I've made this spice cake before and I loved it so much I decided it should be my birthday cake. As much as I appreciate the work that goes into the popular fondant style cakes that are being made in various shapes and colours, that simply doesn't tickle my fancy. I like my cake to look like cake. Simple, clean, uncomplicated in design and booming with flavour is what I go for. I think that is why I lean towards fruit or spice flavoured cakes. Taste means a lot more to me that aesthetics and this cake really packs a flavour punch.
Let's talk about the cake. There are 3 main components; the spice cake, the apple filling and the cream cheese frosting. The cake itself is super moist. The spices are on point and if you leave the cake over night the flavour just develops and it's even better.
The filling was my way of making this the ultimate apple cake. The cake itself doesn't have any apple flavour. If you didn't have the apple filling, you'd have no idea the cake had any traces of apple in it. The addition of the apple filling really took this cake up a notch.
The frosting is something I could eat out the bowl! Yeah, OK, I did eat some out of the bowl, but it's seriously good! The creamy, salty, sweet combination really compliments the spice cake.
Basically, this cake is life, and you need to experience it. Now's good.
The Ultimate Apple Spice Cake (Adapted from SBA)
312g standard flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup vegetable oil
350g packed brown sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla essence
1 cup grated apple (grated carrot or courgette works too)
Maple Cinnamon Apple Filling
2 Tbs butter
2 apples, peeled and diced
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting
500g cream cheese, block style, softened
2/3 cup salted caramel
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 Tbs whole milk, optional
For the cake-
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line your cake tin/s. I used one 23cm spring form tin. If you're making this a layer cake, definitely use 2-3 tins so the cakes cook evenly.
Place flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves in a large bowl. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
In another bowl, place the oil, brown sugar, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until it's all nicely combined. Fold in the grated apple (or courgette/carrot if you're substituting) until combined.
Pour batter into tin and bake for 60 minutes, if using one tin. If using multiple tins, 30-40 minutes is a good guide. check at 30mins and then every 10 minutes after that. Baking times will vary, so keep an eye on it. Test cake with a skewer to see if it's done. The skewer should come out clean.
Once done, remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
For the filling-
Melt butter in a fry pan on medium heat. Once melted add the apples, cinnamon and maple syrup. cook until apples are soft. Set aside for when you're assembling the cake. You might find that the butter hardens when you put it in the fridge, simply reheat in the microwave for 10 seconds before using it in the cake.
For the frosting-
In a large bowl place your cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add half of your salted caramel and maple syrup. Beat until well combined. The frosting will thin out with the addition of the caramel and maple. Taste, and if required, add more of the salted caramel and maple until you get a slightly sweet and slightly salty frosting. Once the desired taste is reached, if the frosting is too stiff for your liking, add the milk, else it's ready to slather onto your cake.
Once cakes are cool, it's time to put it all together. If you made one cake, you will need to cut it into 3 layers.
Place the bottom layer on your cake board/plate and top with some frosting. Dollop half the apple filling all over the frosting.
Place the second layer over this, and top with frosting then apples, then the final layer of cake. With the remaining frosting cover your cake as you see fit. This would make a really pretty naked cake too!
Decorate as you see fit. Flowers did the trick for me, but walnuts/pistachios and some salted caramel drizzled on top can work too. If you're planning on doing some piping you will need to make more frosting as the amount specified in the recipe it just enough to cover the cake.