This spiced apple layer cake with mascarpone frosting is moist, incredibly fragrant and utterly delicious. Decorate with toffee apples or maybe a few leaf-shaped cinnamon cookies.
This spice apple layer cake you guys… this cake is maybe the most delicious cake I have made. So says my esteemed tasting team (a.k.a my lovely neighbours) and I must concur. If you love apples and cinnamon, you simply must move it right to the very top of your fall baking list.
The recipe started as apple cupcakes and then morphed into an apple bundt cake before finding this incarnation as a glorious spiced apple layer cake. It works in all forms incredibly well and I think it would also be successful as a loaf cake if you didn’t want any fancy frills.
The secret to its amazing flavour is a simple apple purée made with cooking apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. The purée keeps the cake moist, fragrant and almost apple pie like in its concentrated apple-ness – not a word but you get where am I going, right? Take a look at the video below to see how easy it is!
I decorated mine with a toffee apple which just so happened to be what I had handy on the day. Originally I intended to decorate it with a cinnamon cookie wreath which I think would have been beautiful too. Maybe on another cake…
The toffee sauce drizzle is totally optional too, but looks very appropriate. You could use store-bought caramel instead of making it from scratch, simple gently heat the caramel until it is a little runny. You will have a lot of toffee sauce leftover if you make it – thankfully it can be kept in the fridge and used over ice cream, waffles or other seasonal bakes.
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- For the apple purée
- 3 medium cooking apples peeled and cubed
- 75 g | 2.5oz dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- juice of a small lemon
- For the Cake
- 150 g | 10.3oz plain all purpose flour
- 150 g | 10.3oz soft light brown sugar
- 100 g | 7oz ground almonds
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 300 g | 10.5oz apple purée
- 80 ml | 2.7 fl oz vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- Mascarpone frosting/filling
- 400 g | 14oz mascarpone
- 200 g | 7oz icing sugar
- 100 g | 3.5oz double heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- Toffee sauce
- 100 g | 3½ oz unsalted butter
- 100 g | 3½ oz | ½ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp heavy cream
- chopped nuts to decorate optional
- Preheat your oven to 180 C/ 350 F. Spray 3x15cm (6in) cake tins with cake release and line the bottoms with baking paper.
- Put all the ingredients for the apple purée in a saucepan and bring to the boil over medium-low heat. Keep stirring until the apples are soft and breaking up. Use an immersion blender or food processor to process to a smooth purée.
- Measure 300g (10 1/2oz) of purée and reserve the rest to be used between the layers.
- Add the vegetable oil and eggs to the 300g (10 1/2oz) apple purée and pulse until liquidised.
- Sift the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients and fold together with a spatula, making sure you scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- Divide the batter between the prepared cake tins.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for about 22-25 minutes. The cake is ready when firm on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes and carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
- Mix the mascarpone, icing sugar, spices and vanilla on low speed, gradually adding the cream. Gradually increase the speed until you have firm peaks, scraping the down the bottom and sides of the bowl halfway through. Do not over beat as the frosting may curdle. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a round tip.
- Transfer the remaining apple purée into a smaller piping bag fitted with a small round tip.
- Pipe a ring of frosting around the edge of the bottom cake layer.
- Pipe apple purée inside the ring and level. Ad a full layer of frosting over the top (see video for demo) and level. Repeat until you have assembled the cake.
- Pipe or smooth a thin layer of frosting (crumb coating) over the entire cake. Use a palette knife to smooth the top of the cake letting the buttercream spread over the edges.
- Use a side scraper to smooth the buttercream on the sides of the cake – using a turntable will make this easier. Freeze the cake for 30 minutes.
- Prepare the toffee sauce. Put the butter and sugar in a small saucepan and whisk together over medium heat until the butter is completely melted and sugar has dissolved.
- Add the cream (take care as the toffee might sputter), vanilla and salt and boil for one minute. Leave to cool slightly.
- Apple another layer of frosting to cover the cake. Use a serrated side scraper to smooth the frosting (or a plain one for a smooth finish).
- Carefully drizzle some toffee sauce around the perimeter of the cake so that it drizzles down the sides.
- Top with a toffee apple or pipe any remaining frosting over the top of the cake to decorate. Add a few chopped nuts around the base of the cake to decorate (optional).