Caramel Apple Buttermilk Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

So the problem with buttermilk – well, around here you either get fat free in pints, which I refuse to use in baking, or full fat in half gallons.  With just the 2 of us here (not counting The Pack) it takes a LOOOOOOONG time to use up half a gallon of buttermilk.  So I was trolling around on the interwebs this morning, looking for a use or 2 for the almost full container of buttermilk I have in the fridge.  I ran across a recipe for buttermilk ranch scalloped potatoes, which I will make tonight for the spousal unit.  But that only called for 2 cups.  That still left me a lot of buttermilk.  Realizing that I also had apples, which I should eat as is instead of making into something sweet and gooey and luscious (come on, you know me better than that) I decided on apple cake.

If you’ve ever looked on Pinterest for apple cake recipes, you know that they are as plentiful as sandspurs in a well-meaning southern gardener’s front yard lawn.  Every possible variation you can think of.  So, I decided to improvise based on several different recipes, and came up with this.

The basic cake recipe is based on a buttermilk pound cake:

  • 2.5 cups of sugar – I mixed half brown and half white
  • 2 sticks of butter

cream until smooth

  • 4 eggs

blend in one at a time until the batter lightens

  • 2 tsp apple pie spice (you can use cinnamon)
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

mix all that in at low speed

  • 2.5 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk

mix those in batch wise, starting and ending with flour.  Scrape down the bowl between mixes to make sure you get it all incorporated

  • 2 medium apples, cored and shredded
  • 1 cup of chopped pecans (you can increase if you want – that just happens to be what I had)
  • tiny splash of lemon juice (not necessary, but it does liven up the flavors a bit)

stir in.  Now divide the batter between 3-9″ pans you have prepared with baking spray, and bake for 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  You’ll know it’s done when its a pretty golden brown and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

The cream cheese frosting recipe is that old tried and true favorite of mine- 3/4 cup plain sugar blended with one cold 8oz block of cream cheese until smooth, then drizzle in a cup of super cold heavy cream and whip on high.  This stuff is just great.  Love it.  It has that hint of cream cheese tang, but is so light and fluffy, it will trick you into thinking it’s just whipped cream frosting.

You can do the caramel, or leave it off; today I decided to do the caramel.  The recipe is published earlier in the blog, but its basically 6 Tbsp butter, a cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of heavy cream.  Salt if you want.

To assemble this creation, frost the bottom layer.  Drizzle on the caramel.  Top with the middle layer, frost, drizzle.  Top with the top layer, frost top and sides (if you have frosting left over, you can use it for decorative piping) and pour the caramel on top, letting it run down the sides.

apple cake completeYou’ll want to keep this refrigerated until about 30 minutes before serving.  Expect this one to fall ALL the heck apart when you cut it – it is super, super moist.  Enjoy!

 

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