So today is Mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!), and I wanted to make her an extra special cake. After all these years of making a big deal out of each and every one of us all these years, even when it isn’t our birthday, it’s the least I can do. Almost literally. Anyway, experience has taught me to temper my “extra special” urge, so as to avoid an equally special raging crying jag. I went with a spice cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and caramelized apples. Yum, right? (I mean, if you like this sort of thing.)
Of course, I thought I was being all chef-ish and original until I picked up one of my favorite baking guides, hoping to find a recipe of the frosting. Well, lo and behold! There I found a picture of some sort of maple or spice cake with goat cheese frosting and caramelized lady apples.
So much for originality. Hey, at least the picture in the book gave me the good idea to leave the sides without icing, which worked out well (which is to say: none of us felt sugar-sick after eating a slice.) Here’s my highly unscientific version, in case you want to take a few shortcuts, too:
Bake up a boxed spice cake mix, according to package directions, in two round pans. Cool completely.
For the apple filling, peel and dice two Golden Delicious apples. In a small saute pan, melt about 2 Tbs butter over medium-low heat. Add 2 heaping tsp. brown sugar, about a tablespoon of pure maple syrup, and a dash of cinnamon. When a glaze has formed, add the apples and simmer about 15 minutes. The glaze will have reduced and the apples will be soft but not mushy. (I wasn’t keeping very close track of time, to tell you the truth.) Remove from heat and cool completely.
For the frosting, take two 8-oz tubs of whipped cream cheese (room temp.) and mix it with, oh, a cup of powdered sugar and a few generous shakes of cinnamon. Mix for five minutes; add more sugar and/or cinnamon to taste and mix thoroughly. For this cake, I frosted the top of one layer, and then spooned the apples over that. Before setting the top layer onto the bottom, I spread a thin layer of frosting on the bottom of it, too. Then I frosted the top rather generously and that’s that. There was a good amount of frosting leftover, which would be tasty as a fruit dip or spread on a bagel.
I’d like to try Martha’s goat cheese version sometime, but, well, wasn’t sure that everyone would be as thrilled about having the cheese of the goat spread on their cake. And my goal wasn’t to take home 3/4 of a cake, lest I should eat it. All of it. Before tomorrow.
Oh, and hey—I think this is the first shot of my green green kitchen! The rest of the room hasn’t been spruced, but now you get the idea. It’s GREEN. I love it, but can you understand why I had secret moments of panic after we’d purchased the paint? All I could think was, “Maybe the pregnant woman shouldn’t be the one selecting bold new colors….” All’s well that ends well, though.