I'm normally a fan of easy desserts and I stay away from anything that looks too fussy or elaborate. I want you all to actually try making my recipes so I keep it simple. But the holidays deserve at least a little bit of a fuss. And it's hard not to want to wow your guests. Best of all is when I can create a wow looking dish that's actually not hard to make.
This cake has a few steps - the cake layers themselves, the frosting and the honey caramel sauce. But none are hard to make and you can do them in steps ahead of time, only putting it all together on the day of. Make ahead is my favorite holiday term.
So we have an apple gingerbread honey cake, layered with honey cream cheese frosting and drizzled with honey caramel sauce. And, just for fun, small lady apples dipped in the honey caramel sauce. I couldn't help myself. I do love using honey both for it's great taste and the fact that it adds moisture to baked goods. It also really enhances the flavor of fruit so it's a great match to the apples in this cake.
Note that the batter makes four 6" cake layers but I only have two 6" cake pans. No problem - bake two, cool slightly, leave the oven on, remove the two and bake the next two. It went quickly. Perfectly frosted cake? Pfft, not in my house. Rustic naked is a good look for cakes. Do you want to stick your finger in that dripping frosting? Good. Enjoy!
Yield: 8 Servings
Honey Apple Gingerbread Cake
Prep time: 35 MCook time: 30 MTotal time: 65 M
Recipe for a layered honey gingerbread cake, filled with apples and honey cream cheese frosting.
For the Honey Apple Gingerbread Cake:
- 3 Eggs
- 3/4 Cup brown sugar (light or dark)
- 2 Sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 Cup honey
- 1/4 Cup molasses
- 1 Cup buttermilk
- 3 Cups all purpose flour
- 2 Teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 Teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 Teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- 1 Teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
- 2 Apples, peeled, diced and tossed with 1 tablespoon of flour
For the Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 8 oz. Cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 Stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 Cup honey
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 4 Cups powdered sugar
- Pinch of sea salt
For the Honey Caramel:
- 1/4 Cup sugar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1/4 Cup heavy cream
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour four 6" x 2" cake pans (or do 2 at a time if you don't have 4 pans.) Tip: I used baking spray with flour in it and added a strip of parchment paper to each pan for easy lifting.
- Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the eggs and brown sugar. Mix in the butter, honey, molasses and buttermilk.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Stir the dry ingredients into the wet batter until combined and then stir in the apples.
- Divide the batter into 4 equal parts and fill each prepared cake pan.
- Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly and then lift each layer out by the parchment or invert onto a plate. Allow to cool thoroughly before frosting.
- While the cakes are baking, make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese, butter, honey, lemon zest, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.
- To make the caramel, add the sugar and honey to a heavy bottom pot and, on low heat, allow to melt. Be careful not to let it burn. Pour in the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in the butter and salt.
- Assemble the cake by spreading about 1/4 cup of frosting between each layer. Some will drip out when you put the next cake layer on top. When all the layers are assembled, use an offset spatula to spread the dripped frosting around the sides of the cake.
- Dip a few small Lady Apples in the caramel as decoration if you like. Or just serve the honey caramel on the side so people can drizzle some over their cake slice.
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This recipe is sponsored by the National Honey Board. Thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.