Apple Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting and Cinnamon Whiskey Caramel

The holiday season is upon us, in full force. Now’s the time of year I like to bust out the fancy mixer I got for Christmas a while ago, and admit I typically only use during the holidays. I really do need to change that, but I digress. I love to use that mixer to make desserts, particularly cake. I’ve got a serious sweet tooth, and anything that is soft, fluffy, and covered in sprinkles, make me happy. That’s also what I love about this time of year. It’s the perfect excuse to try out those indulgent recipes, before the New Year resolutions come into effect. It’s still fall, and the hubby is not a fan of pumpkin, so what better to kick off holiday baking, than sweet, juicy, apples.

Now, I have a confession. I suck at baking pies. Actually more like pie crusts. They’re either too soggy, or overly “browned”. It’s a work in progress for me, and one I’m sure I’ll be working on for a while. Now cakes on the other hand, I’ve got a pretty good hang of. So this Thanksgiving, instead of the typical apple pie, I went a little out of the box (pun intended), and made a Sour Cream Apple Cake, with Goat Cheese Frosting, and a Cinnamon Whiskey Caramel Drizzle. Is your mouth watering yet?!

I have a feeling this cake will become a new holiday staple in our family, and will be a comforting blend of both old, and new memories. I love food that has a personal connection, and helps me remember special moments in my life. There’s a special place in my heart for apples. My dad’s side of the family comes from Wenatchee, Washington, known as the “Apple Capital of the World”. Being in the military as a child, we moved around a lot, yet we always came back to Wenatchee. It’s one of the few places this Army brat can truly call “home”. In fact, there’s a sign when you first drive into town, with a giant red apple on it. Every time I see it, it seems to make my heart happy, and soothes my soul. It’s hard not to envision the orchards, as far as the eye can see, every time I pick up an apple.

This year, I decided to get back to those roots, but give them a little modern spin. I wanted something indulgent, but still relatively light, especially after a large turkey dinner. The cake is rich, yet still simple, as to not over complicate the flavors. I like to mix my apples, to give it a multi-dimensional flavor, and in this case, I used Golden Delicious, and Sweet Bee’s (a newer apple out of Chelan, Washington), but I also like the combinations of Golden Delicious/Braeburn, or Granny Smith/Gala. The goat cheese offers a tangy creaminess, that isn’t too sweet, or heavy. I adore goat cheese, especially as an alternative to typical cream cheese. And the caramel drizzle is just enough to give it a warm, buttery taste, with just a slight cinnamon kick from the whiskey.

One of the things that I prefer about this cake, is that it isn’t a traditional spice cake. With the amount of spiced foods that we can get bombarded with during the holidays, it’s nice to have something that is a little fresher on the palate. The soft vanilla cake with the slight crisp of the diced apples could compliment any season. The caramel sauce has a simple base, that can be combined with almost liquor. I can see trying this with amaretto, or chocolate liqueur in my future.

This is a spin on a recipe I found from The Cake Blog. While I can’t take credit for the cake recipe (why mess too much with perfection), I made a few changes to the frosting/caramel. If you’re looking for more cake recipes, be sure to check out their website. Just the photos alone make me want to give up my diet! This particular cake is rich, with the right balance of tart and sweet, but is definitely meant for sharing, otherwise it will add a little to your waistline. But isn’t sharing what the holiday spirit is all about?

Sour Cream Apple Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting and Caramel Drizzle
Print Recipe
Servings
8 people
Servings
8 people
Sour Cream Apple Cake with Goat Cheese Frosting and Caramel Drizzle
Print Recipe
Servings
8 people
Servings
8 people
Ingredients
Sour Cream Apple Cake
Goat Cheese Frosting
Whiskey Caramel Drizzle
Servings: people
Instructions
Sour Cream Apple Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prep cake pans with butter and flour. For this cake, I used three 6" pans.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients, excluding the sugars. Be sure not to over pack the flour, as this will result in a drier cake.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together sugars and oil. Incorporate the eggs, and vanilla. Mix to dissolve the sugar, as well as any lumps of brown sugar.
  4. Add sour cream to wet ingredients, and mix until fully combined.
  5. In small batches, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, until fully combined. Batter will be thicker than normal cake batter.
  6. Fold diced apples into the batter.
  7. Distribute between cake pans, and spread batter out in the pan, if necessary.
  8. Bake for approximately 20-24 minutes, or until center is set. Use the toothpick test, by inserting it into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, your cake is done!
  9. Put cakes on cooling racks, and let sit for just a minute before removing them from the pan. Once you see the sides start to pull away slightly, remove the cake from the pan, and let cool on the rack. Do not let them sit in the pan too long, as the residual heat will keep cooking the cake.
Goat Cheese Frosting
  1. Beat together goat cheese and butter until fully combined, and smooth.
  2. Beat in vanilla and sour cream.
  3. In small batches, about a half cup at a time, incorporate the sugar by beating on low. Add more or less according to personal taste.
  4. Let frosting cool slightly, about 10 minutes, in the fridge before frosting the cake. It will be too soft at room temperature to frost properly.
Whiskey Caramel Drizzle
  1. Add sugar and whiskey to a medium sauce pot, and place over medium heat. Sugar will dissolve on it's own to create a syrup.
  2. Let cook, untouched. Do not stir, as this can cause crystals along the sides of the pot. Tilt pot from side to side to mix.
  3. Once the sugar reaches a medium to medium-dark amber color, remove from heat, and slowly add in the cream. The sugar will bubble up and steam, which is why you want the bigger pot.
  4. Once cream is incorporated, add in butter, in chunks, and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour caramel into a heatproof container, to stop the cooking process, and let cool and thicken.
Assembly
  1. Once cakes are cool, use a bread/serrated knife to trim off tops, to flatten if necessary.
  2. Put the first cake layer on the cake plate, cut side up, and top with about a half cup of frosting. Spread almost to edges. The weight of the cake will help it spread to the edges.
  3. Tip: Add a small dollop of frosting to the center of your cake plate before putting on the first layer, to help keep it from sliding later.
  4. Repeat with next layer, cut side up, if using three cake layers.
  5. Top with the last cake, cut side down. Spread frosting along the sides of the cake, working into any gaps, just enough for a rustic finish, allowing the cake itself to peek through.
  6. Spread remaining frosting evenly on the top of the cake.
  7. Once the caramel has thickened to a consistency a little thicker than honey, spoon along the top edge, so that it drips down the side of the cake. Spoon additional caramel over the top, center, of the cake, in a thin, even layer.
  8. Tip: Do not drown your cake in the caramel. You will have some left over, which can be refrigerated, and used as ice cream topping, or in coffee.
  9. Cut, serve, and enjoy! Any leftover cake should be stored in the refrigerator.


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