Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cake of the Week: Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake

I’ve been making many pumpkin creations recently, but what about apples? Oh, how could I neglect such a fantastic fall fruit?

Inspiration struck in the middle of a particularly sweaty 6 am yoga class last Wednesday.

Apples usually mean pie…but a pie? That means crust – I’m ambitious, but not that ambitious. Plus I haven’t made an epic layer cake in a while…so apples and cake, apples and cake. I mulled over the possibilities in my mind mid-assanas, while trying to keep the sweat from trickling into my ears. (Whoops! TMI?)

And then it came to me – a cake never done before – an Apple Cinnamon Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Because everyone knows that the best part of a pie is its filling. And what better way to use that filling than in a cake?

I think that cold apple pie is one of the world’s best creations. The way the flavors meld together in a gooey sweet but slightly tart mish-mash of pure appley goodness makes my mouth water!

So that’s what I was going for in this cake – cold apples and light vanilla cinnamon cake, all covered in cream cheese frosting.

BUT per my unfortunate recent trend, things didn’t work out perfectly. And in the spirit of providing you with the perfect recipe, I will tell you where I went wrong and why:

I made the cakes in the morning, and I forgot to leave the butter out to soften overnight. So I put the stick in the microwave and accidentally nuked it too long! So the butter was melted, not just soft. This led the cake to be much heavier than it usually is (this is the same recipe I used for the Peach Chantilly Cake and the Oreo Cake). I know the recipe works – just don’t melt the butter and yours will turn out much better than mine!

And the apples were fabulous – I only wish there were more! I did 5 small Granny Smiths. They looked like a lot in the pan, but then cooked down to almost nothing. I suggest at least 7 small apples – and if you have leftovers, who cares? Leftover apple pie filling sounds pretty good to me…

Vanilla Cinnamon Cake:

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1 2/3 cup sugar

3 large egg whites, at room temperature

Preheat over to 350F. Grease and flour two 8-9 inch pans.

In a large bowl cream the butter until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the milk and vanilla and mix to combine.

In a separate bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to butter mixture. Mix until integrated. Stir in sugar. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Add the egg whites to the rest of the mixture. Beat for 2 more minutes.

Fill 3 9-inch cake pans. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Apple Pie Filling

7 small Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Sautee butter and apples over medium heat in a large saucepan until they begin to soften.

Turn the heat to medium-low, and add the rest of the ingredients.

Stirring occasionally, cook until apples are soft but not completely apple-sauce (about 15 minutes).

Cool completely and refrigerate (can store apples overnight).

Cream Cheese Frosting (half-batch)

4 oz cream cheese

½ stick of butter (softened)

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk (as needed)

Cream butter, cream cheese, and vanilla. Beat in powdered sugar and add milk until frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.


Choose the flattest cake layer. Spread it with half of the apple filling, and a few tablespoons of frosting. Repeat with the next layer.

Cover the whole cake with the frosting.

Let the cake set in the fridge for a couple hours for best results.

Slice and enjoy!