Spiced Applesauce Cake w/ Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

FIRST. CAKE. EVER! K, I’ll admit, the second try was much better. My first cake was a bit dry and not spice-y enough. Feel free to up the spices to your heart’s content. Also, make sure you used SOFTENED butter, and really beat the butter/sugar mixture until you notice an increase in total volume. Here’s some info on the creaming method. Do it. There is a noticeable difference. Resulting cake is dense but soft, moist, and gives off a wonderfully autumnal aroma.

Recipe from Gourmet.com

SPICED APPLE SAUCE CAKE:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2+ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 whole cloves, ground
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar (I used turbinado)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs (room temp)
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce+
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional), toasted, cooled, and chopped

*I used sweetened applesauce. Did not find the end result too cloying. In fact, even with sweetened applesauce, it was not a super sweet cake. Perhaps due to the turbinado sugar (larger granules, less overall sugar in 1 cup).

CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:

  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

MAKE CAKE:

  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter an 8 inch square cake pan.Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  • Beat butter with the paddle attachment on medium until soft  ~1 min.
  • Turn speed down to low, add sugar slowly. Return to medium speed and continue mixing ~2 minutes. Mixture should look “fluffy” or aerated.
  • Add vanilla and eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts.
  • Line pan with nonstick parchment paper and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40min. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Re-invert cake onto a rack to cool completely.

MAKE FROSTING:

  • Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
  • Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.

Store cake in airtight container in fridge for up to 3 days. After that it starts to dry out. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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