Monday, September 22, 2014

Apple and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Apple and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake - made September 14, 2014 from Apple and Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Are you getting cooler autumn weather where you live? Autumn is my favorite season of the year and I'm always more than ready to kick summer to the curb by the time September rolls around. Lately though, summer has been tightening its grip, out-staying its welcome, bringing more heat and keeping the rain at bay. Leave already.
But if it won't (thanks, global warming), then I simply switch my baking flavors to autumn anyway. Other than pumpkin, nothing says autumn to me more than apples. Yes, I know apples are available year round but every food snob knows they're best in the fall. This is an apple cake stuffed with cream cheese, covered in a brown sugar glaze and pecans. It was supposed to have pecans in the batter but I skipped that part.
This made more batter than I expected and I did have some overflow in the Bundt pan although thankfully, since I was afraid of just that, I put a sheet of foil underneath the pan during baking and it caught the few dribbles of batter overflow so I didn't have to scrub my oven clean....again. The pictures don't let me lie so I have to confess this turned out looking very homemade. You know what I mean. Part of the cake stuck in the pan when I inverted it so I had to do a Humpty Dumpty and patch it together before I poured the glaze over it. That was partly my fault because I was in a hurry and I didn't wait to let it cool just enough to be firm but still be warm enough to come out easily. But I'm also going to freely blame the cake because the cream cheese filling was particularly soft so it added to the delicacy of the cake that I hadn't counted on and it couldn't hold the apple cake part together. Okay, that was probably my fault too for not anticipating that.
The brown sugar glaze set pretty quickly, practically hardening before I could even get it out of the bowl so you're going to want to move quickly with it. Actually, I would recommend cutting back on the powdered sugar and increasing the milk slightly to keep it a bit softer and more glaze-y; otherwise it ends up being like penuche. I used whole pecans to put on top but you can do a rough chop and sprinkle it (fast) over the glaze before it sets. The toasted pecans do add a nice crunch and flavor so don't skip that part unless you absolutely don't like pecans, even on top of your cake. The apple cake part itself was delicious and paired well with the brown sugar frosting and the pecans. I was less enthused about the cream cheese filling, probably because there was so much of it. If you like cheesecake, you'll like this cake. If you're like me and don't like cheesecake, I would recommend you cut the cream cheese batter in half, swirl it more into the cake batter and bake as a cream cheese swirl apple cake. I did that with the taste test ramekin and it was much better than a regular slice of the Bundt cake.
Cream Cheese Filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla

Apple Cake
1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional in the batter, I left them out)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups peeled and finely chopped apples, about 1 1/2 pounds (I used Granny Smiths)

Caramel Pecan Frosting
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup pecan halves for garnish, toasted
  1. Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until blended.
  2. Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. 
  3. Stir together 3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples and pecans.
  4. Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan. Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.
  5. Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).
  6. Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 tablespoons milk to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake. Garnish with pecans.

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