3-D Spiced Apple Cake

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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 12

Use our 3-D apple cake pan to turn out an eye-catching dessert shaped like a Red Delicious apple. Simply use buttercream frosting – or the frosting of your choice – to stick the two halves of the cake together. Serve it simply, with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, or, for the dramatic presentation shown here, cover the bottom half of the cake with frosting or a thick caramel sauce and press on chopped toasted nuts.


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (10 oz./315 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (7 oz./220 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 apples, peeled and coarsely grated

For the buttercream:

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp. milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Preheat an oven to 350ºF (180°C). Grease and flour both wells of a 3-D apple cake pan; tap out any excess flour.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the grated apple until just combined; do not overmix.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, dividing it evenly between the wells. Tap the pan gently on a work surface to release any air bubbles. Bake until browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright in the pan for 10 minutes. Tap the pan gently on a work surface to loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Let the cake cool completely, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the buttercream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, vanilla and salt and beat until light and fluffy, about 1 minute more, stopping the mixer to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl as needed.

To assemble the apple cake, return both halves of the cooled cake to the pan. Level the cake by using a serrated knife to gently saw off any portion of the cake that rose above the edge of the pan.

Remove the top half of the apple cake from the pan. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream frosting over the cut side of the cake half that is still in the pan. Place the top cake half, cut side down, on top, lining up the edges. Gently press down to secure the two halves. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate the cake until the buttercream is firm, about 1 hour.

Carefully unmold the cake and place it upright on a platter. Dust confectioner’s sugar on top to decorate and serve. Serves 10 to 12.

Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen

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