too. much. wine.
But before I do, here's the recipe for the cake, taken from Martha's Baking Handbook. I'm sure I'm violating tons of copyright laws by publishing this, so copy it quickly - or better yet, buy her book. You won't regret it.
1 3/4 cups plus 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 lbs (about 4) McIntosh apples, peeled cored and cut into chunks
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 1/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup honey
4 large eggs
Cream Cheese Frosting
In a medium sauce pan, spread 1/3 cup sugar in an even layer, cook over medium high hear, without stirring, until sugar begins to turn golden and melt around the edges (3-4 min). Using a wooden spoon, slowly stir until meted and mixture is a translucent golden amber. Add apple chunks and lemon juice, and stir to coat apple pieces with caramel. Cover and cook over low heat until apples fall apart, 6-8 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, until mixture reaches the consistency of applesauce and generously coats the back of the spoon, about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using butter wrappers, grease 3 6-2” round cake pans (or 2 9-2” pans); line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and nutmeg; set aside. In a small bowl, combine milk and vanilla; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter, remaining 1 3/4 cups of sugar, and honey on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, until smooth.
With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with flour, beat until just combined after each, being careful not to overmix. Add cooled applesauce; mix to combine, about 1 minute.
Divide the batter among prepaired pans. Bake, rotating pans halfway through (don’t think you can get away w/o rotating the pans, until the cakes pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, 35-40 minutes (40-45 min if using 9” pans). Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Run a knife or offset spatula around the edges. Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off parchment paper. Reinvert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.
Frost with Goat Cheese Icing . You can use all cream cheese if you want, but the goat cheese was delish.
Goat Cheese Frosting
12 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Put cheeses into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Reduce speed to medium-low, and mix in sugar and vanilla. Raise speed to medium-high, and mix until fluffy, 5 to 7 minutes.