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Help with frosting flavor for an apple filled cake

Cinnamonster Dec 1, 2012 08:46 AM

My birthday's coming up soon, and I was thinking about making a cake with baked apple slices between the layers. I was going to make the cake itself cinnamon flavored, since I love the combination of apples and cinnamon.

After scouring the web, caramel seems like it mesh well with the apple and cinnamon, but I'm hesitant to try making that, since it includes cream and I fear I may mess that up (The past few times I tried making a whipped cream frosting, it came out far too runny, so I'm thinking about sticking with a classic buttercream type frosting). Also I'm kinda opposed to using artificial flavoring, but that would probably be the simplest way.
I was also thinking about a maple frosting, but I'm unsure on how well that might taste with the apple and cinnamon together in a cake.

Anyone have any suggestions on what I should do?
Make the caramel frosting early, so if it doesn't turn out well, I can make another frosting?
Just make a maple frosting?
Make another flavor of frosting?
Give up on the cinnamon and/or apples? (Maybe use pears? with almond extract? or peaches?)

  1. v
    Vidute Dec 3, 2012 10:11 PM

    How about an apple cider frosting?

    Apple Cider Frosting:
    7 1/2-8 cups confectioners’ sugar (to desired consistency
    )3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
    1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
    3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
    pinch of salt

    put sugar, butter, cider, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Vidute
      Cinnamonster Dec 4, 2012 11:01 AM

      I had originally considered apple cider frosting, but then it left my mind for some reason. Thanks for the reminder.

    2. s
      sandylc Dec 3, 2012 09:34 PM

      Old-fashioned penuche frosting? Easy to make. Cream cheese frosting sweetened with maple syrup?

      1 Reply
      1. re: sandylc
        Cinnamonster Dec 4, 2012 11:00 AM

        I haven't heard of penuche frosting before, I'll have to look it up.

      2. applgrl Dec 3, 2012 07:18 PM

        A maple glaze would be heavenly. But I'd also consider a light cream cheese/lemon frosting, provided you use real lemon juice. Apples & lemons are friendly if you use a sweet apple.

        I love this cake-type recipe with Golden Delicious--no frosting a-tall. (BTW I swap the shortening for unsalted butter.)


        1. chowser Dec 2, 2012 10:16 AM

          Along the idea of the salted caramel frosting that janniecooks posted, you could cook up apples like this, instead of baking:


          Use the apples in between the layers of the cake. Use the syrup/caramel remaining, add salt and butter and beat and then add powdered sugar until you get the consistency you want. I'd probably add some rum to it, too.

          1. h
            hetook Dec 2, 2012 09:51 AM

            I definitely would go for a walnut flavored buttercream.

            1. HillJ Dec 2, 2012 09:36 AM

              I'd dollop with cinnamon whipped cream on each slice and no frosting or icing at all.

              1 Reply
              1. re: HillJ
                Jay F Dec 2, 2012 10:25 AM

                I like this idea.

              2. j
                Jeanne Dec 2, 2012 04:21 AM

                A cream cheese with chopped pecans frosting would be good.

                1. j
                  janniecooks Dec 1, 2012 01:21 PM

                  The Salted Caramel Frosting on Chow recipes is a simple buttercream, foolproof as long as you pay attention while cooking the sugar. It's a great frosting, though I've only ever used it on vanilla bean cupcakes.


                  3 Replies
                  1. re: janniecooks
                    Cinnamonster Dec 1, 2012 01:57 PM

                    I saw the Chow recipe as well, but was a bit concerned about cooking the sugar. I've made simple syrup before, but never caramel and I'm kinda concerned I might overcook and burn it.

                    1. re: Cinnamonster
                      janniecooks Dec 2, 2012 01:52 AM

                      A couple of tips might help. Use a light colored pan, like stainless, so you can monitor the color of the syrup. Keep an eye on the syrup and your watch as the cooking time nears an end. If in doubt remove the pan from the heat. I have tried to make caramel before and utterly failed, but making the syrup for this recipe for some reason works for me. I did burn the sugar the last time I made these - wasn't paying close enough attention, but no worries -- I just threw out the burnt sugar and started again. The frosting is excellent and seems like it might be a great match for your apple cake.

                      1. re: janniecooks
                        Cinnamonster Dec 2, 2012 05:04 PM

                        I usually use darker pans, so thanks for the suggestion.

                  2. s
                    soccermom13 Dec 1, 2012 01:08 PM

                    Hi Cinnamonster,

                    I think the suggestions you've gotten are terrific. I'd like a piece of your cake with our without one of the suggested toppings!

                    If you have your heart set on a caramel frosting that is lighter in texture, the caramel flour frosting in this recipe is terrific. (Can't say I love the cake, though.) This recipe--for both cake and frosting--is from Baked Explorations.


                    4 Replies
                    1. re: soccermom13
                      Cinnamonster Dec 1, 2012 01:52 PM

                      Thanks for the link. You wouldn't happen to have an idea on how easy it is to make do you?
                      And I already had a basic cake recipe that I usually go with, so I should be fine there (although thanks for the warning on the cake as well).

