Baby Cake #11: Apple Pie Cake
Since we’re traveling this Thanksgiving and our exact arrival remains to be seen, I’ve opted out of any kind of baking contributions this year.
Instead, I’m getting my holiday baking fix a week early with a holiday-themed Apple Pie Cake! Yes, that’s right. Imagine all the gooey goodness of cinnamon apple pie filling, layered with flakey pie shell, cream cheese frosting and my go-to fluffy Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Cake for a very special new, apple pie-esque creation to celebrate eleven months of my baby girl in my Project Baby cake series. (If you’re not familiar with the series, here are a couple favorites from Month #4 and Month #8)
Inspired in design by Liv for Cake’s version I found on The Cake Blog (just wow!) and in flavor by Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, this Apple Pie Cake is as comforting as pie and a perfect canvas for all the cute baby cake accents you can dream of with a cookie cutter. To keep things simple, I used store-bought frozen pie dough that I thawed, rolled and cut with a pizza slicer to decorate my crust.
Since my cake recipe yields four 4” cakes, I ended up doing two variations of this Apple Pie Cake, one for us to enjoy and one we’ll be gifting to some friends. In the spirit of the season, maybe you’ll do the same?
Or if you need to feed more people, you could simply scale your Apple Pie Cake up to a 6” or 8” version with bigger pans.
Give it a go and be sure to tag #cakebloom on instagram so I can see.
APPLE PIE CAKE RECIPES
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Buttermilk Cake
1 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 eggs, separated
1 cup AP flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prep four 4” round cake pans by lightly greasing and flouring.
In a medium bowl, sift together all dry ingredients and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat egg whites until glossy, stiff peaks form; then remove from mixer and set aside.
In a clean bowl of electric mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until fully combined.
Switch to whisk attachment and add oil in a steady stream, until combined; next, add egg yolks, one at a time until fully combined.
Next, alternately add the flour and buttermilk to the batter, and mix until just combined.
Remove batter from mixer and using a spatula, fold in egg whites and stir to combine.
Divide the batter evenly among four pans and bake ~20 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely before assembling.
HEIRLOOM APPLE PIE FILLING
1 cup tart, crisp apple, peeled and chopped into 1/2” cubes(I used 3 smallish heirloom apples from a local farm, but 1 large Granny Smith apple works well, too)
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
juice and zest of one lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch salt kosher or sea salt
In a small sauce pan, melt butter.
Add apples and remaining ingredients.
Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring as apples release juices, and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes, just until apples are soft, but not mushy like applesauce.
Let mixture cool completely before filling cake or store in refrigerator until ready to use.
VANILLA CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
4 tablespoons soft, unsalted butter
8 oz organic cream cheese
4.5 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
Using an electric mixer, with a whisk attachment, add softened butter and whisk on medium speed until smooth and creamy.
On medium speed, add chilled cream cheese, a few ounces at a time, until combined with butter.
Turn speed to low and add sifted confectioner's sugar, one cup at a time, until all the sugar is incorporated.
Add vanilla and continuing mixing until frosting is smooth and spreadable.
SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM
(for a Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream variation I mentioned above, substitute white sugar for brown sugar and follow the same recipe)
5 large organic egg whites
1 pound organic, unsalted butter, softened
1 cups organic white (or brown) sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
In a medium, heat-safe metal bowl, combine egg whites and sugar over a pot of simmering water.
Heat sugar and egg white mixture until sugar is completely dissolved and mixture reaches 160 degrees farenheit on a candy thermometer, and then remove bowl from heat.
To remove any bits of cooked egg white, pour mixture through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl of an electric mixer and let cool ~5 minutes.
Once cooled, using the whisk attachment of your electric mixer or electric beaters, beat the meringue mixture until you have stiff, shiny peaks.
Next, add butter, a few tablespoons at a time until completely incorporated and smooth. (FYI - the mixture might resemble runny cottage cheese at first, but keep mixing and the buttercream will come together.)
Add vanilla extract and continue whisking until combined.
Finally, switch to a paddle attachment and beat buttercream for a minute on medium speed to work out air bubbles for the smoothest consistency.
Once cakes and fillings are prepped, thaw store-bought frozen pie dough at room temperature.
Once thawed, roll dough out on a floured marble surface to 1/4” - 1/8” thick
To make the pie crust top, use a 5-inch cake pan placed on top of crust and trace around pan with a paring knife for a 5-inch diameter circle.
To make braided edges, roll dough out lengthwise and using a pizza cutter, cut three 18-inch lengths. Cinch together at one end using your figures and braid until you reach the end. Seal ends together with a bit of water.
For the longer braid around base, cut three 21” lengths and follow step four.
Get creative with remaining dough creating shapes or letters with cookie cutters, along with a few pieces to add to your cake filling.
Finally brush all of your pastry lightly with an egg wash (egg yolk + 1 tablespoon water) to get a golden crust.
Bake according to package directions until golden brown.
Once cakes, crust and fillings are cool, use a leveler to slice each cake in half for 8 cake layers. (Enough for two baby cakes).
To assemble cake, pipe a dab of buttercream in the center of a 6-inch cardboard round.
Add first cake layer on top of buttercream and pipe buttercream around edge of cake. Fill with a thin layer of cream cheese frosting, then a tablespoon of apples.
Piping around edges to be sure apples stay inside the cake and then add next cake layer. If filling seems to be seeping around edges, pop cake in the freezer for five minutes to chill buttercream before continuing with next layer.
Next top second cake with cream cheese frosting and crumbles of flakey pastry, and repeat step three with the third cake adding more cream cheese frosting and apple pie filling.
Top with fourth cake layer, frost completely with remaining buttercream and chill until buttercream is firm.
Finally decorate with pie crust and serve.