Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spiced Applesauce Cake

This is another recipe I learned about through my sister (and no surprise it's a recipe from Smitten Kitchen). Last time I was in Denver visiting her she had just made a huge batch of fresh applesauce that needed to be used. She made this cake before and thought it was great, so while she was stuck at work, I raided her kitchen and made this. This is another perfect autumn recipe. Apples and cinnamon seem to be getting used quicker than ever this year, thanks to my vacation time. I've been experimenting with lots of fun fall recipes, most of which have been really good (my summer experiments were 50/50).

This is a really moist cake that can be served as is for breakfast or as a snack. Or you can top it with a cream cheese frosting and make it the perfect cake for any brunch or dessert table. I have not yet tried the cream cheese frosting, but I will add the recipe since I have never made a cream cheese frosting that wasn't delicious. I'm sure this one will not disappoint. I also have not yet tried this with the walnuts since the people I made this for preferred having it plain. This cake also freezes really well if you want to make one now while apples are still in season.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet via Smitten Kitchen

For the cake:

2 cups (8 3/4 ounces or 250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (3 grams) salt
3/4 teaspoon (2 grams) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (1 gram) ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick (4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (6 7/8 ounces or 195 grams) packed light brown sugar (updated weight)
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups (about 13 ounces or 365 grams) unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup (about 1 3/4 ounces or 50 grams) walnuts (optional), toasted, cooled, and chopped

For the frosting:
5 ounces (142 grams) cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 42 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (4 ounces or 120 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 (1 teaspoon) teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350ºf/175ºC with your oven rack in the middle. Grease a large loaf pan or a 8inch or 9 inch square cake pan. If using the square cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the parchment paper as well.

Prepare the cake by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves in a medium bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition and scraping down the sides of your bowl to make sure everything mixes evenly. With the mixer running on low, slowly add the flour to the batter and mix until just combined. Stir in the walnuts (if using).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Bake until the cake is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes. Allow cake to cool, then run a knife along the edge to remove it from the pan. Make sure the cake has fully cooled before frosting the top.

Begin making the frosting by beating the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift the powdered sugar and cinnamon over the cream cheese mixture and beat at medium speed until combined. Frost the top of your cooled cake.

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