered and floured springform pan and smooth top with an offset spatula.
Remove the filling from the refrigerator and spread on top of the base layer with an offset spatula.
Carefully spread the remaining 1/3 of the cake batter over the filling. It should sit on top of the filling- not mix in with it.
3 heirloom apples, peeled and sliced evenly
2 tbs butter
1 tbs granulated sugar
On the stove, heat butter in a large saucepan on medium high. Meanwhile, sprinkle sugar over the surface area of the pan. When the sugar begins to get bubbly and turn slightly golden, add the apple slices in a single layer. Allow to cook for about 30 seconds. Flip with a spatula and cook the other side for about 30 seconds or until just slightly tender.
Remove from heat and place on layers of paper towel. Dry them off a bit so they’re not greasy and cool.
Assembly and Baking
Remove cake from the refrigerator. Arrange apple slices in a circular pattern around the top, pressing them slightly into the batter.
Bake 45-55 minutes until sides spring back to the touch and the center has firmed up. A toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Note: Do keep an eye on the cake while baking. Your oven may take more or less time to cook the cake. Mine took an hour.
Cool on a wire rack. Remove spring form edge. Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with caramel sauce. You can buy sauce in a jar or use the recipe here.
Best when eaten within 2 days but the cake will keep for about 5 days.