Fresh Apple and Butter Cake. Who wants to frost a cake? Just show it some love with a maple-flavored apple and walnut filling.
Certain ingredients just seem to be a perfect match, bosom buddies of a sort. The seasons also give a nod to certain tried and true flavor profiles. Apples, maple syrup, and cinnamon are some favorite fall companions. You often see them in pies, donuts, and of course, cake. And to tell you the truth, if it works, why mess up a good thing.
Apples x 2
I must confess, I will never turn down a piece of cake. Well, almost never. I don't know of anything as disappointing as a dry piece of cake. Sure, there are other serious issues whose disappointment may be more concerning. But when you are asked if you want a piece of homemade cake, it is a serious issue for the baker.
To combat the possibility of a less than perfect piece of cake, this recipe includes butter, sour cream, and apple cider. Not only will these ingredients give the cake a tender crumb, but they also impart a delicious flavor.
But since this is a fresh apple cake, there are apples in the filling as well. And walnuts. And maple syrup. Need I go on?
Maple-flavored apple and walnut filling
The first step in making the cake is to make the filling. Just make sure to keep stirring the filling so that it doesn't scorch on the bottom of the pan. Once completed, it should chill completely before it is spread between the layers. To speed up the process, you can place the pan in an ice bath. Once the filling is no longer warm, place it in the refrigerator. This is a great time to roast the walnuts so they are waiting for you.
The fresh apple and butter cake batter
The technique for making the cake batter is a familiar one for cake bakers. Assemble the dry ingredients and cream the butter and sugar. Once the batter is fluffy and light yellow, add whole eggs, yolks, and sour cream. It is important to scrape the bowl after every addition.
Alternately, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients with ½ of the apple cider. Continue with this step again until ending with the last ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Incorporate the vanilla extract and give everything a good stir. The batter will be thick and creamy.
Add the cake batter to the prepared pans. While I used three pans, you could use two if you prefer. You will need to spread the batter so that it is flat in the pan. Bake the layers for approximately 30 minutes. The final baking time will depend on your oven. Start checking for doneness at 22 minutes. The cake should be golden brown and spring back when touched in the middle.
Let the layers come to room temperature before the cake is assembled. The smell is delicious!
The apple maple filling should be cold now and will have thickened while in the refrigerator. Put a cake layer on whatever plate you are using to serve your towering dessert. Once assembled, it will not be easy to move. Spread a third of the filling to the top of the layer. Continue the process with each cake layer.
No fussing with frosting or icing with this fresh apple and butter cake. It has a lovely flavor profile reminiscent of a golden autumn day. There is plenty to share with friends.
Fresh Apple and Butter Cake
Apple and Maple Filling
- 14 ounce can condensed milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ¾ cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 apples any variety though Granny Smith add a nice punch
- ¾ cup roasted walnuts somewhat chopped
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoons baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup apple cider
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Apple and Maple Filling
- In a small saucepan, combine the egg yolks with the condensed milk and maple syrup. Stirring constantly over medium, add the butter as the mixture gets warm. Make sure that the filling isn't sticking to the bottom of the pan and scorching. After 5-6 minutes, it should start to thicken. You will probably see big bubbles popping on the surface. Be careful, they can burn. As soon as the mix is thick, take it off the heat and add the vanilla. Stir to combine. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Then place in the refrigerator to completely chill.
Make the batter
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Place the walnuts on a sheet pan and roast in the oven for 5-8 minutes. Give them a rough chop when they have cooled.
- Butter, flour, and line with parchment paper three 8-inch cake pans.
- Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. With a mixer, whip the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- One at a time, add the egg yolks and whole eggs. Add the sour cream, combining completely. Make sure to scrape the bowl after every addition.
- With the mixer at low speed, add ⅓ of the dry ingredients. Once incorporated add ½ of the apple cider. Continue with ⅓ of the dry ingredients, the last of apple cider, and then the last of the dry ingredients.
- Turn off the mixer, add the vanilla extract and with a spatula, completely mix the batter. It will be thick.
- Add ⅓ of the batter to each of the pans. Smooth out the top. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The cake will be golden and spring back when touched in the middle. Let cool to room temperature. The cakes need to completely cool before adding the filling.
- Once the cakes are completely cooled, take out of the pan.
Assembling the cake
- Peel both apples and cut off the core. Using the largest holes on a box grater, shred the apples onto a double layer of paper towel that is about 12-inches long. Cover the apples with the ends of the paper towel. Start to squeeze the paper towel bundle over the sink letting the excess liquid drain from the apples. This is an important step so that the filling isn't too loose.
- Add the apples and the walnuts to the reserved maple filling. Stir until completely combined.
- Put one layer of the cake on a plate and add about ⅓ of the filling. Top with the second layer of the cake. Again add about ½ of the remaining filling. Add the last layer to the cake and finish with the last of the apple walnut filling.