The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets

Apple Pie Layer Cake

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For a friend’s birthday, I decided to make a special cake and I was a little over zealous on this one. My friend is obsessed with minions and I thought it was a great idea to try to make a minion cake. It was either that or Olaf, and the minion seemed more attainable. I haven’t worked with fondant in a while so there were a lot of messy areas on the cake that I attempted with hide with other aspects of the minion. The cake recipe is from Milk Bar and it was delicious. There are many parts to this cake, but what is great about their recipes is that you can break it up over a span of a few days so it is not all done at once.

Their cakes are usually baked in a form of a sheet cake and then cut down into circles. I do not have an oven big enough so I made two 9-inch rounds. Well, I take that back, I thought I could get three rounds out of the batter and I was sadly mistaken so I had to make another cake layer. In the end, it worked to my benefit because the two smaller rounds were used to shape the minion.

I also bought one container of yellow fondant and one of white. Obviously I needed a lot of yellow and I wasn’t going to sit there making yellow fondant, but the rest of it was easy to dye and lucky it didn’t completely stain my hands when I tried to make black fondant…

pieBARELY BROWN  BUTTER CAKE

  • 4 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS brown butter
  •  1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven 350F. Combine the butters and sugars in a standard mixer with a paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs and mix on medium-high for another 2-3 minutes and scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.

While on low speed, add in the buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Increase speed to medium-high for 5-6 minutes or when it turns light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add cake flour, baking powder and salt. Mix for about a minute until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for another 45 seconds. In two prepared 9-inch cake pans, have the bottom lined with parchment paper and spread the batter evenly. Bake for about 30 minutes. The cake should be bouncy around the edge and the center should no longer be jiggly. Cool on a wire rack.

APPLE SOAK

  • 1/4 cup apple cider
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • pinch of cinnamon

Whisk together ingredients in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside.

APPLE PIE FILLING

  • cake1 lemon
  • 2 medium granny smith apples
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Fill a medium bowl halfway with cold water and the lemon juice. Peel the apples, halve and quarter them. Put each quarter on its side, remove the core and cut each apple lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise, cut apples into fourths. You should have 12 small pieces and place them in the lemon water.

Drain the apples, and in a medium pot, add the apples, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. With a spoon, gently stir as it heats up. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 3-5 minutes, but be careful not to cook the apples too much so they turn into applesauce. Transfer the mixture to a container and cool down in the fridge.

LIQUID CHEESECAKE

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1 TBS arrowroot (they use cornstarch)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 1 egg

Preheat oven to 300F. In a standard mixer, mix the cream cheese on low for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides, add the sugar, and mix on low for another 1-2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

In a pyrex (they say medium bowl but for small quantities, I use a pyrex), whisk together the milk and salt. Whisk in the milk and then the egg until the slurry is homogenous. On medium-low speed, add the slurry to the cream cheese mixture and mix for 3-4 minutes.

cake1*NOTE: At this point, they say to line a 6×6 lab with plastic wrap. I felt weird about plastic and the oven so I did some research. I learned that not all plastic wraps are created equal and what the Milk Bar uses is an industrial type plastic wrap which is not the same as store bought. Also at the time I did not have parchment paper which I would have preferred so I used foil. It came out fine and worked well with the cake.

Bake for 15 minutes. Gently shake the pan. The cheesecake should be firmer on the edges and jiggly in the center. If is not set on the sides, bake for another 5-10 minutes, but start checking after the first 5 to see if there is a change. If it begins to brown, take it out immediately. Allow the cheesecake to cool and set completely before using.

PIE CRUMB

  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 8 TBS butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 TBS water

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a standard mixer, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the butter and water on low speed until the mixture becomes crumbly.

Spread mixture on a Silpat lined sheet pan. Bake for 25 minutes. (I usually go in halfway through and spoon the crumbs around a bit for an even bake). The crumbs should be golden brown. Cool completely before using (or eating! YUM).

cake2PIE CRUMB FROSTING

  • 1/2 recipe pie crumb (above)
  • 1/2 milk
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 TBS butter
  • 1/4-2 cups confectionary sugar*

Combine the pie crumbs, milk and salt in a blender and puree until smooth. In a standard mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Move the speed to low, and add the blended mixture to the butter and then pick speed back up to medium-high for another 2 minutes. The frosting should be a light color.

*I needed more sugar then the 1/4 they suggested. You learn to play around with confectionary sugar when making frosting. Sometimes you need more.

CAKE ASSEMBLY

On a cardboard cake circle, invert the first cake layer and remove the parchment paper. Dunk a pastry brush in the apple cider soak and give the cake a good healthy “bath.” Use the back of a spoon and spread half of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer. Sprinkle a third of the pie crumbs evenly over the cheesecake and use the back of your hand to pack them in place. Then spread one-half of the apple pie filling. Try to spread it as evenly as possible.

Carefully remove the parchment paper from the second cake layer and invert it on the cake. Repeat the process from above. This is where our paths differ from the Milk Bar. I used the first two thin cake layers on top of the second layer. I used some frosting to keep it together, but I did freeze the cake for about 12 hours, as instructed to set it. The day of my friend’s birthday, I pulled out the cake, and shaved the top two layers into a dome shape. I spread a thin layer of frosting over the whole thing. I rolled out yellow fondant and to the best of my abilities I covered the cake. I took a few attempts and I must say I am still a novice at putting fondant on a cake, but with the white fondant, I died some of it blue, black and red to make the minion come to life and it turned out nicely.

The only downfall to this cake, is that it weighed A TON! Carrying around the streets of Philly for dinner was not ideal, but she loved the cake and it tasted awesome because Milk Bar knows what it’s doing.

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