Apple-Pecan Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Filling & Praline Frosting

Apple-Pecan Spice Cake with Cheesecake Filling

Yield: 10 to 12 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

For the Cream Cheese Filling:
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¼ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
¾ cup canola or vegetable oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped (about 3 cups)
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped

For the Praline Frosting:
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. (reduce temperature to 325 degrees F if your pan is dark/non-stick). Grease and flour a standard Bundt pan (12-cup capacity); set aside.

2. Make the Cream Cheese Filling: Beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.

3. Make the Apple-Pecan Cake: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda and salt. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and gently mix to combine using a whisk or rubber spatula.

4. Gently fold in the pecans and chopped apples until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

5. Spoon about 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan. Use a thin paring knife to gently swirl the cream cheese filling with the cake batter just a few times – less is more. Spoon the remainder of the cake batter on top of the cream cheese filling and gently spread to the edges of the pan, covering the filling.

6. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours).

7. Make the Praline Frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Boil for 1 minute, continuing to whisk constantly, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Gradually whisk in the powdered sugar until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth.

8. Slowly pour the frosting over the cooled cake and garnish with extra pecans. Give the frosting 5 minutes to set, then serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container or wrapped tightly with plastic wrap at room temperature or in the refrigerator.

(Recipe adapted from Southern Living; originally seen on Tracey's Culinary Adventures)