My son chose this recipe because “it looked good”- I think he was pleased with the results. 🙂 It has homemade applesauce (cooked in caramel-YUM) in the cake which makes it quite moist. The original recipe calls for Creamy Goat Cheese Frosting but I replaced the goat cheese with cream cheese to make it more kid-friendly. This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.
- 1 3/4 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) McIntosh apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks (I substituted Fuji)
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
- 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 ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup honey
- 4 large eggs
- Creamy Goat Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)
- Caramelized Lady Apples, for garnish (recipe follows; optional)
- In a medium saucepan, spread 1/3 cup sugar in an even layer. Cook over medium-high heat, without stirring, until sugar begins to turn golden and melt around the edges, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir until melted 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 to 8 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches the consistency of applesauce (I used a potato masher) and generously coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes more. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups applesauce.) Remove from heat; let cool completely. (I spread it out on a plate to cool more quickly.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 6-by2-inch round cake pans (or 2 9-by-2-inch round cake pans); line the bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg; set aside. Ina small bowl, combine milk and vanilla; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, remaining 1 3/4 cup sugar, and honey on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 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 three parts, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined after each, being careful not to over mix. Add cooled applesauce; mix to combine, about 1 minute.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes pull away from the sides of the pans and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes (38 to 45 minutes for 9-inch 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 the parchment. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
- Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place one layer on a cake plate. Spread top with a third of the Creamy Goat Cheese Frosting. Repeat with remaining cake layers and frosting. Refrigerate cake, at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days, covered with a cake dome. Before serving, garnish with Caramelized Lady Apples (optional).
Creamy Goat Cheese Frosting
If you would rather make this frosting with only cream cheese, replace the goat cheese with an equal amount of whipped cream cheese, for a total of 18 ounces.
- 12 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
- 6 ounces whipped cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese and cream cheese on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add sugar, and bear until well-combined and fluffy, about 4 minutes. The frosting can be refrigerated, covered, up to 3 days; bring to room temperature, and beat about 3 minutes before using.
Caramelized Lady Apples
- 3 T sugar
- 1 tsp unsalted butter
- 2 lady apples, halved
In a small saucepan, cook the cugar over medium-high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until sugar is melted and turns golden amber, about 3 minutes. Stir in the butter. Place apples in the pan, cut sides down. Cook until the apples are coated with the caramel and have softened, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet to cool completely.