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Apple Cake With Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting


Continuing my homage to the apple, the quintessential harbinger of Autumn I made an apple cake. I have been making this cake for many years and it never fails, I found it years ago while watching an episode of Martha Stewarts show on Food Network.  The cake is moist and rustic in texture, loaded with apples and warm autumn spices. Sometimes I use a cream cheese frosting but this time I made the frosting that is featured in the recipe on Martha Stewarts site. The frosting is gently sweet, buttery and has a lovely caramel flavor that comes from using brown sugar instead of granulated.

I really love this cake, it couldn’t be easier to make, no mixer required. The recipe calls for grated and diced apples but I like to use homemade applesauce, I make it in the oven, peel and quarter 4 apples, add a splash of apple cider, cover and bake for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft. Let them cool and mash with a fork. I prefer using applesauce rather than grating apples, the cake has some small pieces of apples and a balanced apple flavor. I think the buttercream is good but I prefer the cream cheese frosting,  it’s a bit sweeter but the tangy creaminess from the cream cheese goes so well with this cake. Just saying!!

I am bringing the cake to Fiesta Friday #196. This weeks co hosts are and Jhuls@The Not So Creative Cook.


Recipe from Martha Stewart

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp powdered ginger

1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter melted

2 large eggs

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cup applesauce or 4 apples peeled- 2 grated and 2 diced)

Heat oven to 350 degree’s. Prepare 3 8 inch round baking pans by lining with parchment, butter or grease and dust with flour, set aside.

In medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt and set aside. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar and eggs. Fold in the applesauce or apples. Add the flour mixture and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon just until combined. Divide equally into prepared baking pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until browned and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, run butter knife or offset spatula around the edges to loosen and turn out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

Brown Sugar Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Recipe from Martha Stewart

4 egg whites from large eggs

1 cup light brown sugar lightly packed

3 sticks or 12 oz of softened unsalted butter

Set pan with about 2 inches of water on low heat, place the egg whites and brown sugar in mixing bowl and set on top of the simmering water (bowl should not touch the water). Whisk until mixture is warm to the touch and sugar is completely melted. Place on stand mixer with whisk attachment and mix on medium speed until fluffy and completely cooled, approximately 15 minutes. Change to paddle attachment and add the soft butter 1 tbs at a time while the mixer is on med low speed. Once butter is incorporated continue to mix on medium speed for another 3-5 minutes. If it curdles it’s ok, keep mixing it will come together. Frost cake immediately.  I piled way too much frosting on top, don’t do like I do and make sure the frosting is evenly spread all over the cake. Thats what happens when you are in a hurry.

49 Comments Post a comment
  1. Cake looks fantastic Suzanne! Have a great weekend 😉

    November 3, 2017
  2. Craving some cake after reading your lovely post, the cake looks amazingly delicious, can’t wait to read some of your new posts and recipes.. 😀

    November 3, 2017
    • Thank you so much Chef, the cake turned out really nice. I love cooking with apples.

      November 4, 2017
  3. Oooo… It’s apple-solutely gorgeous, Suzanne. The frosting sounds wonderful on it own. My mouth watered as soon as I saw the first picture, but the one of the slice of cake… I almost licked the computer screen. 😀
    Beautifully done. Hugs on the wing!

    November 3, 2017
    • Oh Teagan you always make me smile, thank you so much. Hugs back my friend.

      November 4, 2017
  4. I am not a big cake baker, but this looks absolutely mouth-watering and no mixer! I could do this. And yes on the cream cheese frosting for me to but I’d probably have to buy it.. Yum yum!

    November 3, 2017
    • I like the cream cheese frosting better with this cake but the buttercream is nice for a change. Thank you so much.

      November 4, 2017
  5. Oo looks so yummy! I love apple cake at this time of year, it makes me feel really festive! Might have to give this a try 🙂

    November 3, 2017
  6. YUM! Hope you have a great weekend!

    November 3, 2017
  7. The homage to the apple is killing me. Everything you are making lately has my mouth watering. I am still drooling over the donuts. Thanks for all the great recipes and inspiration Suzanne. Happy Friday!

