Cakes & Cupcakes

Apple Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

AppleCakeSlice

I heard from a friend recently that maple might be the new pumpkin spice. It’s been reported in a few places that, while pumpkin spice is not necessarily finished, interest in maple is on the rise. It may be the new flavor that helps us get into a fall mood.

I think that is great news. I have always loved maple syrup, and like Buddy the Elf, I consider it a staple of my diet and baking. It’s great on lots of foods of obvious foods (pancakes, waffles, oatmeal) and some less obvious ones (butternut squash, carrots, salad dressing sweetener).

AppleCakeCooling.jpg

I did promise I would have more apple recipes on the blog soon, and first and foremost, today’s recipe is all about apples. This cake relies on fresh apple slices releasing their juices when stirred into a stiff, crumbly mixture, turning it into a delicious cake batter.

Maple is just the right flavor to add to cream cheese frosting to make this apple cake scream “fall”. The tang of the cream cheese and the mild flavor of maple are a very nice combination with the moist apple cake. If you want more maple flavor, I suggest adding a maple extract or flavor (such as this one) to the frosting, rather than adding more maple syrup. This will keep the frosting from being too sweet.

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This cake is great un-frosted (and would make a delicious breakfast cake that way, if for some reason frosting in the morning is a problem for you). You could also serve it with lightly sweetened whipped cream. But for full-on decadence and the most fall flavor, go for the maple frosting.

For help deciding which apples to use for this recipe, please read my “Teaspoon of Tips” post.

Apple Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from a recipe from King Arthur Flour

  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 cups peeled, cored, chopped apple, about 1 1/3 pounds whole apples

Preheat the oven to 325. Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with a piece of parchment paper or tin foil, leaving over hang on one side to create a sling. Lightly grease the parchment with softened butter (or spray with non-stick cooking spray if you prefer).

Mix all of the ingredients except the apples in a large bowl and beat until well combined. This is easier to do in a stand mixer, as the mixture will be very stiff, but can be done by hand as well. Add the apples and mix until the apples release some of their juice and the stiff mixture loosens, until its similar to a loose cookie dough in consistency.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, smoothing it with wet fingers. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few wet crumbs clinging to it. Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool for 20 minutes.  Gently lift the bread from the pan using your parchment sling. Let cool completely before frosting or serving (about 1 more hour).

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • A few drop of maple flavor/extract (optional)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and salt; beat on medium until well combined.

On low speed, add the powdered sugar and beat until incorporated, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add maple flavor/extract, if using, to taste. Then beat on medium speed until the mixture is soft and thick.  Spread on cooled cake and serve.

The frosted cake is best stored in a covered container in a single layer in the fridge. Allow it to warm up for 20 minutes or so before serving.

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