Apple Layer Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

A little bit fussy, Cakes

I just found this recipe in my recipe box. I made it for my grandmother about 15 years ago and she claimed it “a keeper”. It was an excellent use of the saddest apples you’ve ever seen – from one of the apple trees on my parent’s farm that I stuck in the fridge and forgot about for a little too long. The frosting is a classic American buttercream, but with the addition of a butterscotch you whip up ahead of time, which deepens the flavor. Pay no attention to the brittle on the top – that was just leftover in my freezer and needed a home.

  • For the cake:
  • 1 pound peeled and diced apples
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 TBSP brandy
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 large eggs

Combine apples and water in a saucepan, simmer until tender – about 20 minutes. Process until smooth. Measure 1 1/4 cup apple puree. Reserve any extra for another use. Cool.

Butter and flour three 8″ cake pans.

Sift together flour, soda, and spices.

Beat sugar, butter, brandy, and vanilla together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then the apple puree, then remaining flour mixture.

Divide among pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


  • Brown Sugar Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 TBSP water
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup butter

Combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat to dissolve sugar. Increase heat, boil until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cream. Cool.

Beat butter and powdered sugar together until well-blended. Beat in cooled brown sugar mixture, adding more powdered sugar or more cream to reach desired consistency.

Fill and frost cake. Dust with cinnamon sugar.

3 thoughts on “Apple Layer Cake with Brown Sugar Frosting

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