We celebrated my twin sisters' turning 18 with this spectacular cake. When you are cooking for two (or a family of 8, for that matter) it's hard to please every individual palate. One sister loves peanut butter, another won't go near it. And so it goes. This cake was a compromise, a safe middle ground that I figured no family member could complain about. And luckily, they all loved it! It is perfectly spiced, moist, and delicious.
White whole wheat flour could be substituted for the pastry, but I don't suggest using regular whole wheat. It would be too heavy. You'd be better off replacing it with more all-purpose. This is one of those rare recipes where I wouldn't change a thing. Except, oops, I did! I increased the frosting! This makes a very tall cake and you can't skimp on what is arguable the best part of the dessert. Make sure your cake is completely cooled before frosting it. Otherwise you'll end up with a runny crumbly mess, like I did. After a few hours in the fridge I was able to patch it up, but save yourself the stress and be patient. That's the biggest lesson I've learned from baking... a tasty and presentable finished product is worth the wait!
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
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
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans and set aside.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.