08 October 2013

Double Brown Butter Applesauce Cake

Here's brown butter devotional #2 -- Brown Butter Applesauce Cake with Brown Butter Frosting.  Yep, that's right.  I used brown butter twice.  That's just how I roll.  This cake is a super-duper brown butter, fall flavor explosion.  It's also super moist, keeps for days, and since there's applesauce in it you can totally claim that it's good for you.  I also have no shame in the fact that I used my kid's applesauce snack cups for this cake.  Chances are good if you are a parent too, that you have some in your cabinets somewhere.  Mine was under some granola bars and microwave popcorn.....

This cake was semi-inspired by the cake that first exposed me to brown butter.  It was a pumpkin cake with brown butter frosting and glazed walnuts I made for Thanksgiving about 15 years ago.  I think it was from Martha Stewart Living.  The cake was just okay.  The glazed walnuts never made it onto the cake because I put the hot walnuts on wax paper, so they couldn't be extricated without a paper backing.  The frosting was another matter entirely, though.  It was a revelation for me and I think the thing that made me really, really love baking as a grown up.  I also know that cake was the first one I ever made for my grandmother instead of the other way around.  That brown butter frosting was our passing of the torch for me and a big, sentimental reason for my love of brown butter.

Double Brown Butter Applesauce Cake
makes one 8x8" cake

Print me, Please!!!
1/2 cup butter, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple pie spice (or Cake Spice" from Penzey's spices)
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp rum extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp milk

Heat oven to 350°.  Grease an 8" square baking pan with nonstick spray; set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat and continue cooking until the butter is golden brown and nutty-smelling.  Remove from heat.  Combine 1/3 cup of the butter, sugar, applesauce, and vanilla.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and apple pie spice.  Add the butter mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and springy to the touch.  Place on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the frosting:  combine the remaining butter, powdered sugar, rum extract, almond extract, and milk and stir until smooth.  Pour the glaze over the warm cake.  Let cool 30 minutes before serving.

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