This is a dense, moist apple cake with a surprise layer of cream cheese running through the middle of it. It is then topped off with a praline frosting which all makes for a beautiful presentation when the cake is sliced. Having said that, here’s the skinny—in my opinion, this cake does not need the praline frosting. The frosting is absolutely delicious, but it is too much of a good thing. When I brought some of the cake in to work, my fellow professional foodies all agreed with me. Save the praline frosting for a plainer cake that needs some “oompf.”
The cake is so moist and flavorful that I personally think it would be just fine on its own without even the cream cheese filling. So, if you want to save yourself some time and effort, make it without either the filling or the frosting and you’ll still have a delicious apple cake along the lines of banana or zucchini bread. If you want to impress some guests, the cream cheese filling is delicious and eye-catching but definitely ditch the frosting.
Sorry, Southern Living, but we have to agree to disagree on adding the frosting to a delicious cake that doesn’t need it!
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Apple Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Ingredients for Cream Cheese Filling
- 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/4 cup (4 tbl.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 tbl. flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Ingredients for Cake
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans (plus extra for garnish, optional)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup canola oil
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 2 medium apples)
Ingredients for Praline Frosting
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (4 tbl.) unsalted butter
- 3 tbl. milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 12- or 14-cup bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour (the cake will fit in a 12-cup bundt, but just barely). Since I don’t have a 14-cup bundt pan, I decided discretion is the better part of valor and used my 10” angel food cake pan with removable insert.
Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until fragrant. Remove the pan to a wire rack to cool.
To make the filling: Add the cream cheese, butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.
To make the cake: In a large bowl, whisk the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice together. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix just until combined. Fold in the toasted pecans and chopped apples until distributed throughout the batter.
Spoon about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours).
To make the frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-qt saucepan. Set over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Gently stir the frosting until it starts to thicken, then pour it over the cooled cake. (The frosting will set up quickly, so don’t make it in advance – wait until the cake has cooled completely.) Garnish with extra pecans, if desired.
Source: A recipe from Baked by Rachel