Sis Blogging Partner and I made this exceptionally tasty cake on one of the rainiest days we’ve had in our area. Ever. My yard is still, five days later, a soft stretch of play-doh textured mud. What’s left to do with a crap day like that, other than bake a cake? Yes, sir! I pinned this one a few weeks ago, and while its flavors and ingredients remind me of Fall, that’s all the more reason to try it in the Spring. I miss Fall this time of year. We never have enough time to do the things we really want to do, and one of those for me is baking. While lots of food sites are grinding up bright green peas and mint into a pesto (ummm…my jury’s still out on that one), I’d rather have cake, thanks very much.
There’s a lot of ingredients in this cake, but as with a lot of baking type things, if you do bake often enough, you might have a lot of them in your pantry already. I think I only had to buy three or four items this time – winning!
We used, oh, I think three of the four gala apples I bought, which put us pretty much just at three cups, maybe a slight bit more, chopped. I love Gala apples! If you’re making an apple dessert that’s not too sweet overall, Gala apples are great for adding in some sweetness and flavor. I’ve always had good results with them.
You will need a mixer to blend the cream cheese filling, but after that, it’s an easy peasy stirring together of the other ingredients. You start off like a lot of this kind of recipe by incorporating all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. You’ll be adding the wet ingredients to it, so yeah – a large bowl, please!
While last week I experimented with cutting the oil from some muffins and using Greek yogurt instead, this week we just used the darn oil. Thankfully the cake did not have an oily texture or flavor overall.
And also like a lot of these kinds of recipes state, don’t over mix the cake batter. Blend the wet with the dry ingredients till just combined, then fold in the toasted pecans and chopped apples. Once you get to this state, though, the batter is pretty thick, so just do your best.
If you’re a seasoned baker, you know how to butter and flour your cake pan properly, especially with bundt pans. The cheap ones they make these days have been notorious with us for not releasing the cake, pretty much ruining a couple of hours of work. If you have a Facebook account, you can see our first-ever video tutorial on buttering and flouring a cake pan. The trick, really? A hell of a lot of butter. We learned our lesson last time!
So after you’ve done all that, fill your prepped pan with some of the cake batter.
After the first layer of filling, put all the cream cheese filling as evenly as possible on top of that, leaving about an inch of space between the filling and the pan. What we forgot to do before applying the rest of the cake batter was to swirl the cream cheese filling with the first layer of cake batter. Geeze, what the heck – oh well! It never fails, I read recipes over and over and still make mistakes. Don’t panic, though, you can still bake this cake, enjoy it and no one will ever know when you serve them a piece, let alone complain that the scrumptious cream cheese layer isn’t prettily swirled.
If you remember to swirl the cheese layer, we salute your attention to detail!
Our cake took about ten minutes longer to bake, and your baking time may vary as well. About ten minutes before the allotted time is up, start checking your cake. It may be done before then, right on time, or even a little after. If you don’t have one of those long wooden picks handy, try inserting a long slender knife, such as a steak knife, and if the thing comes out mostly clean, it’s probably done. Do this in three or four different places, though, as some parts may be more done than others. If you think your cake is browning too much, tent some aluminum foil over the top.
We let our cake cool about fifteen minutes in the pan before flipping the whole shebang onto the cooling rack. This part may or may not require some further patience. If the cake doesn’t release from the pan, tap the top carefully (it’s still hot), then gradually try lifting the pan to see if the cake releases. If it does, congratulations, you did a great job buttering and flouring that pan. It’s always a big relief when they do! If it doesn’t release, try waiting a little longer, tapping the top of the pan again…and that’s all I’ve got. Trust me, I’ve made just enough bundt cakes that didn’t release from the pan to know your pain.
So now what we need to do, when the cake has cooled, is to get these guys and gals together to make the frosting. It’s, uh, an interesting process!
This is the first batch of frosting we made, which is simply brown sugar, melted butter and milk whisked constantly till it begins to boil, then whisked a little more. After that, add in the powdered sugar off the heat. Doesn’t sound too hard, right? Well, I, like the frosting pig I am, decided the cake needed more frosting. Once you’ve added all the powdered sugar, gradually, the frosting begins to cool very quickly. If it cools too much it will not poor nicely over the cake. It was thickening so much as we were pouring it that some thickened too much while still in the pan (it literally just stopped pouring and hung suspended over the cake in the pan), and we decided what the heck, we’ll just make more.
I think the trick is to take that whisking constantly part very seriously because the next batch of frosting curdled in the pan (I think I stopped whisking for maybe a few seconds at one point). It looked gross and disgusting, we couldn’t figure out why it did this and chucked it in the trash. The third batch of frosting started to do the same thing, but I kind of said OH NO YOU DON’T and whisked the ever-loving hell out of it. I’m not kidding. Eventually I was able to get the semi-curdled mess somewhat under control, but this batch too cooled very quickly when adding in the powdered sugar, and it looks nothing like the beautiful, smooth frosting in the original recipe’s picture. But it tastes good. It tastes really good, so there’s the trade-off, I suppose. Whisk, people, whisk. Always.
All in all, we were very pleased with this cake. It does taste even better the next day. The flavors really shine through more. It’s kind of like a spice cake, so if you like those, this may appeal as well. The apples were perfectly cooked and just the right amount of sweet in a cake that wasn’t overly sweet at all. The frosting does pack a sweet punch, and that was even with cutting back on the powdered sugar. Still, it marries well with this cake. I took a huge portion of the cake into work the next day, where it got rave reviews. Despite the precariousness of the bundt pan – will it release the darn cake or not already – I’d definitely make this recipe again. The cream cheese layer is absolutely killer good, swirled or not. Give it a try, and hope you enjoy!
Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
by Robert Kindred for Southern Living Magazine, September 2011 via MyRecipes.com
For the cream cheese filling:
- 1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the cake:
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)
For the praline frosting:
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup powdered sugar
Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.
Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together 3 cups flour, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice in a large bowl. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla to the dry mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.
Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).
Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake.
While the recipe called for a 14-cup bundt pan, our 12-cup pan worked fine. Yes, the cake did puff up quite a bit from the pan, but it never spilled over. Just in case, though, if it makes you feel better, you can bake the cake on top of a foil-lined sheet pan. We did!
An additional note about the frosting – remember, we doubled the frosting part, but the ingredients above are for one recipe only.