This Apple Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream is a moist three layer cake with a caramel buttercream and caramelized sugar decorations!
I’m going to scream. Seriously. I just wrote this whole. entire. post. And it got deleted. Aggravating!
Doesn’t that happen to you? When your just shaking in your boots in frustration? Jeez, as if this day hasn’t ALREADY been horrible enough before WordPress decided to deleted my entire 1,000 word post. C’mon now. It’s like someones out to get me. Grr…if it’s you, be afraid. Be very afraid. You got 5 feet of pure terror coming after you.
Anyways, end of my threats. Wanna hear about the rest of my day?
Well, it all started when I decided to be a fabulous citizen and donate blood. However, I usually have an issue with my veins. You see…they’re not the most cooperative of body parts. They don’t like being poked with sharp objects like scissors, knives, or most importantly, needles. When I was eight years old and I had to get a CAT scan, they literally had to strap me down to get my vein because they had already stabbed my arm like, 4 times trying to get to the vein. I was so not down for that.
Now though, I’m pretty used to it taking at least three tries and typically more than one person for them to hit my vein. So today, when my blood-drawing nurse missed on the first try, it didn’t surprise me. So she tried again…and again. Third time’s a charm: it finally worked. Then my blood decided to be a pain in the butt and not flow properly. So, on to the other arm they went. Suprisingly, she got the needle in the vein on the first try! I was so proud…until she came back to check on me. The back was about 1/2 full, and then my blood started to be fussy again and stopped flowing. Right. Cool. I wasn’t happy. So, they sent me over to sit on the mat with all the other blood-drawees.
I sat there for about 30 minutes, nursing my black and blue arms while every person that walked in said “WOAH! Two arms!?!?” and I had the tell the story about 10 times. Super fun, I know. Bet you wish you were me. Anyways, now I sitting here writing this with my sore arms and bandages covering them, trying to convince myself that at least I tried to do the right thing. Jeez, life just has not been on my side today. Anyways, enough of my ranting…let’s get onto cake.
This cake was for my grandpa’s birthday party! While my grandpa isn’t picky about flavors, he despises caramel but loves apple. Dilemma…caramel and apples go together like mac and cheese, peanut butter and jelly, Beyonce and Jay-Z…you catch my drift.
So as I made the cake I sat there thinking of the kind of frosting I could make for this cake…chocolate? Nah. Vanilla? Boring. Cream cheese? Possibly…but I didn’t want to go to the food store. So I decided. Screw it, I’m making caramel buttercream. And I did…and guess what?! Poppop didn’t even notice. Success!
And success is actually the perfect word to describe this cake. The three layers were fluffy, moist, and full of spice and apple flavor. The frosting was light and airy with the perfect tinge of saltiness to balance out the sugar. It was absolutely divine. I highly recommend making this cake. I also highly recommend going to donate blood, but don’t do it if your veins suck like mine do. You’re in for a bad experience.
So go enjoy cake. It’s the perfect after-blood donation, high-sugar food! :)
Apple Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Buttercream
For the cakes
- 3 sticks unsalted butter room temperature
- 3 cups white sugar
- 2 tablespoons molasses
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups cake flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 granny smith apples peeled and shredded (1 1/2-2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the caramel buttercream
For the sugar decorations
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup water plus 1/6 cup water
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup plus one tablespoon corn syrup
- 1/2 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice
For the cakes
- Place one oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and place a second in the top third. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease 3 9-inch cake pans, then line each one with a parchment paper round and grease the rounds.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the molasses, and scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl. Add the eggs one at at a time, beating well after each egg. In a medium bowl, sift together the four, baking soda, salt, and ground spices. Add the sour cream and flour mixture alternately to the batter, starting and ending with the flour mixture (flour in 3 increments, sour cream in 2 increments). Stir in the shredded apples and vanilla.
- The batter will be thick, so use a spoon to transfer evenly into the three pans. Place 2 of the pans side by side on one rack, and the third on the other rack. Make sure they are staggered so that no layer is directly under or above another. Bake 35-40 minutes, rearranging the layers about halfway through, until firm to the touch. Monitor the layers carefully, as they may be ready at different times.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and carefully unmold the cakes to a cooling rack. Cool completely before icing.
For the caramel buttercream
- Cream the butter on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale. Add the caramel. Add the powdered sugar over low speed until combined, then add the cream and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the mascarpone and beat over low speed just until combined - it may separate and curdle if its over beaten.
- Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate or decorating stand, and spread a layer of icing on top. Top with the second cake, then repeat with more icing, then the final layer. Cover the cake with an even layer of frosting. Pat (or fling) the toasted pecans onto the sides of the cake, then decorate the top as you desire.
For the sugar decorations
- Place the sugar and water in a small heavy-bottomed pot. Stir the mixture gently with your hands until it is mixed well. Hold the pot with one hand, bring it close to the faucet and wet your other hand and wipe the sides of the pot, to make sure you don’t feel any more sugar crystals clinging to the sides. Repeat the operation as often as needed.
- Place the pot on the stove and set it on high heat. Cover the pot but leave a small opening for the steam to escape. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, uncover the pot and pour the corn syrup in the center of the mixture. Make sure the corn syrup has dissolved (it will take about one minute) and then cover the pot partially again. Cook without stirring until the mixture is pale yellow or a candy thermometer registers 310 degrees. It will take about 20 minutes of cooking.
- Remove the pot from the heat. Pour the lemon juice shaking the pot back and forth until the juice is mixed in well. Boil the mixture again for about 4 minutes until it is pale yellow or 315 degrees on the candy thermometer.
- Remove the pot from the heat and set it on a cold surface or in a larger bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Lay down a large piece of greased aluminum foil or parchment paper and with a spoon, lift some sugar and drizzle it on the foil in any shape you want.
- Wait a minute for the decoration to stiffen and use immediately.
Adapted from Pink Parsley