For some reason, there seems to be a large number of birthdays during the month of November. One of the things that can be challenging when you’re committed to a real food lifestyle is birthday cake! Birthday cakes are traditionally a place you’ll find lots of processed wheat, bleached sugar, trans fats, and chemical food dyes. On the other hand, you really want a birthday cake to be special, and pretty…a real treat. If you’re wanting something really beautiful and delicious that won’t leave you with a processed-food hangover the next morning, this apple spice cake with whipped caramel frosting is a great choice!
You can use gluten free or whole wheat flour for this cake, it’s pretty forgiving because of all the moisture from the fruit. The cake is laced with sweet cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove. Basically, you’re making two delicious apple-upside down cakes, which form the layers of the cake. The tender apples are sandwiched in the middle of the cake, with whipped caramel frosting between them. Did I say frosting? This frosting is really delicious! A blend of whipped cream cheese and homemade caramel sauce…decadent, but much healthier than the Crisco-and-powdered sugar frosting that tops many birthday cakes. Pipe the frosting on in pretty swirls, or use whipped organic cream to decorate the top and sides. Add a sprinkle of German rock sugar for sparkle and you’ve got a beautiful cake that says “celebration,” but still keeps it real.
Start by peeling and coring some organic apples, and slicing them into thin slices. Line two 9 inch round cake pans with parchment paper, then layer the sliced apples on the paper. Set the pans aside.
Mix the cake batter up, and pour it over the apples. Bake the cakes until a toothpick comes out clean, let them cool for five minutes or so and then invert them on plates…peel off the parchment and let the layers cool completely.
For the frosting, start by making some homemade caramel sauce. Heat up some organic, unbleached sugar until it melts, being very careful not to burn it. This is probably the hardest step of the whole process, but as long as you keep the syrup moving and take it off the heat as soon as it’s melted, you’ll be okay.
Once the sugar has melted and turned a pretty amber color, take it off the heat and whisk in some butter, a little bit at a time. Then add some organic, grass fed cream and stir. Let the caramel sauce sit and cool completely…this step can be done while the cake bakes, so that the cake and frosting will be cool at the same time.
Once the caramel sauce is cool, beat 16 ounces of organic cream cheese with 1/2 cup of organic brown sugar or rapadura. Slowly drizzle the caramel sauce into the mixture and continue to beat. As the mixer runs, slowly pour in 1/2 cup of organic whipping cream and beat the frosting until peaks form.
Now you’re ready to frost the cake! Place one layer of apple cake, apple side up, on a cake platter. Layer on some frosting, and then place the second cake apple side down over the frosting.
Frost the sides and top of the cake, and pipe on whipped cream decorations (if you’d like). Sprinkle on the German rock sugar, or try other fun decorating ideas…dried apple rings and walnuts, a drizzle of extra caramel sauce, a sprinkling of cinnamon. It’s not hard to make a cake elegant and special, a few little additions are all you need! Whether the occasion is a birthday or a dinner party, this cake is a beautiful and tasty treat.
- 3 medium-sized organic apples
- 3 cups organic flour (wheat, or gluten free)
- 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice or rapadura
- 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
- 2 teaspoons organic ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon organic ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon organic ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon organic ground cloves
- 1½ cups organic, grass fed milk
- ½ cup organic coconut oil, melted
- 1½ teaspoons organic real vanilla extract
- 2 organic, cage-free eggs
- 1 cup organic evaporated cane juice
- 6 tablespoons organic, grass fed butter
- ½ cup organic, grass fed cream
- 16 ounces organic cream cheese (here's how to make your own)
- ½ cup organic brown sugar (or evaporated cane juice)
- 1 cup organic whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon organic real vanilla extra
- ¾ cups organic grass fed whipping cream (optional, for decorating)
- ¼ cup organic evaporated cane juice (optional, for decorating)
- ¼ cup German rock sugar (optional, for decorating) (where to buy)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Peel, core and slice apples into thin slices. Line two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper, then layer the apple slices in concentric circles on the paper.
- In a bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and spices. Add the coconut oil and eggs, and beat to combine. Slowly add the milk and continue to beat until the batter is smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
- Pour the batter into the cake pans over the apples, and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes, then invert the pans and remove the parchment paper from the apple side of the cakes. Allow the cake to cool completely.
- While the cake is baking and cooling, make the caramel sauce. Pour one cup of sugar into a pan, and heat on the stove until it starts to clump, stirring constantly. Your arms will be getting a workout! Keep heating and stirring until the sugar melts, lifting the pan off the heat and swirling the liquid in the pan to keep it moving if you need a break from stirring. The sugar will start to turn a nice amber color, remove it from the heat right away once it's completely melted. You don't want to over-cook the sugar, just make sure it's liquid.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time, stirring constantly after each addition. The sugar will froth as you add the butter.
- Add the cream by slowly drizzling it into the pan as you stir.
- Set the pan with the caramel sauce aside to cool. You'll want it to cool completely before you add it to the cream cheese, or it will melt the cheese. You can pop it in the fridge if you'd like.
- Whip the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla in a bowl with your electric mixer. Add the caramel sauce (you can set a little aside if you'd like to use it for decorating later). Whip until combined.
- Slowly add the cream to the frosting, whipping on high until the frosting is fluffy and holds stiff peaks.
- To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake platter apple side up. Spread frosting over the apples, then set the second cake layer over the frosting, apple side down.
- Frost the top and sides of the cake. Use frosting to pipe on decorations, or if you'd like, make some whipped cream by whipping ¾ cup of organic whipping cream with ¼ cup sugar. Pipe decorations onto the cake with the whipped cream.
- If you'd like, sprinkle German rock sugar over the top of the cake. Enjoy!
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What’s your favorite kind of birthday cake?