The delicious reward is well worth the time it takes to create this Dried Apple Stack Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting. While the actual preparation time is only slightly longer than that of your average layer cake, there is a hefty amount of patience required to keep hungry mouths at bay for 24 hours while the cake sits alone, soaking in the sweet apple filling. The molasses in the frosting, combined with classic seasonal spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, make this cake the perfect dessert to share on crisp fall days.
Dried Apple Stack Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to prepare the cake pans
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup vegan butter substitute, softened, plus more to prepare the cake pans (I used Earth Balance)
- 2 1/2 cups vegan brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce OR maple cinnamon applesauce for an extra bit of flavor
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Apple filling ingredients:
- 1 pound dried apples (I used Trader Joe’s New Zealand Sweet Apple Rings)
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups vegan brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese substitute, softened (I used Tofutti)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter substitute, softened (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 3 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare 7 nine-inch round cake pans by coating them with a thin layer of vegan butter and a sprinkle of flour. You can also substitute disposable pie tins for cake pans.
- Pour the almond milk and vinegar into a small cup or bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the vegan butter and brown sugar on low-medium speed.
- Add in the applesauce and vanilla extract, and continue to mix.
- Stir in the “buttermilk” (vinegar and almond milk).
- Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low-medium speed until fully combined. The batter will be thick, so switch to stirring it all together with a spoon if your mixer is having a hard time.
- Divide the batter evenly among all 7 cake pans, using roughly 3/4 cup of batter for each pan.
- Use your hands to spread out the batter so that it’s evenly distributed.
- Bake the cakes for 6-8 minutes each, or until a golden crust begins to form. Remove the cakes from the oven the second they start to look done. When in doubt, take them out and test with a toothpick. If the toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly, it’s done. The cakes will be a little stiff. This is okay and, although it might seem odd, this is what we’re going for.
- Allow each cake to cool completely. Use a spoon to loosen the edges from the pan and then turn the pan over to remove the cake. If the cake breaks, don’t worry. You’re going to cover it all up anyway, so just piece it back together during the layering stage.
- While the cakes are cooling, make the apple filling.
Apple filling directions:
- Place the dried applies in a food processor and chop them into bits. You can also use a knife for this step, coarsely chopping the apples into bite-size pieces.
- Pour the water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- As soon as the water begins to boil, add the apples and reduce the heat to medium.
- Cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the water has been absorbed.
- Add in the brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and sea salt.
- Continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
To assemble the cake:
- Place one cake layer on a cake board, pan, cake stand, etc and spread 3/4 of the hot apple filling over the cake.
- Place another cake layer on top, and continue until all of the cakes have been used.
- Spread the remaining apple filling on top of the cake.
- Cover and wrap the cake with plastic wrap, or use a cover if you have one, and let the cake sit for 24 hours.
When you’re ready to serve the cake, make the frosting by mixing together the vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, vanilla extract, molasses and confectioners’ sugar until fully combined.
Pour the frosting over top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Serve immediately.