As part of Sweet Mondays, I try to poll the community to see what thing would make folks happiest. The first week I attempted to embrace the democratic process and, eh, a vote of 3-2 isn’t very inspiring. So I just kind of wander up to someone and ask what they want.
A designer who joined D:CL at around the same time as me suggested spice cake. And better? Spice cake with cream cheese frosting. Is there anything in this world better than cream cheese frosting?
Truth be told, I’ve never made a traditional spice cake. I have made a recipe my mom shared, a spiced applesauces cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting, and know it is a damn fine cake. Also there is cinnamon in it and our friend recently pointed out how fun it is to say “cinnamon in it” over and over.
But as a rule follower, I wanted to be sure that was a reasonable swap-in. Because there’s nothing sadder than being excited about a specific dessert only to find out it’s not quite what you were hoping for. So I asked and also looked up spice cake options. Applesauce was aok.
No photos this time, but I can say if you sprinkle some powdered sugar around the edging of the plate everyone thinks you’re fancy.
Here’s my mom’s recipe. Not sure where it came from. But it’s good.
SPICED APPLESAUCE CAKE WITH CINNAMON CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cups walnuts (optional), toasted, cooled, and chopped
5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cake:
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using).
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown, and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting:
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.