Spiced Apple Layer Cake

"If you were a cake, what would you be?"

Honestly, this is probably the hardest question A has ever asked me and I spent a good 10 minutes pondering over the answer. What cake would I be?

I'm quite clearly unprejudiced when it comes to cake. You name it, I'll have it. How critical I am of it though, that's another story. "I'd be carrot cake- sounds healthy but unhealthy on the inside..." I like your style, A. 

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who is shocked by the shocking calorific content of carrot cake. In some instances it's worse than a piece of chocolate fudge cake. It just completely baffles me! Now, I'll have you know I have a pretty decent, if not amazing recipe up my sleeve for carrot cake but that's for another occasion. What I will tell you on this occasion is this super yummy spiced apple cake. Like, errrmehgurd yummy. And it's based on said awesome carrot cake recipe so it must be good.

Cinnamony, slight gingery and nutmeggy sponge with added grated apples to keep it lovely and moist, with apple puree sandwiched in between to cut through the sweetness of the silky smooth vanilla swiss meringue buttercream and topped with toasted pecans and an apple juice caramel. In attempt to 'healthify' this recipe, I've replaced most of the oil with low fat natural yoghurt, which also helps add moisture to the cake and reduced the amount of sugar from the original recipe.

Some may know from my instagram page it was my 26th birthday this week and this cake was made part experiment and part in 'celebration' of that. I always feel a bit depressed every year because birthdays in my family just aren't celebrated in the same way as before; everyone has jobs and timing is always a bit awkward and rushed. And the most upsetting thing is I'm actually now closer to 30 than 20...

But because this cake was that good, I guess it helped distract me for a very short while from remembering how old I am.


Apple cake

2 eggs
180g dark brown sugar
100g low fat natural yoghurt
85ml vegetable oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
200g plain flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200g cooking apples (I used Bramleys), coarse grated

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C.
  2. Prepare and line a 6" high sided baking tin. (Or you may prefer to baking each layer separately. In that case prepare 3 x 6" baking tins)
  3. Grate apples into a bowl. Squeeze out excess juice (this will be used for the caramel) and set the now separated juice and apples aside.
  4. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and brown sugar until the mixture becomes pale looking. Add natural yoghurt and oil and mix to combine.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix to combine- be careful to not overmix (it's ok to have a a bit of flour here and there)
  6. Fold grated apples into the batter.
  7. Pour batter into prepared tin (or tins) and bake for 60-80 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

75g Egg Whites
125g Caster Sugar
170g Butter, room temperature
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

  1.  Place egg whites and caster sugar in a squeaky clean heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir frequently with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved. (Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water, and keep whisking so the egg whites don't scramble!)
  2. Using an electric whisk, or pour into the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the egg whites on medium high to stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to touch.
  3. Add butter, approximately a tablespoon at a time to the meringue and whisk on low until each addition is incorporatedTurn the speed up to medium high and keep whisking until the butter and meringue mixture come together into a silky smooth buttercream.
  4. Lastly add the vanilla extract and mix to incorporate.

Apple Puree

Approximately 2 medium apples (I used Bramleys), cored and chopped into small cubes.
  1. Place apple cubes into a saucepan and cook over medium heat until they start to break down.
  2. Continue cooking until moisture is reduced and apples turn into a thick, smooth puree. Set aside to cool.
Apple Juice Caramel

Apple Juice (from the grated apples)
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp butter

  1. Combine the apple juice and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently on a simmer until reduced and thickened into a light syrup.
  2. Stir in the butter. Set aside to cool.

To Assemble

  1. Toast a handful of pecans and set aside to cool.
  2. Divide the cake into 3 even layers. Take the the first layer and place on a plate/cake board/ stand and spread a layer of buttercream on, followed with a layer of apple puree. Top with the next layer and repeat with the layer of buttercream and apple puree.
  3. Top the cake with the final layer of cake and a layer of buttercream.
  4. Sprinkle the pecans on top and drizzle the apple juice caramel over the pecans, allowing the caramel to drizzle down the sides.


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Interior designer & part time baker. Lover of architecture, design and all things cute.