Most of the time, I pick cakes based on the aesthetics. It’s one of the reasons I love cakes. You can make them so beautiful, and they make such a great statement when presented at a dinner party. I recently tried this one out and I loved how the flavors of caramel and apple complemented each other perfectly! This is definitely not a fast dessert to make, but if you’re in the mood for cake, I highly recommend it.
Recipe adapted from here.
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 cups butter cut into 1 inch cubes, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups unsweetened applesauce
White Buttercream Frosting-
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons whipping cream
Carmel Buttercream Frosting-
1 1/2 cups sugar
1⁄3 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1⁄3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄3 cup caramel sauce, at room temperature
Note: I made my own caramel sauce, but to be honest, it’s not really worth it. It takes a lot of time and you don’t need that much. But if you want to, the recipe is below.
1. To get started, you want to preheat the oven to 325 degrees and get your pans ready. If you have three cake pans (8-inch round pans), go ahead and line the bottoms of all three with rounds of parchment paper. To make it easier to get the cakes out later, butter or spray the parchment paper and the sides of the pan and then drop a pinch of flour in the pan. Tap the pan until the flour has spread around and then empty out any excess flour. If you only have one or two pans, it’s also ok to do this in stages.
2. Now, sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl. As I’ve mentioned before, sifting is not essential. So if you’re short on time, skip it. Set aside this bowl.
3. Beat the butter in your electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until it is creamy. Scrape down the sides and then add the sugar, again beating until it is light and fluffy. Then add the egg and beat until it is fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides again.
4. Now add the flour mixture to the mixer in three steps, alternating with the applesauce. Once you’ve added all of it, continue mixing for another minute or two. Make sure to scrape down the bowl once or twice to ensure that everything is mixed thoroughly.
5. Pour the batter into the pans. Make sure the tops are smooth since you will be stacking these. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. You’ll know they are done when a toothpick comes out clean after inserting it into the middle of the cake. Once the cakes are done, let them cool. Once the pans have cooled, you can transfer them to wire racks or plates to finish cooling. Just be careful when removing them from the pans.
6. While the cakes are cooling, you can prepare the two frostings. First, do the white buttercream. To get started, cream the butter in your electric mixer. Then add the powdered sugar and cream. Continue mixing until it is light and fluffy.
7. Now make your caramel buttercream frosting. In a pan on the stove, whisk your sugar and flour together. Add the milk and cream and heat over medium heat. Continue whisking occasionally. You want to bring the mixture to a boil so it will thicken, which should take 10 to 20 minutes. Once done, pour the mixture into your electric mixer, again with the paddle attachment. Beat it until it has cooled. Then add the butter and vanilla and mix well. Scrape down the sides and then increase the speed and beat until it is light and fluffy. Lastly, add the caramel sauce. I did this gradually because I ended up not adding all of the caramel.
8. To assemble your cake, start by placing one of the cakes on your stand (or plate). Wait to do this until the cakes are completely cooled (you may place them in the fridge if you need to speed up the cooling process). Make sure to remove the wax paper. Now cover the cake layer, top and sides, in the white buttercream frosting. Repeat with the next two layers. Once all three layers are stacked and covered in white frosting, place them in the fridge to firm up. Now cover the cake with the caramel buttercream. As you can see in my picture up top, I left a section of the top with just the white frosting. I also added a few butterscotch chips for decoration.
If you want to make your own caramel sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup corn syrup (can also be made with water and sugar if you can’t find it)
1/4 cup butter, softened and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3/4 cup heavy cream
1. In a pan with high sides, mix your sugar, corn syrup, and ½ cup of water on the stove. Make sure to mix fully (but without spilling). Now turn the heat to medium-high and keep mixing until the sugar starts to dissolve.
2. Turn the heat up to high and stop mixing. If you have a candy thermometer, place it in the pan and wait for it to hit 275-300. If you don’t have a thermometer, eyeball it and wait until it starts to turn golden brown. But watch it very carefully because it can turn from golden brown to dark burnt brown very quickly.
Once it has turned golden brown, take it off the heat and add the butter and cream and mix until fully incorporated.