Growing up, I loved my Aunt Virginia. She always had a beautiful smile, sparkling eyes and a big heart. Aunt Virginia had this need to bless everyone. She could not mention anyone without blessing their heart. “You know, so-and-so, bless his/her heart . . .” is how she began every conversation or story. And stories – my that woman could tell stories! She talked and talked and talked! There were times when I swore she never took a breath! Aunt Virginia (married to my dad’s older brother) drove my mom nuts with her unending chatter. Sometimes we would make the long drive from our house down to visit Uncle Jess and Aunt Virginia without Mom, who stayed home rather than listen to Aunt Virginia’s unending rattle.
As a child, one of the things I loved visiting Aunt Virginia (bless her heart) was that she always baked a cake for our visits. While this wonderful cake is not from her recipe collection, it is in keeping with her spirit and baking style. Tis the season for all things apple!
I hope Aunt Virginia passed along her recipes to her only daughter. Family recipes are such a precious gift!
Caramel Apple Layer Cake with Apple Cider Frosting
Caramel Apple Layer Cake
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups light brown sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup caramel sauce (homemade or jarred)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups buttermilk
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a second large bowl, beat sugar and oil together with an electric mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add applesauce, caramel and vanilla, beat for 30 seconds, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, and continuing to beat until well combined.
Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Set aside to let cool for 10 minutes, then gently loosen cakes and turn out onto a cooking rack; set aside to let cool completely.
Apple Cider Frosting
7 1/2-8 cups confectioners’ sugar (to desired consistency)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the frosting, put sugar, butter, cider, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Arrange one cake on a large plate and spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Arrange second cake on top then frost top and sides of entire cake with remaining frosting. Set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow frosting to set before serving.
Makes a tall 2-layer, 8-9 inch round cake.