Sometimes simplicity is best. Those flavors that remind you of being young or a special occasion bring on that feeling of comfort and memories people you love. It is a reminder that not everything needs to be kicked up, changed and radically modified to satisfy a craving.
Case in point: this apple spiced cake with a clementine buttercream. The only modification I did was to use the clementines I had on hand instead of the oranges the original called for and omitted the walnuts in the batter. A deliciously tangy cream cheese filling is quite addictive and the buttercream packed with orange juice and zest will remind you of the summer days ahead. Go make some memories.
Apple Spiced Cake with Clementine Buttercream
For the Cake:
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 stick (8tbsp) butter, softened at room temp
1-3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs at room temp
2 cups, peeled, cored and shredded apples (I used pink lady, my favorite)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional, in my opinion)
Preheat your oven to 350F and grease the bottom of 3 8 inch cake pans. Then line the cake pans with parchment and grease the parchment.
In a large bowl, sift your flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add in your eggs one at a time then stir in your apples and the vanilla.
Slowly add in the flour mixture, alternating with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. (some people do this and end with the liquid but do as you please, I won't be offended). Fold in the chopped walnuts if you are using.
Pour into the prepared pans evenly and bake for 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. It all depends on your oven, actually. Let the cakes cool in their pans for a few minutes then run a knife along the edges to loosen them, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely after taking off the paper.
For the Clementine Buttercream and Filling:
1 stick (8 tbsp) softened butter
1-1/2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 cup fresh orange juice
4 tsp grated clementine rind
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 8-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
To prepare the buttercream, beat the butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy then add the sugar in alternating with the orange juice. Add in the 3 teaspoons of the clementine zest, the salt and vanilla. Mix well.
Start on your filling: In a small bowl, mash up the cream cheese until smooth. Add in 1/2 cup of the clementine buttercream mixture and the remaining 1 teaspoon of zest then blend until smooth.
When ready to fill your cake, using a serrated knife, shave off the domed tops of your cakes should they have one. Place one layer on your serving plate and use half of the cream cheese filling, spreading to the edges of the layer. Place the second layer on top and use the remaining filling, once again, spreading to the edges. Place the last layer on top and using the clementine buttercream, frost the sides and top of the cake.
*Inspired by Epicurious, Eva's Kitchen and RecipeNut