From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...When the scent of apples and spice start wafting through my kitchen, I'm reminded of just how alluring I find this time of year to be. The other seasons have their charms, to be sure, but for those of us who love to cook, the promise of fall bounty lures us to the fields and orchards and ultimately back into kitchens that have been on hiatus for the summer. My favorite apples are now ripe and ready for the picking, so we spent some time today picking apples and plotting what to do with them once we had them home. I have a real weakness for apple desserts and this applesauce cake came to mind. It is pleasing to both the eye and the palate and it is not difficult to make. I'll go on record as saying this is my all-time favorite applesauce cake, at least for tonight. The cake was developed Andrea Albin for Gourmet magazine and it is a fantastic fall creation. The cake is moist, spicy and topped with a layer of a cream cheese icing so good that it's been known to make grown men weep. This is the kind of cake that, once tried, you'll make over and over again. It really will be love at first bite. The cake is easy to make and, on the odd chance you have leftovers, you'll be happy to know it is a great keeper. Do make sure the spices you are using are still at the peak of flavor. While spices can't go bad, they can lose their oomph and fall is a great time to replace them. I really hope you'll give this recipe a try. Here's how this cake and its icing are made.
Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Andrea Albin and Gourmet
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup walnuts (optional), toasted (see Tips), cooled, and chopped
5-oz. cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1) Move rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9-inch square cake pan.
2) To make cake: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using). Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.
3) To make frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
4) Spread frosting over top of cooled cake. Yield: 6 to 9 servings.
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