This is a fun recipe with really spectacular results. Especially if you are looking for a dessert that isn’t too sweet – not sweet at all, actually, but certainly delicious.
Apples are everywhere right now, including the elusive McIntoshes that don’t make an appearance in Laramie at any other time of year.
I always wash fruits and vegetables in a citrus wash, even if I end up peeling them. I don’t know why I do this, but I cannot not do it. Just one of my many needless habits.
The apples are used to make a caramel-y applesauce that will go into the cake batter. A simple caramel is cooked on the stovetop (the MSBH has clear instructions on how to do this and if you make enough of the MSBH’s recipes, you make A LOT of caramel on the stovetop).
And then the chopped McIntosh apples and some lemon juice are added.
This cooks until the apples disintegrate, leaving you with a very rich, golden applesauce.
The batter itself is very straightforward, and this recipe is closely related to the Spiced Pear Bundt Cake I made last year. Once ready, it’s portioned among three 6″ round baking pans.
I bought these cake pan wraps at a kitchen store some time ago and finally remembered to use them. They are fabric wraps with velcro fasteners that fit around the pans and are meant to keep the edges of the cakes from becoming hard and tough.
I have no clue as to how they work – they are “aluminized fabric” and you soak them in water before wrapping the pans.
I only had two strips so one of my pans baked without them. In the end, the strips really did what they were supposed to do – the two cakes baked with the strips came out with smooth, soft edges whereas the cake that baked without them took about 7 minutes longer to bake and came out with hard, crusty edges and an uneven top. So hooray for good things.
I did adjust the leavening and flour levels for altitude and was happy with the results – no more fallen cakes.
I then cut the tops of each of the cakes to make them all the same height (2 inches) and as level as possible.
The frosting is so simple yet unique – goat cheese, cream cheese, and confectioner’s sugar. That’s it, but it’s such a nice change. And it’s all just whipped together in the mixer.
I made it the night before and stored it in the refrigerator. I let it warm up a bit and mixed it again at high speed for a minute before using and I had no problems.
This is a very tall cake and so I didn’t even bother beginning with my cake stand. I just put it on a plate as I began to frost it.
Super easy cake to frost, as the sides are left bare. (This means that any imperfection in the sides of the cake will show, however.) Because each layer is so heavy and tall, I recommend frosting each top before placing it on the layer below.
The frosting is quite thick but fairly easy to work with. Mine didn’t “ooze” at all, even at room temperature.
Once assembled, the cake is done all but for the decorative “Caramelized Lady Apples.”
Now, I am posting the MSBH photo and recipe for this garnish here because it had me absolutely perplexed. First, here is the photo of the cake in the MSBH:
You can’t really tell, but that’s the top of the cake with the white Goat Cheese Frosting and three Lady Apple slices drenched in caramel goodness.
Now, here is the recipe that is supposed to instruct you how to make this delightful garnish (click to enlarge):
I read that recipe several times and while it tells you most everything you need to know, I think the editors really dropped the ball on a few things. Minor oversights, but oversights nonetheless. Or am I just completely reading this wrong? How in the WORLD would two halved lady apples cooked cut-side down result in the garnish pictured in the book? What am I missing?
Instead of “halving” the lady apples, I cut them into discs.
I left the peel on, because it’s a fantastic shade of pink and would bring at least a tiny amount of color to an otherwise beige dessert.
Then I cooked them, per the recipe, in the caramel, flipping them over half-way through.
Then off to dry on a piece of parchment. (I poured the remaining caramel over a whole apple – bonus caramel apple, I win!)
The apple discs remain rather soft and leathery (mine did, anyhow) but really add a lot to the cake. They taste good too – just like a caramel apple.
And there you have it! An Apple Spice Layer Cake with Creamy Goat Cheese Frosting and Caramelized Lady Apples!
I thought slicing it would be a nightmare but it was actually super easy. I did use an angelfood cake knife which I think contributed a great deal to the ease of slicing this tall, narrow cake. I also cut the slice fairly large, rather than cutting thin slices, and we just shared.
As for flavor, the cake itself is delicious – a perfect apple spice cake recipe to have at your disposal. If in a hurry you could use store-bought applesauce instead of cooking it yourself, but the homemade sauce really brings a lot of rich, fruity, burnt-sugar flavor to the cake. Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are used perfectly.
The frosting is very creamy with a super tangy punch and not at all sweet. You can hardly taste the sugar – not sweet at all (did I mention it’s not sweet?) and is a perfect match to the moist, fluffy, earthy apple spice cake.
Like I mentioned above, this is a perfect cake for people who don’t like sweet things. And it’s also perfect for autumn. Perfect, perfect, perfect.