Monday, December 5, 2016

Brown Butter Apple Spice Layer Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I made this apple spice cake several months ago, typed up a whole blog post, edited and uploaded pictures, and apparently never hit the publish button? Whoops!  I must have been planning to go back to re-read it the next day and never actually got back to it.  I am really surprised it slipped my mind because this cake was absolutely amazing and not even the slightest bit worthy of being forgotten. The cake itself had beautiful fluffy texture with a very tender crumb and soft apple chunks throughout.  The combination of the nutty, rich brown butter and the apple pie blend spices put the flavor of this cake over the top. Then, when you top a cake like this with maple cream cheese frosting, you get one of the greatest things ever!

I really like this rustic style of frosting a cake between the layers and on top but not doing the sides and not worrying too much about how perfect the frosting looks, especially on a cake with an interesting appearance or with fruit inside.  Don't get me wrong, I love a beautifully and perfectly decorated cake as much as the next foodie but this was simple and lovely in its own way.  Another great thing about this is that you don't end up with a cake that is too heavily frosted.  This cake was so delicious, it really only needed a small amount of frosting to taste just right.  Try making this cake for your next holiday party, for the apple lover in your life, or just because it might make you smile. I am sure you won't be disappointed!

Brown Butter Apple Spice Cake

3 cups diced granny smith apples (1/4" cubes)
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup brown butter

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease and then line three 8 inch cake pans with parchment circles. Heat a small pan over medium heat and add 1 stick (1/2 a cup) butter.  Stir and cook the butter until it begins to get foamy, turns light brown, and smells fragrant. Set the butter aside to cool while you prep the other ingredients.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda, and salt until well combined.  In a separate medium bowl combine the sugars, eggs, vanilla extract, canola oil, brown butter, and applesauce.  Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredient mixture in two additions. When the second addition of flour is almost fully mixed in, add the apples and continue to stir until barely combined.  Bake on the center rack of your oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.  

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup (4oz) softened butter
1 cup (8oz) softened cream cheese
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Use an electric mixer to blend the butter and cream cheese together until well combined and fluffy.  Add the confectioner's sugar in three additions.  Once the sugar is fully incorporated, mix in the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  If the frosting is too thick, add a little more syrup or if the frosting is too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.  This batch of frosting will probably not be enough to completely frost a three layer cake, so if you want to frost the sides too I would suggest doubling this recipe.