Caramelized Apple Spice Cake with Brie Icing & Sugared Pecans

I had the opportunity to buy a giant box of Honey Crisp apples the other day for a super cheap price.  The great part of buying a giant box of Honey Crisps is that you now own Apple-Gold, the bad part….you have a GIANT box of apples and need to do something with them quickly before they spoil.  So, I decided I was going to make an Apple Spice Cake.

Being a food blogger brings perks.  Perks like the giant wedge of Brie I received last week from Ile de France Cheese.  These perks can sometimes end up in your hands too.  Like today for instance.  Today I’ll be starting a giveaway for 5, yes 5, baskets of assorted cheeses from the nice people at Ile de France.  Let me just say that the brie will knock your socks off.  It’s creamy and mild and delicious.  While making the icing, I sampled – a lot.  :)  Enter to win your very own assortment.  Here’s how….

To Enter:
  • Leave a comment telling me what your favorite dish is containing Brie Cheese.
  • Sorry – US Addresses ONLY.  
For Extra Entries – leave a separate comment for each of the following:
CONTEST HAS ENDED!!  WINNER’S HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED

Giveaway runs from September 28th through October 5th at 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time.  Winners will be chosen using random.org and announced on/or before Thursday October 6th.

Let’s make some cake, shall we?

Start by caramelizing some apples in butter, sugar, apple cider and vanilla bean.  I used Honey Crisps, but you could use Granny Smiths or Gala’s as well.

You are going for very golden brown.  The picture above wasn’t doctored.  They started out pale and turned a beautiful golden brown.  This takes about 20 minutes of low and slow.  You want all of the cider to be evaporated.  That’s when you know it’s time to turn off the heat.  Let the apples cool while you prepare the cake batter.

Butter and flour 2 9-inch cake pans and set the aside.  Mix the dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Reserve 1/4 cup of flour and set both aside.  Crack your eggs in a bowl for easier addition while making the batter.

2 sticks of butter plus white sugar and brown sugar = YUM!  Beat the butter and sugars really well until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.  Alternate the spiced flour mixture with the sour cream and end by adding 1/4 cup of the reserved spiced flour.  Add in the cooled caramelized apples and mix gently to combine.

Divide evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.  Test center with a toothpick to ensure doneness and remove to a rack to cool.  Let cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto the racks.  Cool completely before icing.

For the Brie Icing: add the cream cheese, butter, and brie (eat several bites of the brie off a knife) and beat well to combine.  Add the vanilla extract and beat to combine.  Add the powdered sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  Ice the cooled cakes and top with sugared pecans.
Caramelized Apple Spice Cake with Brie Icing & Sugared Pecans

Ingredients – Cake
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 vanilla bean, halved
4 cups apples, peeled, cored and diced small
1/2 cup apple cider
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
Directions
1 Put 1/2 stick butter into a large saucepan.  Using a paring knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod.  Cook over medium heat until the butter is lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the apples, cider and 1 cup of granulated sugar.  Raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and cook until apples are golden and translucent and the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes.  Discard the pod and let cool.

2 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter two 9-inch round cake pans (or 8-inch if you don’t have 9’s).  Dust with flour and tap out the excess.  Set aside.  Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.  Reserve 1/4 cup of spiced flour mixture.  Set all aside.
3 Beat remaining 2 sticks of butter, remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and the brown sugar with a mixer on medium-high until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Reduce speed to medium and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.  Reduce to low and alternate the flour and sour cream in 2 batches each.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and caramelized apples and fold gently to combine.
4 Divide batter between the prepared cake pans.  Bake until tops are dark golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack.  Run a knife around the edges and turn cakes out onto a cooling rack.  Cool completely.
Ingredients – Brie Icing & Sugared Pecans
8 oz brie cheese, rinds removed
4 oz cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3+ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup pecans, raw, unsalted, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Directions
1 In a medium bowl add the brie, cream cheese and butter and beat with a hand mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the vanilla and mix to combine.  Add 3 cups of sifted powdered sugar and mix to combine until light and fluffy.  Add more powdered sugar if needed to reach your preferred consistency.
2 In a small skillet, add the pecans and toast over medium heat.  Add the sugar and stir quickly to coat.  Turn out onto a piece of parchment paper and let cool completely.
Assembling the Cake
1 Place one layer of cake on a cake pedestal or plate.  Top with 1/2 of the Brie icing and using an offset spatula, spread all the way to the edge.  Place in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from the freezer and top with the second layer of cake.  Top with the remaining icing and spread evenly over the top.  Top with the sugared pecans and serve.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Ile de France Cheese.  Winners will be chosen via random.org.  I was given a sample of brie to try by Ile de France and all opinions of the cheese are my own.

Cake recipe adapted from here

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