I don't make many layer cakes, mainly because of the extra time and labor involved. Christmas calls for something a little extra special though, so I put together this dreamy caramel apple spice cake.
The idea for this cake is based off of a cupcake recipe that we absolutely love. Since the cupcake recipe yields a rather light and delicate cake, I used a slightly different version to make sure the layers would be sturdy enough to handle being stacked into a cake.
The cake is iced with an indulgent caramel cream cheese frosting, which is the same one we use in our cupcake recipe. Because it's a rich, soft frosting, it doesn't lend itself well to fancy piping, so I just used an offset spatula and did a rustic, textured covering of frosting on the tops and sides of the cake. I garnished the whole thing with crushed Speculoos cookies, but ginger snaps would work great as well.
The layers are filled with cooked cinnamon apples and they are an amazing complement to all of the other flavors in this cake. The spice cake layers are dense enough to make layering them a simple process, but the cake is moist and full of spice without being overpowering.
This is a really special cake to keep in your back pocket for those special occasions - it is not one to be missed!
Caramel Apple Spice Cake
- Total Time: 1 hour 5 mins
- Yield: 2-layer 8-inch cake (with extra) 1x
- FOR CAKE:
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 5 large eggs, separated
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- FOR FROSTING:
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup salted caramel sauce (see notes. You can also use store bought)
- FOR FILLING:
- 3 cups apples - peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 TBS water
- 1-2 tsp cornstarch if needed to thicken
- FOR CAKE:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) cake pans. (see notes)
- Using a stand mixer, cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.
- Stream in the oil with the mixer running.
- Add the egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt into another mixing bowl.
- Alternately add the dry mixture and the buttermilk to the batter with the mixer on low speed, mixing until just combined. Do not overmix.
- In another large mixing bowl, beat the egg whites until they begin to foam, and then add the cream of tartar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold gently into cake batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans, filling them about halfway full.
- Bake on center rack until the center springs back when touched, about 20-25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool in pans for 7-10 minutes, and then invert the layers onto a cooling rack. Allow to completely cool before frosting.
- FOR FROSTING:
- Using a stand or hand mixer, beat together cream cheese, vanilla extract and butter until smooth.
- Add the powdered sugar in 2-3 additions and mix until combined.
- Mix in caramel sauce until fully incorporated.
- FOR FILLING:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium heavy bottom sauce pan over medium-low heat.
- Allow to simmer until apples are very soft. This will vary depending on the type of apples you use. It can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, so just keep an eye on it.
- Once the apples are soft, coarsely mash the mixture using a fork, remove from heat and allow to cool.
- ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:
- If desired, use a large serrated knife to cut rounded tops off of cooled layers.
- Place some frosting into a quart-size ziploc bag and snip off a small bit of the corner. Squeeze a dam of frosting around the outer edge of the bottom cake layer. This will prevent the apple filling from escaping.
- Fill inside of the dam with a generous amount of apple filling.
- Place top layer of cake on filling so that the cut edge is facing down (the bottom of the cake layer should be facing up because it will create the flattest cake top)
- Generously frost the top and sides of the cake.
- Garnish with crushed Speculoos cookies or gingersnaps.
- Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
This recipe makes a little bit more batter than is needed for the 2 8-inch layers. I prepared an extra 6-inch round pan and froze the extra cake layer - just wrap with plastic and place in a Ziploc bag before freezing. You can also bake the remaining batter into cupcakes (fill them about ⅔ full). You should have some extra frosting to use as well.
The caramel sauce I like is the one from my Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars, recipe here: http://www.browniebites.net/caramel-apple-cheesecake-bars/ You will only need ½ cup of the sauce so if you don't want to have too much extra, cut the caramel recipe in half. You can also use a store bought sauce and it will work great.
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
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This looks absolutely incredible!!
LOVE me some apple spice cake. LOVE IT.