The recipe for this delicious Apple-Spice Layer Cake comes from the pages of Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook, one of my new favorite additions to my cookbook collection. This is one of the few cookbooks where I genuinely want to try every recipe, and it is full of helpful techniques that even a novice baker can handle. Each recipe has a beautiful picture too.
So, when my mom needed a dessert to contribute to her Garden Club luncheon, I jumped at the opportunity to use my Baking Handbook. The Apple-Spice Cake (with Cream Cheese Frosting) turned out great… much better than I anticipated. It was more dense than the kind of cake you get from a boxed mix, but still very moist with just enough spice so as not to be overpowering. Another perk is the homemade applesauce at the beginning of the recipe… it tastes fabulous on its own, and so easy to make! Now it seems almost silly to buy it in a jar.
Luckily, I was able to snap a picture while there was still a slice left. Yum.
Adapted From Martha Stewart. Mine uses cream cheese, not goat cheese, frosting.
- 1 3/4 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 lbs about 4 McIntosh apples, peeled cored and cut into chunks
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
- 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour plus more for pans
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp all spice
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 large eggs
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a medium sauce pan, spread 1/3 cup sugar in an even layer, cook over medium high hear, without stirring, until sugar begins to turn golden and melt around the edges (3-4 min). Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir until meted and mixture is a translucent golden amber.
Add apple chunks and lemon juice, and stir to coat apple pieces with caramel.
Cover and cook over low heat until apples fall apart, 6-8 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches the consistency of applesauce and generously coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes more.
Remove from heat and cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using butter wrappers, grease 3 6-2" round cake pans (or 2 9-2" pans); line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.
Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg; set aside.
In a small bowl, combine milk and vanilla; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, remaining 1 3/4 cups of sugar, and honey on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, until smooth.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with flour, beat until just combined after each, being careful not to overmix.
Add cooled applesauce; mix to combine, about 1 minute.
Divide the batter among prepaired pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35-40 minutes (40-45 min if using 9" pans).
Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off parchment paper. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Frost with Cream Cheese Icing and decorate as desired.
Put cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on medium-high speed until smooth.
Reduce speed to medium-low, and mix in sugar and vanilla.
Raise speed to medium-high, and mix until fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.
(Don't think you can get away w/o rotating the pans... I did and ended up with lopsided layers)