This past weekend, I went home to visit my family. I started out in Pittsburgh, and then headed further south to my grandparents’. Since I didn’t get to celebrate my grandma’s birthday with her, I made her a cake so we could celebrate a little late. With all of the apples that I still have, I had to make it fall themed!
This cake is full of apple flavor by way of homemade applesauce in the cake and farm fresh apple cider in the frosting. It’s the perfect cake for any cool weather holiday! I made it gluten free with buckwheat and almond flours, making it a little healthier, and the texture was spot on for a spice cake! Beware, this cake is mighty filling, and it’s very tall. You could easily scale the recipe down a bit for a two layer cake, too!
We enjoyed this cake two nights in a row (with a rather large crowd the second night, I might add). We served it up with butter pecan ice cream, which I definitely recommend! The flavors went so well together. We saved 2 slices for my cousin and his girlfriend, and they ended up bringing 4 of their friends with them. You better believe we divided those slices so that each of them could get some cake!
I frosted this cake pretty simply, just smoothing the edges and topping it with a few pieces of candy corn. It’s so tall that it easily impresses without you needing to get too fancy! I’ll definitely be making this cake again, and I’ll probably have to try out cupcakes, too!
Don’t mind the terrible lighting in the picture of the inside of the cake – it was nighttime when we cut into it, so I only took proper photos of it all intact. You can’t share a layer cake without showing the inside, though!
What is your favorite kind of cake for the cooler months?
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 2 cups almond meal (I use Trader Joe’s)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt (I love Chobani)
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 1 1/4 cups coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 1/4 tsp liquid stevia (or 1 1/4 cups more sugar)
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups applesauce (homemade is preferable)
- 1 recipe apple cider caramel sauce
- 4 large egg whites
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
Preheat the oven to 350ºF, and line three 9-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the edges of the pans. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir the buckwheat flour, almond meal, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices together. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the yogurt and butter together until well mixed. Add the sugar, and beat until fluffy. Stir in the stevia, vanilla, and eggs, until smooth.
Slowly add one half of the flour mixture, and then add one half of the applesauce, while mixing on low speed. Add the second half of the flour mixture, and the second half of the applesauce, stirring until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly into the prepared cake pans, smoothing with a spatula. Bake at 350ºF for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow them to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool (I find it’s easiest to invert the cake pan onto a plate covered in plastic wrap, then inverting the plate onto the wire rack so that you don’t end up breaking the cake into pieces since it’ll still be warm at this point). Once completely cool, wrap tightly and place in the freezer for up to 2 days.
Make the apple cider caramel sauce (recipe here), and allow to cool to room temperature.
Bring a saucepan filled with 2 inches of water to a simmer. Place the egg whites and 3/4 cup sugar into a heat proof mixer bowl, and place above the water. Whisk the sugar and egg whites until warm to the touch and the sugar is dissolved.
Place the bowl back on the mixer stand, and whisk on medium-high speed until you have stiff, glossy peaks, and the mixture is cool, about 10 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low, and add the butter, one piece at a time, mixing until fully incorporated between each piece. If it appears curdled at this point, keep mixing until it becomes smooth again. Add the cooled caramel, and mix until well combined.
Switch to the paddle attachment and beat for about 2 minutes to remove air bubbles.
If you’re a visual person, there’s a great step-by-step swiss meringue buttercream post at Sweetapolita.
Take the chilled cake layers and place one layer on a 9-inch cake board, glued into place by a pea sized amount of frosting. Place a heaping 1/2 cup of buttercream in the center of the layer, and spread with a small offset spatula to about 1/2 inch away from the edge of the cake. Place the second cake layer on top, repeat with another heaping 1/2 cup of buttercream, and top it with the final cake layer.
Place a generous dollop of the buttercream on top of the cake, spread evenly with an offset spatula, working down the sides until you have a thin layer of frosting around the entire cake. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.
Once set, remove from fridge and add another large dollop of the buttercream on top of the cake and spread the same way, adding another coat of frosting. Scrape off the excess frosting with a straight blade spatula and smooth out. To smooth out completely, dip a straight spatula into warm water, dry off, and run evenly around the cake, pointing down vertically. Do the same with the top, holding it horizontally. Top with candy corn for garnish, if desired.
Chill in the fridge until about a half hour before ready to serve. Allow to come to room temperature before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, covered, for up to 5 days (or at room temperature, covered, for up to 2 days).