Thursday, October 20, 2011

Fall= Apples, Spices and L.L. Bean Catalogs

I love baking with apples and spices this time of year. And this cake incorporates chunky apples, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. It just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside thinking about them. Makes me think of crisp cooler days, the changing colors of leaves and mugs of warm spicy beverages. Fall is my favorite season, simply because the scenery is so beautiful. I dream of moving to the east coast and living in a scene out of LL Bean. Ahhh, yes! Anyone out there share the same dream?

Every year when the Fall and Winter LL Bean catalogs come out (Lands End too!) my friend and I head to the book store with a stack of catalogs, pens and pads of paper in hand to make our wish lists. My wish list is mostly comprised of mens stuff since I don't shop for myself much, which is fine since we both mentally shop for our husbands anyway. Sipping our pumpkin spice lattes, we go through page by page, ooh and ahh, and comment about our favorite colors and what we think our spouses would look good in. Only my husband gets to the catalog first and highlights and circles what he wants long before I ever get my hands on it, so that makes it easy for me. It's fun and it's cheap entertainment!

But part of the appeal for us both is the idealistic setting in Maine. Living in Texas, we don't get the changing of seasons. It still looks and feels like summer only it's in the 80's and 90's rather than 110 degrees! Texas will never look like Fall in the LL Bean catalogs, but that's okay because it gives me something to look forward to with my friend. And having a slice of this cake brought me a little closer to that feeling as well. I accidentally chunked my apples too large, but in the end it turned out fine, albeit rustic looking. This cake was a nice blend of spices and stayed moist in the fridge for several days, although it was best at room temperature. The maple in the frosting was a nice but subtle compliment to the cream cheese and the nuts (I choose pecans over walnuts every time!) added a nice crunch. If you're needing a little bit of Autumn in your life, give this cake a try. While I really liked this cake, the apple cake with brown sugar glaze is still my favorite.

To see other cakes baked by the Cake Slice Bakers, click here.

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting adapted from The Cake Book

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and chopped into 1/3-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan. Dust the pan with flour, or spray with nonstick baking spray with flour. (I sprayed my pan, lined it with parchment, then sprayed the paper once again).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment (I used a hand mixer) beat the butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat at medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating it with the buttermilk in two additions and mixing just until blended (flour, buttermilk, flour, buttermilk, flour). Stir in the chopped apples and nuts by hand with rubber scraper.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 25-30 minutes, until it is golden and toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire rack.

Frost the top of the cooled cake with maple frosting (recipe follows). Cut the cake into squares and serve it directly from the pan.

Store in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for up to 3 days. Bring cake up to room temperature before serving.

Maple Spice Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon maple flavoring or 1 Tbsp. real maple syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of freshly ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

In a bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter at medium speed until smooth.

beat in the vanilla, maple, spices and salt. Reduce the speed to low, add the powdered sugar and beat until well blended. Raise the speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.

Happy Dreaming!

32 comments:

Cindy @ Creating at Home said...

Your cake looks soooo good! I'm going to have to give it a try for sure!

Anonymous said...

The cake looks so good, it rains most days here about 300 days and cloudy and windy, this year snow predicted early, hoping I can get this on the table soon..your baby boy looks like a dream come true, well he certainly is to you and your hubby..congrats upon his birth I read your blog late and night and the photo of your sweet angel combined with the photo and recipe for the yummy cake is wonderful..yummmmmeee & your baby boy looks like a real life angel..thanks for sharing the recipe and photo of your sweet baby boy angel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Lenia said...

I am drooling!What a perfect cake!I love cooking with apples too!

Debbie said...

Oh that little boy is so cute! Adorable......the cake is pretty good looking too. Love the way you put the frosting on it. Apples are popular here right now and I have quite a few. This recipe is perfect for right now!

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Oh and a lovely bonus picture of sleeping beauty! Won't be all that long til he'll be able to enjoy his Mummy's baking!
I agree about the cake with the brown sugar glaze being slightly better.
Love your decoration with the pecans.

girlichef said...

That cake looks fantastic...and I had something to say...but them I saw the sweet face at the end and all my thoughts went out the door. He's just so darn beautiful :D

cybil said...

