Spiced Vanilla Cake Stuffed with Caramel Apple Slices
Makes 1 Six by Six 2 Layer Cake
Stuffed with candied apple slices and topped with classic vanilla buttercream, this cake is moist yet fluffy, full of cozy Autumn flavors, and surprisingly easy to make. A slice of this beauty is the perfect way to treat yourself on a Fall or Winter day!
For The Cake -
1 ½ cup + 3 tbsp white flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ + ⅛ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cardamom
¼ cup + 2 tbsp olive or canola oil
¼ cup + 2 tbsp applesauce
1 cup + 2 tbsp white sugar (sifted if clumpy)
¼ cup + 2 tbsp light or dark brown sugar (sifted if clumpy)
1 cup + 2 tbsp non-dairy milk
1 - 1 ½ tbsp vanilla
¾ tsp almond extract
For the Apples:
1 tbsp oil of choice
1 ½ tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
Pinch of salt
1 large or 1 ½ - 2 medium apples, thinly sliced
¾ cup vegan butter cut into chunks
2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease 2 six by six inch cake pans. Cut out 2 pieces of parchment paper and place one at the bottom of each pan. Then set pans aside.
Start by sifting all dry ingredients over a medium bowl. Then, whisk together all wet ingredients in a large bowl. Slowly add the dry mixture into the large bowl, mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated and a slightly runny batter has formed.
Divide batter evenly between the two pans, then gently tap each on a hard surface to release any air bubbles. Place pans on the same rack side by side, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the cakes are browned, have risen, and a toothpick inserted halfway into the center of one comes out clean.
In the meantime, combine all "apple" ingredients (minus the apples themselves) in a medium bowl, starting with oil. Fold in the apple slices, making sure they are thoroughly coated. Transfer to a greased or lined baking sheet.
Once the cakes are done, take them out of the oven, but don't turn it off. Instead, place the pan of apples in to bake for 10 minutes. Then, flip the slices over and bake for another 5-10 minutes, depending on how soft or crispy you want them and how thinly they are sliced. The apples do bake quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on them so they don't burn!
Now back to the cakes. Let them cool in pans for about 20 minutes before transferring onto 2 cooling racks to finish up. Placing the cakes in the fridge or freezer is a good way to speed up this process!
While the cakes are cooling, make the frosting. In an electric mixer with whisk attachment, whip butter for about 20 seconds until it is slightly creamed and has lightened in color.
Add remaining "frosting" ingredients and set mixer on low until the frosting has barely started to come together. Then, beat on high speed for another minute, scraping down sides of the bowl when necessary. Turn off mixer when all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, and frosting is light, fluffy, and thick.
If the cakes are completely cool by now, we can start prepping them to be frosted. If not, keep the frosting in the fridge until cakes are ready. To make the frosting process go smoother, I usually cut off the very top of each cake layer to make them flat. Sometimes I'll also do this with the sides so the frosting can be spread more easily.
Next, spread frosting onto the top of one of the cakes and layer about 3/4 of the apple slices evenly over it. Cover with another layer of frosting, and stack the second cake on top. Then frost the cake as desired and decorate with remaining apple slices. I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top!
Store this cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If you're looking to make a Classic Vanilla Cake, simply omit the apples, spices, and almond extract, then add a splash more vanilla!
I always use unsweetened applesauce, but sweetened works fine.
If you dont have the six by six inch pans, or would rather just make a single layer cake, I'd recommend either 2 eight by eight inch pans, or a single 10, 11, or 12 inch pan. Be sure to check your cake a bit more frequently if you use a different pan size because the bake time may differ.
Don't skip the sifting, I promise it's worth the extra effort for a perfectly smooth and fluffy cake!
Don't worry if the cake looks a little dark while it's baking, that's just because the spices make it a bit more of a golden brown cake!