Apple Butter Cake with Dulce de Leche Buttercream loaded with walnuts and raisins, it is such a stunning, decadent and luxurious dessert to make this fall.
Fall desserts are one of my favorite things about the season, starting with a perfect Cinnamon Coffee Cake, up to a Pumpkin Cheesecake and obviously some sweet Apple Cider. These delicious fall desserts will warm up your soul and tame your sweet tooth, no matter how cold it may be outside.
Apple Butter Cake Recipe Tips
This Apple Butter Cake is one of the most amazing desserts you can make to celebrate the season. Because the texture of this cake is outstanding, and its one of the best flavor combos out there! The cake is covered in a blanket of creamy Dulce de Leche Buttercream and some shredded coconut for chewiness. Topping the cake with a fresh apple, cinnamon sticks, coconut and caramel drizzle are all easy options that will make your delicious dessert look absolutely stunning.
The cake is full of delicious fall flavors! The apple butter adds a beautiful apple flavor without the hassle of peeling and cooking the apples! It adds such a nice softness and richness to each crumb, and it compliments nicely with the chewy raisins and crunchy walnuts. As a result of these mixes, this cake turned out to be flavorful, moist, and just perfect.
What is the difference between apple butter and applesauce?
- The sauce – is a semi-solid food made from apples, a liquid (apple juice, cider, or water), spices, and sometimes sugar. Applesauce is cooked down until the apples soften so they can be mashed or pureed. Applesauce is cooked usually between one hour to a couple of hours.
- The butter – regardless of the name, it does not contain any butter, but it gets its name because of its dense, spread like consistency. Apple Butter is made from apples, a liquid (apple juice and/or cider), sugar, and spices. The combination is cooked slowly over low heat from a couple of hours to sometimes a few days, in order to achieve the desired thickness.
Can you replace apple butter with applesauce?
Yes, you can replace it in this recipe, 1:1 ratio, however, keep in mind that your cake will be just slightly lighter, as the applesauce consistency is more watery.
TIP: If you only have applesauce on hand, you can make a super quick version of “apple butter”. Add the applesauce to a small sauce pan over medium heat and add some sugar and a spoon of apple cider vinegar. Stir and cook until it starts to thicken.
Apple Butter Cake Recipe Guidelines:
- You can replace the apple butter with apple sauce, see the notes above.
- Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking. Also, the oven should be pre-heated.
- Use high quality apple butter, because it has a richer taste. You can use sugar free apple batter.
- The raisins can be skipped, or replaced with dried cranberries.
- The walnuts can be skipped or replaced with pecans.
- Make sure the cake is fully cooled before frosting it.
- 1 cup of chopped apples can be added to the batter as well.
What is the difference between dulce de leche and caramel sauce?
- Caramel is made with a with a mix of water, heavy whipping cream, sugar, and butter. It also has a more watery, pourable consistency.
- Dulce de leche is made with milk, sugar, and sometimes cinnamon or condensed milk that has been simmered for hours. It has a thicker consistency and a darker color.
Looking for more Cake Recipes? Check these out:
How to freeze cake layers:
You can make the cake layers in advance and freeze them, thaw them when you are ready to decorate the cake. To freeze the unfrosted cake layers, follow these steps:
- Bake the cake layer and cool each layer on a wire rack. Make sure the cake layers are fully cooled before freezing.
- Wrap each cake layer in plastic wrap, preferably freezer wrap. After that wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a freezer ziplock bag (if it fits).
- Write the date and cake type on the ziplock bag.
- Lay the cake layers flat in the freezer.
- Cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Can you freeze an already frosted cake?
Yes, you can. Buttercream cakes freeze especially well, but note, that once you start thawing the cake, sometimes you will get condensation on the cake, that happens when you are trying to speed up the thawing process.
- Make sure the cake is refrigerated, so the buttercream won’t spread when you try to wrap the cake in plastic wrap.
- Wrap the cake (if it fits in your freezer) or individual cake slices in plastic wrap, preferably freezer wrap. After that wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a freezer ziplock bag (if it fits).
- Write the date and cake type on the ziplock bag.
- Place cake in the freezer. Cakes can be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to thaw a frozen cake?
- Remove cake layers or cake them from the freezer the night before you want to use the cake layers or eat the cake.
- Refrigerate without unwrapping for 24 hours. This way the cake will thaw slowly and without any condensation forming on the surface.
- After 24 hours, take them out of the fridge and let the cake layers or cake come to room temperature while still wrapped.
Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes Total time: 50 mins
- 2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1 cup light-brown (packed)
- 3/4 cup white cane sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs (room temperature)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup apple butter
- 1 cup walnuts (chopped)
- 1/2 cup raisins
Dulce de Leche Frosting:
- 3 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 5 cups powdered sugar
- 8.8 ounces can Dulce de Leche
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- Caramel Sauce
- Fresh Apple
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Coat three 8 x 2 inch cake pans with non-stick spray, line bottoms with parchment paper and spray paper with non-stick spray. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk attachment, beat butter with sugars on medium-high speed until well blended, fluffy and creamy, about 3 minutes.
- On low speed, add the eggs one at a time and blend well after each addition, stopping from time to time to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
- On low speed, beat in the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with apple butter in 3 additions, into the butter mix , whisk until just blended. Stop to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
- With a spatula, manually stir in walnuts and raisins until well incorporated into the batter.
- Divide batter between prepared pans, gently leveling the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into the centers of the cakes comes out clean.
- Remove pans from oven, let them cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of cakes and invert cakes onto the rack. Remove and discard parchment paper.
- Cool cakes completely before frosting.
Dulce de Leche Frosting:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire whisk, mix together sugar and butter on low speed until well blended.
- Add vanilla extract and Dulce de Leche, mix until well combined, stopping a few times to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes, light and creamy.
- If the frosting is too thin, add more powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.
- If the frosting it too thick, add a little milk, a few tablespoon at a time.
Assembling the cake:
- Place a cake layer onto a cake platter and spread with 3/4 cup frosting. Top with other cake layer and repeat. Add the third, top cake layer and spread with frosting. Use the remaining frosting to spread on the sides of the cake.
- If desired cover cake in shredded coconut or toasted coconut for extra flavor.
- Refrigerate cake.
- Just before serving, drizzle some caramel sauce on the edges of the top cake layer, and decorate with a few cinnamon sticks and top with a fresh apple.
- Serve and enjoy!