Decadent Apple-Caramel Spice Cake

So, this is the cake that got me the apron!!  If you have about 40 extra minutes on your hands, go to to

 http://www.fox.com/masterchef/full-episodes/21830907/audition-1

and you can watch me get it!!   If not, and you just want to make the darn thing….follow the instructions below.

It looks like a lot of work and welllllll, it is!! But it is totally worth it and  in the end and your friends and family will be begging for you to make it over and over! So, make at your own risk!!!

You can make it in the cake form or cupcake, depending on how you want to serve it. I recently did it in cupcake form for 300!!

I hope you like it! Let me know what you think!! It’s worth noting that this recipe was included in the Season3 MasterChef Cookbook!

Spice Cake:
2 ½ Cups sifted all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting pan)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
½ Cup butter, soft
½ Cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla
1 ½ Cup cinnamon applesauce
½ Cup buttermilk
Cooking spray

Cream Cheese Frosting:
2-8 oz. pkg. Philly cream cheese (room temp.)
½ Cup butter (room temp)
6-7 Cups powdered sugar
½ Cup canned sweetened cream of coconut (Coco Lopez)
1 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. Princess extract (you can find this in most craft stores in the cake section or your local cake decoration supply store.)

Salted Caramel:
1 Cup granulated sugar
Scant ¼ Cup water
6 TBS. sweet cream, unsalted butter
½ Cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt

Cinnamon Sugar Pecans:
1 Cup chopped pecans
1 TBS. butter
1 TBS. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla

Apple Filling:
3-4 Granny Smith apples, chopped
2 TBS. butter
2 TBS. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. Cream butter in a mixing bowl; add brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs (one at a time) and vanilla. Beat at high speed for 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Scrape down bowl often. Add sifted dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, mixing at lowest speed just until smooth. Mix in applesauce till just combined.

Pour batter into sprayed and floured baking pans. (1-8X11, 2-8 inch round or large jelly roll….depending on type of cake you are making. For the Master Chef competition, I used the jelly roll pan and then cut out 4 inch circles to create three- 3 tiered cakes.) Bake cake at 350* until it bounces back to touch; roughly 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes; then turn out of pans to cool completely. Wrap cake in plastic wrap and place in freezer for 30 minutes.

Cream cream-cheese and butter till smooth and no lumps are visible. Add cream of coconut, vanilla, and Princess extract and mix well. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until desired consistency is achieved (more sugar may be needed than what is listed). Place bowl in refrigerator to chill and set up, approximately 20 minutes. Scoop chilled frosting into piping bag fitted with a coupler and round tip for frosting cake.

Meanwhile, heat sugar on moderately high heat, in a heavy-bottomed 2-3 qt. saucepan. As the sugar begins to melt, stir vigorously with a whisk or wooden spoon. As soon as sugar comes to a boil, stop stirring. As soon as all the sugar crystals have melted and has become a dark amber color, turn your heat down to low and immediately add the butter. Whisk until all the butter is melted. Take sugar off the heat, count to 3 and then slowly add the cream and continue to whisk to incorporate. Whisk in salt and vanilla. Continue whisking until smooth. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes then pour into a Mason jar and let sit to cool to room temperature. (unused caramel sauce should be refrigerated)

Melt 2 TBS. butter in sauce pan. Add apples, sugar and cinnamon and sauté until just before fork tender. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Melt 1 TBS. butter in a sauce pan. Add pecans and brown for 1-2 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue cooking. Make sure to continue to stir or shake pan, so pecans don’t burn. Once sugar begins to caramelize, remove from heat and add vanilla. Turn pecans out onto waxed paper to cool. Break apart any large pieces when cooled.

Once cakes have cooled, slice off rounded tops to create a level surface. Fill first layer with apple mixture, then top with another layer of cake. Fill with apple mixture again, and top with final layer of cake. Frost top and sides of cake with cream cheese frosting. Sprinkle top of cake with pecans and finish with a hearty drizzle of salted caramel. ENJOY!!!

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