Apple Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

from Eggs on Sunday

Adapted from The Cake Book

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
2 tart apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan (I’ve used both, and have concluded that I like the 8-inch square pan better. The picture above was taken with the cake made in a 9-inch square pan…it works, but I prefer a slightly thicker cake.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt.) Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute, then gradually add the brown sugar and continue beating on medium-high speed until well blended and light, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla, then the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after adding each egg, and scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk (or yogurt) in two additions. Mix just until blended. Turn off the mixer, add the diced apple and chopped walnuts, and stir them in by hand.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is light golden brown and a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely on a rack, then turn out onto a serving platter before you frost it.

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Also adapted from The Cake Book

Ingredients
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (I like to use Dark Amber/Grade B)
1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Directions

In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla, maple syrup, spices and salt. Reduce the speed to low and add the confectioner’s sugar. Beat until well blended. Increase the speed to high, and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes.