School has started, the air is crisp, and the colorful leaves have begun to fall. This can only mean one thing; it’s time for some fall baking. Apples and spices scream fall baking, so I thought I would whip up an applesauce spice cake to welcome my favorite season.
This spice cake has a little bit more of a grown up flavor, with a cream cheese icing that’s not too sweet, and thin layers of salted caramel.
The flavors work really well together. It was simply meant to be.
I like to take the cream cheese for the frosting out of the fridge once the cakes come out of the oven so it can soften while the cakes cool.
Applesauce Spice Cake
- For the cake:
- 3 cups flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. allspice
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 sticks softened butter
- 4 eggs (at room temperature)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- For the caramel:
- 1 bag Kraft caramel bits
- 3 tbsp. heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- For the icing:
- 2 8oz. bricks cream cheese (softened)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Step 1 For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 3 8″ round cake pans with non-stick baking spray.
- Step 2 In medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.
- Step 3 Place butter and both sugars in bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Step 4 Add the eggs and vanilla and continue beating until well combined.
- Step 5 With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Step 6 Add the applesauce and mix until just combined.
- Step 7 Remove the bowl and give it a good stir with a rubber spatula to ensure the batter is thoroughly mixed. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time.
- Step 8 Allow cakes to cool completely before icing.
- Step 9 For the caramel: Place caramel bits and cream in microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring well after each, until completely melted and smooth.
- Step 10 Stir in salt. Set aside.
- Step 11 For the icing: Place softened cream cheese in bowl of stand mixer and beat on medium low until smooth.
- Step 12 Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Start at low speed so the powdered sugar doesn’t fly out of the bowl.
- Step 13 Add the lemon juice and beat on medium speed until smooth.
- Step 14 Assemble the cake: Trim tops of cakes to create a level surface. Start with one cake on a cake stand. Spread a thin layer of caramel followed by a layer of icing.
- Step 15 Repeat twice.
- Step 16 Spread the remaining icing around the sides of the cake, scraping excess to give that naked cake look.
- Step 17 Drizzle any remaining caramel decoratively over the cake.