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Apple-Spice Layer Cake with Caramel Swirl Icing


"A tall, impressive cake that showcases the flavors and smells of the holidays. A three-layer extravaganza with a touch of molasses and shredded apple to keep it moist. It fills the house with a fragrance that beats the most expensive holiday-scented candle. It will be talked about long after the party is over." Source: The Pastry Queen Christmas, by Rebecca Rather













Trans-fat Free, Good source of fiber


1 ½ cups butter, unsalted
at room temperature
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
6 large eggs
at room temperature
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups cake flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger
1 cup sour cream
3 each Granny Smith apples
or other tart apples, peeled, cored and grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon ginger
freshly grated, optional
For the icing:
14 ounces caramels (candy squares)
1 bag
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the buttercream:
1 ½ cups butter, unsalted
3 sticks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons cream
3 cups powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
1 cup, Italian style, available at most grocery stores)
2 cups pecans
pieces, toasted, optional


Place one oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and a second rack in the top third of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease three 9-inch cake pans with butter or cooking spray, then line each with a parchment paper round and grease the rounds. (I just greased and floured my pans and it worked fine.)

Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Beat in the molasses. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground spices.

Add the flour mixture and sour cream alternately to the batter. (Start and end with the flour mixture, adding the flour mixture in 3 increments and the sour cream in 2 increments.)

After each addition, mix on low speed just enough to combine ingredients, do NOT overbeat. Fold in the grated apples, and ginger.

Spoon batter (it will be thick) evenly into the prepared pans. Place two cake pans side by side (not touching each other) on one rack and the third on the other. Stagger the cake layers on the oven racks so that no layer is directly over another.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until firm to the touch. Monitor carefully for doneness; each one may be done at a different time. Remove from the oven and cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.

Note: The layers can be frozen for up to 3 weeks after baking if cooled and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap. Defrost at room temperature before removing plastic wrap. Frost immediately.


In a medium size stainless-steel bowl place the unwrapped caramels, the cream and the butter. Place the bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Stir the caramel mixture until smooth. Remove bowl from heat. Let cool, stirring every few minutes until cool to the touch, about 20 minutes. (If the mixture is too warm, it will melt the buttercream frosting when it is stirred in later.) While caramel is cooling, make the buttercream.


Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed about 1 minute, until pale in color. Add the cream, vanilla and powdered sugar; beat for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Add the mascarpone and beat on medium-low speed until incorporated. Do NOT overbeat the mascarpone or it may separate.

Set aside ¼ cup of the cooled caramel mixture to drizzle over the cake once it is frosted.

Stir the remainder of the caramel into the buttercream frosting, using large strokes to create caramel swirls throughout. Don’t stir too much or the ribbons of caramel will disappear.


Place one cake layer, upside-down on a serving plate and spread a thick blanket of frosting on top. Add the second layer and spread thickly with frosting. Add the third layer and cover the top and sides of the cake with an even layer of frosting.

Use a small spoon to drizzle the reserved ¼ cup of caramel over the top of the cake. Pat on the toasted pecan pieces, if using, to cover the sides of the cake.


Using the proper tools for cutting frosted layer cakes ensures that the slices look as good as they taste. Use a large serrated knife dipped in hot water for cutting. Wipe the knife off with a clean cloth after cutting each piece. This ensures that every cut is as clean and neat as the first.


* not incl. in nutrient facts

Add review





Excellent recipe, it must be delicious. Definitely a keeper for my cookbook.

almost 14 years ago


Wow, yummy, must be a very very delicious cake.

almost 14 years ago

apricot candy

please can someone convert this fabulous recipe into metric or imperial weights. thanks

over 12 years ago

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 249g (8.8 oz)
Amount per Serving
Calories 97355% of calories from fat
 % Daily Value *
Total Fat 59g 91%
Saturated Fat 31g 153%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 235mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 36%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Sugars g
Protein 18g
Vitamin A 31% Vitamin C 3%
Calcium 12% Iron 18%
* based on a 2,000 calorie diet How is this calculated?


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