Roasted apple layer cake
This cake is moist and packed with plenty of apples and fall flavors. Topped with a cream cheese frosting, it's sure to be the hit of any autumn gathering.
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Mollie Zapata lives in Boston, where she is a graduate student by day and bakes for her friends, roommates, and classmates by night. She balances her decadent baking creations with healthy "real" meals, and loves creative flavor combinations, epic layer cakes, and exploring new ingredients. Mollie blogs at www.eatrunread.com.
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1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup honey
2-1/4 cups applesauce
3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark-brown sugar
3 large eggs
For the frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
Milk, as needed
1. Roast apples: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet or roasting pan with parchment paper. Arrange apple halves face down on paper and roast in a single layer until they feel dry to the touch and look a little browned underneath, about 15 minutes.
2. Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or spray three 9-inch round cake pans.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. In a medium bowl, whisk together applesauce and honey.
4. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and dark brown sugar until very fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl between every other addition.
5. Add 1/3 of the flour-spice mixture and mix it until just combined.
6. Add 1/2 the applesauce-honey mixture, again mixing it until combined.
7. Add the second 1/3 of the flour-spice mixture, the remaining applesauce-honey mixture, then the remaining flour-spice mixture, stirring between each addition.
8. Chop roasted apples into smallish chunks (1/2 to 2/3-inches) and fold into batter.
9. Divide batter between baking pans. It makes a ton of cake, so I actually made 10 muffins in addition to the three layers of cake.
10. Bake about 35 minutes. Transfer baking pans to cooling racks and let rest for 10 minutes, before flipping out of the pans onto racks and cooling the cakes right-side-up.
11. Make the frosting: Whip butter and cream cheese together with an electric mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar and beat again until smooth and light. If it's too thick, add milk one splash at a time as necessary.
12. Frost the cake, sprinkle the top with cinnamon if you're feeling fancy, and enjoy!
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