This is the birthday that didn’t want to happen. Obstacle after obstacle got in the way. This cake barely happened. My sweet sister is a amazing and was so understanding when we had to keep postponing birthday plans.
Lets back up. For my sister’s birthday last year I was set on making her a cake and dinner. I also had a six week old baby. I was sleep deprived and neurotic. If you had asked me which way was up I am uncertain if I could have told you. For some reason I latched on to the idea of making an orange blossom cake with a cranberry filling. She didn’t care for it, although at the time you would have never known. It was a less than spectacular attempt at a birthday cake. The cake itself was odd and barely tasted of orange but was a bit soggy. The filling was too runny and the frosting left something to be desired. I have no idea what I made her for dinner. She was a saint and was appreciative just the same.
This year I was determined to make her a cake she WANTED, not one I wanted to make. After much deliberation she picked an apple spice cake recipe I found a few months back. I got the cake made in time but the night before we were supposed to have everyone over for dinner Little got sick. He has never been sick. So plans for Friday (her actual birthday!) were cancelled. Thankfully I managed to get the cake together for a family get together on Saturday and it was a huge hit! Then we were supposed to make the cancelled dinner on Sunday but I got sick, followed not but twelve hours later by Nathan. Seriously? So plans were postponed again. We finally got to go on her birthday shopping trip on Saturday (a week late) and I made the dish she picked out for her birthday dinner last night (a week and a half late). She is a saint.
But at least there was cake on the right weekend. Even if it was a day late, in light of how late the rest of the birthday plans went, the cake was almost early to the party. And was it ever a delicious. Moist, surprisingly rich, a bit spicy. Perfect.
And the best part? When she told me she liked her cake this year she wasn’t being polite.
Apple Spice Cake (make one 2-3 layer 8 or 9 inch cake)
adapted from Epicurious
3 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons bourbon, apple brandy, or rum (optional)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
2 medium Fuji or Gala apples (13 to 14 ounces total), peeled, halved, cored, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans (about 6 ounces)
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1 cup butter, room temp
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-4 tbs milk
7 cups +/- Powdered Sugar
In a medium bowl, add cream cheese and butter, whip till light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add vanilla. Slowly add powdered sugar while mixing. If too thick add milk one tablespoon at a time. You are trying to achieve a medium stiff consistency. Whip for several minutes.
Assemble the cake
Place a large dollop of frosting on your plate or cake stand. Place one layer of the cake bottom side up on the frosting. Cover with about 1 cup of frosting. Place a second layer of cake on top of the frosting bottom side up. If you have a third layer simply cover the second layer with frosting and top with the last layer bottom side up. Frost cake as you wish.
A note on cake decorating- I took a fancy class recently to learn how to decorate cakes. It was a blast. I highly recommend that you take such a class if you can. However, for this cake I followed a tutorial from Sweetapolita (I have a huge blog crush on her). Her cake is MUCH prettier than mine but you can see how incredibly easy it is to decorate a cake like this.