Apple Spice Cake

4 medium Honeycrisp apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 1-1/2 pounds)

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted

FROSTING:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1-1/2 cups chopped walnuts, toasted
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottoms of two greased 9-in. round baking pans with parchment; grease paper.

Place apples in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped. In a large bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until well blended. In another bowl, whisk flour, pie spice, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk. Stir in apples and walnuts.

Transfer to prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes before removing to wire racks; remove paper. Cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, butter, sugars, vanilla and pie spice until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Gently press walnuts into frosting on top of cake. Refrigerate leftovers.

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