This apple Bundt cake is loaded with spice, pecans, has a huge cream cheese swirl in the middle, and is topped with a praline frosting.
This, my friends, is one heck of a cake.
Once I knew my grandparents were coming over for lunch and I had decided on chicken pot pie, I started to give some thought to dessert. I wanted to make something seasonal, something that would be delicious, but nothing that was terribly complicated or time-consuming. I started thinking about some of the different recipes I had seen for apple Bundt cakes and finally settled on this one. Truly, what is not to love? This apple cake is incredibly moist and packed with apple flavor thanks to applesauce in the batter, as well as the chopped apples folded in… we’ve got pecans in there… a cream cheese filling (have I mentioned I never turn down anything with cream cheese?)… and finally, a praline frosting. It’s everything that a fall cake should be… and then some.
This apple Bundt cake was met with rave reviews, and my Chief Culinary Consultant declared it one of the top three things I’ve made all year. I baked a lot of stuff, so that’s a pretty serious nod of approval. We ate the cake with a small scoop of apple pie ice cream, which was a fantastic complement to the cake. It would also be great with plain vanilla ice cream, or nothing at all. This apple cake is so fantastic that it can absolutely stand on its own. No wingman needed. We all agreed that this would make a fantastic dessert on Thanksgiving – a great change of pace from the typical pumpkin and pecan pies. You could even switch up the frosting and instead of praline, do a maple glaze. However you dress it up, you must make this. Your taste buds deserve it!
P.S. I was rushing to put this cake together before we met friends for dinner and totally forgot to swirl the cream cheese. You should definitely swirl. Swirls rock.
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.
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.
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.
Gently fold in the pecans and chopped apples until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
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.
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).
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.
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.