For The Apple Cake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- Preheat the oven to 325-degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust the parchment with flour and knock out the excess flour.
- Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice together into a large bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg and beat until combined.
- Add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Scrape down the bowl, then mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
- Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely.
For The Caramel Sauce:
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1/2 stick of butter, softened, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 3/4 cups heavy cream
- In a medium saucepan with high sides, combine the sugar and corn syrup with 1/4 cup water. Stir the mixture gently so you don’t slosh any of it up the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-high and continue stirring until the sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, stop stirring, and allow the mixture to boil. Once it begins to turn a rich caramel color ( or it reaches 300 degrees F on a candy thermometer), remove it from the heat, add the butter and cream, and stir until combined.
- The caramel sauce can be tightly covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Let it come to room temperature before using.
For The Caramel Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- up to 4 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/3 cup Caramel Sauce
- Beat butter for a few minutes with a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Add 4 cups of powdered sugar and mix until the sugar has been incorporated with the butter.
- Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla, salt, and 2 tablespoons of milk and beat for 3 minutes. Add the caramel sauce and mix to combine. If the frosting is too soft, put the bowl in the refrigerator to chill slightly, then beat again until it is the proper consistency. If the frosting is too firm, add milk, 1 tbsp at a time.
To Assemble the Cake:
Place one of the cakes, bottom-side up. Put a thin layer of caramel sauce on top and spread the caramel buttercream on top. Next, add the last layer of cake, bottom-side up. Frost as you did with the first layer and ice the sides. Use the remaining caramel to drizzle over the top. Press chopped peanuts gently into the sides.
*Adapted from The Great Cake Company