It’s obviously taken me way too long to share any apple recipes. It seems like things all of a sudden got super busy. Between canning, kid things, meetings and awesome outdoor adventures with a good friend, blogging gets pushed to the side. Oh and laundry. Because we all know how that can become an all-consuming endeavor. With five of us in the house, laundry is never ending. But I try not to think about it too much. Anyway.
Let’s talk about this cake. Are you all sick of apples yet? Have you already moved on to pumpkin since it’s October? I certainly hope not! Because you need to be all over this cake. It’s so amazing that I made it twice in two weeks. Which never.ever.happens. It’s moist, full of ideal fall-themed spices, not too sweet and topped with the best cream cheese frosting ever. Even my husband, who is a cream cheese hater, thought it was just right. Oh I could eat this all day. And eating the cream cheese frosting with a spoon straight from the mixer is totally acceptable. So grab some of those remaining orchard apples and get to baking. This makes your house smell like Fall on the highest level. I could bask in the smell all day long. It’s truly amazing. No fall themed candles necessary when this is baking!
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
For the cake
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 16 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
- 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons molasses
- 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 4 medium apples, cored and small diced
For the frosting
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
- 1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- grade B maple syrup
- Whisk the cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, cloves and nutmeg together in a small bowl. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter is a light brown and has a nutty aroma, 2-5 minutes. Stir in the spices for 15 seconds. Remove from the heat and let cool for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease and lightly flour a 9x13-inch baking pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla extract until combined.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together on medium-high speed, the remaining 12 tablespoons of butter, sugar and molasses until pale and fluffy, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times. Reduce the speed to medium and mix in the cooled butter/spice mixture, grated ginger and half of the egg mixture. Mix just until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and mix in about 1/3 of the flour mixture followed by half of the buttermilk, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the half of the remaining flour mixture and then all the buttermilk, mixing until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix in the remaining flour and then the apple pieces. Mix just until combined.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing the top and spreading evenly into the pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for 2 hours, or until it reaches room temperature.
- To make the frosting, beat the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in cream cheese, one piece at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract and beat until no lumps remain and the mixture is nice and creamy, about 2-4 minutes.
- Remove the cooled cake from the pan by inverting onto a rack. Place right side up on a serving platter and spread the frosting over the top of the cake. Drizzle with maple syrup and slice and serve. Store any leftovers well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.