Apple Stack Cake

Apple Stack Cake 013 (2)

I’m trying out different options for the Thanksgiving dessert menu.  I love a good apple pie.  Heck, I love any kind of pie.  For the holidays last year I baked the famous Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie.  It was a perfect dessert.  In fact, I intend on making it again this year.  However, I’m well aware that there are those of you who find pie not as appealing as I do (that’s crazy talk).  I decided to try this apple stack cake, and now, I think you should make it for Thanksgiving (make pie too), and here’s why;  it looks impressive in all its tall glory; it’s filled with soft, sugary apple slices; the six cake layers are made from a delectable apple, pecan cake batter; it is is drizzled with a caramel-like apple glaze; and… it’s not pie (pie is the best dessert ever).  It’s basically an apple pie in cake form (it’s really delicious). The only thing missing when I tried a slice was some really good vanilla ice cream (and a slice of pie).  

Apple Stack Cake 021 (2)

I got this recipe from Southern Living Best Fall Baking magazine.  The process is fairly easy, but there are a lot of tasks.  You start by making the filling by cooking apples slices, lemon slices, and brown sugar together over medium heat in a Dutch oven pot.  Once cooked, set aside.  Next up is the apple glaze.  In a saucepan, stir together sugar, butter, apple cider, and corn syrup until melted.  Add some vanilla extract and then set that aside.  Make the apple/pecan cake batter and evenly distribute them between six 8 1/2-inch disposable pans.  Bake all of them at the same time in a 350 degree F. oven for about 20 minutes.  Finally, it is time to assemble.  Gently place a cooled cake on a cake plate.

Apple Stack Cake 008 (2)

Arrange apple slices neatly around the edge and a few in the middle to fully cover the top of the cake.  Place on another cake and do the same with the apples.  Keep stacking.

Apple Stack Cake 009 (2)

Before you know it you’re looking at a skyscraper made up of cake layers and apple filling.  

Apple Stack Cake 012 (2)

Apple Stack Cake
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For the filling
  1. 3 lbs. (about 9 large apples) Apples, peeled, cored, and cut in ½ inch slices
  2. 1 cup (200 g) Brown Sugar, firmly packed
  3. ½ Lemon, sliced
For the apple glaze
  1. 1 stick (1/2 cup or 112 g) Unsalted Butter
  2. 1 cup (200 g) Sugar
  3. ½ cup Apple Cider
  4. 1 TBS Corn Syrup
  5. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
For the cake
  1. 1 cup (125 g) Pecans
  2. ¼ cup (31 g) Flour, to mix with the pecans after they are roasted and chopped
  3. 2 and ¾ cup (344 g) All-Purpose Flour
  4. 1 and ½ tsp. Apple Pie Seasoning
  5. 2 sticks (1 cup or 227 g) Unsalted Butter, softened
  6. 2 cups (400 g) Sugar
  7. 5 Large Eggs, separated
  8. 1 cup Buttermilk
  9. 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  10. 1 cup Apple Butter
To make the filling
  1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat, cook the apples slices, brown sugar, and lemon slices. Once it begins to boil, lower to medium-low heat and simmer, stirring often, for 25 to 30 minutes minutes, or until the apples are softer. Remove from heat, discard the lemon slices, and set aside to cool completely, about 2 hours. You can also make this filling up to three days ahead. Be sure to cover and refrigerate it, though.
To make the apple glaze
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the sugar, butter, apple cider, and corn syrup to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook the glaze for another 4 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside.
To make the cakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and line each cake pan with parchment paper. Be sure to lightly grease the parchment paper too.
  2. Toast the pecans for about 7 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside to cool. Keep the oven on at 350 degrees F.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the 2 and ¾ cups flour and apple pie spice. Set aside.
  4. Chop up the pecans and mix them with the ¼ cup of flour. Set aside.
  5. In a bowl attached to a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, cream the butter until smooth. Slowly add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg yolks one at a time until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl, mix the baking soda and buttermilk together. Alternate mixing the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture into the butter mixture (always begin and end with the flour).
  7. Now fold in the floured pecans and apple butter.
  8. In another bowl and using a handheld mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir a third of the egg whites into the cake batter to lighten it. Next, gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until combined.
  9. Evenly distribute the batter among the six cake pans, and bake them for 10 minutes (you’ll be utilizing 3 racks). After 10 minutes, rotate the position of the cake pans vertically. Bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  10. Once out of the oven, brush each cake with 2 tablespoons of apple glaze, and place on wire racks to cool. If necessary, microwave the apple glaze for 10 to 20 seconds before using.
To assemble
  1. Gently place one cake on a cake plate. Top with about a cup or cup and a half of the apple slices. Arrange them nicely around so that it is fairly level. Place on another cake and top with more apples. Keep doing this until you’re looking at a really tall cake.
  2. Pour the rest of the apple glaze over top, allowing it to drip down around the sides. Again, microwave the glaze if not able to drizzle.
  3. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
Special equipment needed
  1. Six 8-inch disposable cake pans
  2. Apple peeler
  3. Apple corer
  4. Standing mixer
  5. Saucepan
  6. Handheld mixer
  7. Parchment paper
Adapted from Southern Living Fall Baking Magazine
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