For family holidays, I have taken it upon myself to bring dessert. Last Thanksgiving it was a coconut cake shaped and decorated like a pumpkin. Usually it’s some form or another of cake. I had actually made this cake for my anniversary last year and liked it so much that I decided it was a great candidate for Mother’s Day. But not to fret! You can also make it for Father’s Day. Or because you have friends on Saturday. Or just because you want to test out your new cake decorating tools. Whatever the reason, this cake is definitely worth making.
The recipe comes from smittenkitchen.com. She makes a very large slab cake that will feed 50. So definitely check it out if you need to feed that many! We have considerably fewer family members here in Ottawa, so this cake was the perfect size (it serves about 16).
Roasted Apple Spice Cake
This cake is not especially difficult. The only thing I realized after making the icing is that you really should wait for the cream cheese to fully come to room temperature before starting. I semi-warmed it up in the microwave because we were rushing out the door to Montreal and I wanted to get the cake done. It was not worth the rush since there were tiny pieces of cream cheese in the icing that just would not come out the piping tips. So don’t rush it!
What you need:
for the cake
3 medium apples, peeled, halved and cored
3 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup honey
2 1/4 cups applesauce
3/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
for the icing
2 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups icing sugar
What to do:
Roast the apples: Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper and put the apples on cut side down. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the tops are dry and the bottoms are slightly browned. Place on a cooking rack to cook slightly. Then cut the apples into 1-inch or smaller chunks.
Lower the oven heat to 350F. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey and applesauce.
In a large bowl with a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each. Scrape down the bowl and beat again. Add one-third of the flour-spice mixture and mix just until combined. Then add one-half of the applesauce mixture and mix just until combined. Add another one-third of the flour, the other half of the applesauce and then the last third of the flour mixture, each time mixing just until combined. Fold in the chopped apples.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is puffed and golden brown and the cake tester inserted comes out clean. Cool the layers in the pan for about 10 minutes on racks and then run a knife around the edge and invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
To make the icing, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat again. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time and beat until smooth.
To assemble the cake, use a serrated knife to cut off the rounded tops of the cake layers so that they sit flat. Place one layer on a cake plate. Thickly spread some icing on the cake layer. Place the second layer on top. Transfer the cake to the freezer for a few minutes to firm up the icing. Spread icing in a thin layer all over the cake. Stick it in the freezer again for 5 minutes to firm up the icing. Spread a thick layer around the cake (coloured if you want!) and then use the rest of the icing to decorate the cake.