    November 3, 2017
    • Thanks so much Michelle. I can’t get enough apples this time of year and love cooking and baking with them. Have a great weekend.

      November 4, 2017
  8. What a gorgeous cake!

    November 3, 2017
    • Thanks so much Lynn. Hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful weekend.

      November 4, 2017
  9. Mmm, I can imagine the taste of the frosting. Yum. I forgot all about apple cake and haven’t made it for a long time. This sounds delicious.

    November 3, 2017
    • Love apple cake, thanks so much Mary!! Can’t wait to get my hands on that coloring book!!

      November 4, 2017
  10. This is such a beautiful cake. Love the flavors. Perfect for the season. 🙂

    November 3, 2017
  11. Looks amazing! Great post! Have a good weekend!

    November 3, 2017
  12. I like the frosting recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    November 3, 2017
    • Thank you so much, the frosting is wonderful, was thinking would be really nice on carrot cake as well.

      November 4, 2017
  13. The cake looks fantastic, I like the frosting recipe too.

    November 4, 2017
  14. Oh my goodness this sounds soooooo nice. Gone are the days when cake = chocolate only 🙂
    This must be really moist and so delicate…Got to make this one 🙂 Thanks so much Suzanne.

    November 4, 2017
    • Hi Lynne, the cake is incredibly moist and the spices are so wonderful. I could eat it without frosting and be happy.

      November 4, 2017
  15. I always appreciate a recipe using homemade applesauce as that is the only thing I now can every Fall. Mine has no sugar or spices, just the goodness of the apples themselves. Perfect recipe – I might prefer the cream cheese frosting too!

    November 4, 2017
  16. Sandhya #

    I just wish I could grab that slice right now Suzanne! What a perfect autumn treat!
    I like your idea of making the baked applesauce and the brown sugar in the frosting ! Yum!
    I was at a potluck lunch last week and one of my friends made apple tart with almond flour, which reminded me of you. I have always admired your finesse in baking tarts.

    November 4, 2017
  17. Aren’t Martha’s cake recipes the best? Your cake looks amazing and I would love to taste the combination of the cake and icing. Everyone will be drooling over your gorgeous cake at Fiesta Friday! Thank you for sharing! Suzanne 😀

    November 4, 2017
  18. mistimaan #

    Such a lovely and yummy recipe by you……I would definitely love to taste it 🙂

    November 5, 2017
  19. I haven’t tried baking with apples, but your lovely cake is telling me that I need to do this immediately – sounds so good, especially with that brown sugar buttercream frosting! Thanks for sharing at Fiesta Friday, Suzanne!

    November 5, 2017
  20. So smart Suzanne–making apple sauce for the cake! It looks luscious!! Love the photo of the slice of cake at the end– it’s beautiful!! I’d love to dig into this one. Who did you share it with?? xox

    November 5, 2017
  21. That brown sugar buttercream sounds amazing! I bet it would be great on carrot cake or even zucchini bread! Lovely photos, too!

    November 6, 2017
  22. I am so going to try this Cake Suzanne! Lovely Cake!

    November 7, 2017
  23. Stunning!

    November 7, 2017
  24. Baking with Soul #

    Oh wow I’m going to have to try this buttercream out!!

    November 7, 2017
  25. Gosh, Suz! You have been churning out some amazing food lately. My mouth is constantly watering- from the chowder to the doughnuts to this cake! Mamma mia! Happy fall!! xox

    November 8, 2017
  26. Love buttercream on a really moist cake. looks great yummm!

    November 9, 2017
  27. Gorgeous cake, Suzanne! 😍😍

    November 10, 2017
  28. Hi, thank you for following my blog, the cake look delicious, I had never try to make meringue , that sounds easy to make too 😍

    November 11, 2017
  29. Hey Suzanne– missing you (& your posts)– Hope all is well. Are you cooking for Thanksgiving?? I am imagining your pies!! I’m thankful for you Blog friend. You are a blessing to me. hugs hugs.

    November 17, 2017
  30. Love your apple recipes, especially this cake one. For the applesauce is it as written? The icing sounds delicious.

    November 22, 2017

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