For the Autumn Salon, I had the spices and scents of Fall on the brain. There's something so divine about cinnamon and nutmeg. Mid-September isn't usually chilly so it needed to be something fall-ish without being pumpkin everything (partially because I'm not super invested in pumpkin flavors, which I realize is an unpopular statement). Below are two recipes I picked because they embody that sweet, spicy feel of fall. One is an old family favorite, one is a new favorite.
I often think of doing something super sophisticated but I knew for this salon I wanted to make my mom's applesauce cake. It's been a beloved recipe of mine for a very, very long time. The applesauce makes for a super moist cake and cream cheese frosting has to be one of the best thing invented ever.
Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1/2 cups walnuts (optional), toasted, cooled, and chopped
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in middle. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square cake pan.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts (if using).
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown, and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.
For the frosting: Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.
Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.
And, a new favorite is the donut muffins.
I've made 'em before and knew they were fast and easy. The buttery spiced coating is beyond awesome if a bit indulgent (and totally canceling out the "baked" donut aspect of the recipe). You'll need a mini-muffin tin but, hey, that is something worthowning.