Applesauce cake with cream cheese buttercream frosting
3 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup salted butter, melted
1/4 cup water
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1½ cup brown sugar
1 cup applesauce
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups shredded apples
½ cup buttermilk
Cream cheese buttercream frosting
8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature (this is crucial)
3/4 cup salted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
½ teaspoon salt
3 ½-4 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In another large bowl whisk together the melted butter, vegetable oil, sugars, applesauce, and eggs. Making sure to whisk until fully combined.
In a small bowl mix together the shredded apples and buttermilk.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, mix until just combined, add the apple and buttermilk mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture.
Mix until just combined, over mixing can create a tough cake batter.
Pour apple cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 22-26 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or if you gently press the top center of the cake, it gently bounces back. Let the apple cakes cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cake layers have cooled completely spread a dollop of frosting on to the cake plate. This helps hold the cake in place. Place the first cake layer on top of the cake board.
Add about 1 cup of frosting to the center and use an angled spatula to spread it into an even layer, bend down to eye level with the cake to make sure the frosting is in an even layer. Repeat with the second layer.
Add the third cake layer bottom side up, the bottom side of the cake is generally straighter than the top, so this helps create an even top of the cake.
You don’t need to have a cake turntable to frost the cake, but it does make it easier. Using a straight icing spatula, you can evenly spread the frosting together creating a crumb-free coat of frosting.
For the top layer use the angled spatula to spread the frosting into an even layer then use a cake scraper to scrape some of the frosting off to create the naked cake look. If you prefer more frosting, feel free to skip the cake scraper and use an angled spatula to swirl the frosting for a rustic look. I love to pipe pumpkins on the outside for a fall look.