Oh what a cute pic!!!!
Autumn is wonderful - here in Geneva/Switzerland the trees are yellow and read, it gets cooler every day, chestnut are on the ground... Beautiful season!
Sibylle

Abby said...

I scrolled through for the bebe, then I went back to the recipe! :)

Heather said...

Your cake looks wonderful and I am so happy to be baking with you. Your little man is so adorable!

Julie said...

I too have always longed for an LL Bean autumn, and I've always wanted to visit (or move to) Maine! The cake looks superbly delicious, and little guy looks so peaceful and happy :)

AngAK said...

when I click on the apple cake with brown sugar glaze, it brings my to this cake with the maple icing. your little one is adorable.

Heather said...

I'm lucky enough to experience an LL Bean Maine autumn every year. It's truly the best season! But, your sweet baby's face is by far more enjoyable!

Memória said...

I just came here to see if there was a gratuitous photo of Haydencito! And there was! Thank you! He looks so cute. Too bad our first date didn't work out. I still think he's extra cute, though. :D

Monica H said...

AngAK- Sorry about that. I've fixed the link, but here it is anyway. Thanks for letting me know!

http://lickthebowlgood.blogspot.com/2010/09/caramelly-appley-delicious.html

~Monica

Becca said...

I love fall for all those reasons aswell. And I love the crisp, cool air at night. Fall and Winter are the most marvelous times of the year.

I didn't get a chance to bake this month's cake, but yours looks so delicious, especially that cream cheese frosting :P

Emily said...

Fabulous post as usual! Love how you decorated it with pecans!

Love Love Love that sweet dreaming baby!

OvenDelights said...

Love how you always plate your cakes! And can that baby me any more adorable! He;s so lucky to have you! :)

Hennifer said...

Wow! That looks amazing, minus the nuts! I have some apples that need cooking!

And needless to say your little man is SO cute! I just love those little dreamy smiles

Katie said...

Your cake looks delicious Monica. I love how chunky you kept the apples. It really is the perfect cake for autumn.

The photo of Hayden sleeping is just adorable!

lasinthekitchen said...

Holy cow, your cake looks fabulous! It looks like it rose really well and your frosting is so much more creamier and thicker than mine. Love the spice dusting and the pecans on top too!

Coleen said...

apples and maple, what a perfect combo!! What a precious photo of your little guy, man-o-man does he look like YOU or what!?! (don't tell hubby I said that).

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I love this cake. But the baby... precious.

Healthy and Homemade said...

Oooooo yummy cake. The cutie pie in that last pic kind of steals the show ;)

Avril said...

Come move to the East Coast Monica! - then you'd be closer to me!!! :-)

Recently I've been thinking of your apple cake with caramel frosting as I made it last Fall and LOVE, LOVE, LOVED it! This apple cake also looks mighty good...especially since it has that lovely maple frosting on it. I just adore anything "maple" flavored - especially when REAL maple syrup is used as the flavoring.

I just LOVE seeing a picture of little baby boy dreaming...precious!

HUGS!
~avril :-)

Donna said...

your baby is adorable - great picture

The cake looks delicious, I'll have to give it a try

Kerstin said...

Such a cute pic of your little guy! I love baking this time of year too. What a yummy cake! I would also love a cabin up in Maine.

Keeley said...

Awww, Hayden looks like a sweet little angel!!!

Oh, and the cake looks good, too. :)

I live in a state where we get to see the seasons change. It is beautiful and "traditional", but in about 3 weeks the trees will be bare and we'll be scraping frost off our cars for the next 4-5 months. Boo. I'd take Texas over that any day! :)

mbc said...

He is beautiful, Mama! What a sweet, sweet face.

Brownieville Girl said...

Your cake as always looks perfect Monica.

But not quite as perfect as your baby.

Maranda said...

Your cake is SOOOO pretty!! And I miss NY Fall weather and the trees on fire SO much!

Vony said...

Thanks for posting this! It was really good.

amy said...

You have one of the best food blogs I've ever come across. I'm making this one today. BTW, someone from Moda (quilt fabric mfg) has linked your blog on their blog (when trying to sell us on pintrest).....so you may be innundated with quilters on your blog. Ok, so you won't know they are quilters, but if traffic picks up, this may be why.

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