                      1. re: Cinnamonster
                        soccermom13 Dec 1, 2012 02:20 PM

                        Hi CM,

                        One ingredient in the frosting is caramel sauce, but you could buy a good caramel sauce rather than making caramel. If you are near Trader Joes, their Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce is wonderful.

                        I think this frosting is pretty easy to make.

                        1. re: Cinnamonster
                          chefematician Dec 2, 2012 11:16 AM

                          I've made both the cake and the frosting that soccermom13 posted. The frosting is a little harder than a basic buttercream since it's a cooked flour frosting, but I didn't have any trouble with it. (I'm an intermediate baker, btw, not an expert by any means.) I loved the apple cake component in that recipe as well. The entire cake from start to finish is pretty time consuming though, just so you know. I usually spread out the work over the course of a few days.

                          1. re: chefematician
                            Cinnamonster Dec 2, 2012 05:03 PM

                            Thanks for the heads up on the time issue. I do have a coouple of days available, so I might be fine spreading the work.

                      2. trolley Dec 1, 2012 09:28 AM

                        you coud make a cream cheese frosting. not runny at all and it'll go so well with cinnamon and apples.
                        i understand your hesitancy on the whipped cream frosting. after taking extensive baking classes and mastering things like candy and puff pastry i still can't manage to make a successful stabilized whipped cream.

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: trolley
                          magiesmom Dec 1, 2012 09:52 AM

                          have you tried making it 1/3 mascarpone, trolley? It has always worked for me.

                          I would make a very thin lemon glaze to add a little tartness to an already very sweet cake.

                          1. re: magiesmom
                            trolley Dec 1, 2012 01:19 PM

                            funny you mention mascarpone bc that was the last frosting i made. whipped cream and 1/3 mascarpone. mine came out runny. not much different than very whipped cream. maybe i needed more cheese? perhaps.

                            1. re: trolley
                              magiesmom Dec 1, 2012 01:51 PM

                              that's hard to imagine as mascarpone is so thick. I always do 1/3 to 1/2 with a little confectioners sugar, not much, as I don't like sweet whipped cream.
                              Runny? Hmmm...

                              1. re: magiesmom
                                trolley Dec 1, 2012 02:26 PM

                                i know, not quite runny but not as solid as i expected. definitely stiff peaks but not in the way a commercial bakery can yield. my wedding cake was frosted with stabilized whipped cream as i was told they didn't use fondant and if the wedding was outdoors in the summer they don't recommend their cakes. definitely, solid whipped cream. i think they must use a commercial stabilizer.

                          2. re: trolley
                            greygarious Dec 3, 2012 09:32 PM

                            Even better to pair with apples and cinnamon, sweeten the cream cheese frosting with some brown sugar, or jarred caramel dip.

                            1. re: greygarious
                              trolley Dec 3, 2012 11:09 PM

                              yes! the jar of salted caramel from trader joes would be nice to blend with cream cheese.

                          3. rmarisco Dec 1, 2012 09:10 AM

                            so much is going on in the cake - wonderful spicy flavors and apple - i personally would go with a glaze instead of a thick frosting layer. either a plain glaze with more spices or perhaps the caramel butter glaze from fannie farmer's baking book. it's basically browned butter (yum) with powdered sugar and vanilla added, then drizzled on the cake. seems like that would compliment nicely!

                            1. sunshine842 Dec 1, 2012 09:02 AM

                              I would be sorely tempted to just not ice a cake like that at all -- plenty of moisture and sweet there to begin with.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: sunshine842
                                Jay F Dec 1, 2012 01:02 PM

                                This was my first reaction, too, to not frost the cake at all, but I'm a cake person in general rather than a frosting person.

                                1. re: Jay F
                                  sunshine842 Dec 1, 2012 01:34 PM

                                  I could see chopped nuts, maybe....

                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    Jay F Dec 1, 2012 01:43 PM

                                    That you could maybe glaze a little with a confectioners/melted butter/some kind of flavoring glaze.

                                  2. re: Jay F
                                    Cinnamonster Dec 1, 2012 01:43 PM

                                    The cake's not going to be overly moist, the apples just remain between layers. Also, I tend not to go crazy on the sugar, so the cake itself will not be overly sweet. If I were making this as a regular cake / coffeecake, I would go with a light glaze, powdered sugar, or leave it plain, but it would feel odd for me to make a birthday cake without frosting.

                                    1. re: Cinnamonster
                                      Jay F Dec 1, 2012 02:16 PM

                                      Were you talking somewhere about making a whipped cream frosting? What if -- and I've never tried it myself this way -- you left in the refrigerator for an hour or so, some cream and light brown sugar in the bowl you'll use to whip the cream in, and then after that hour of softening, you whip the cream/brown sugar mixture.

                                      Again, I have never tried this myself w/brown sugar, but it works with cocoa, regular sugar, and confectioners.

                                      1. re: Jay F
                                        Cinnamonster Dec 1, 2012 02:32 PM

                                        I mentioned wanting to stay away from whipped cream frosting because of I am horrid at making it (always turns out too runny).
                                        I usually have the individual ingredients in the fridge for an hour, but never tried combining the sugar and cream prior to mixing. Is there a significant difference in the end result?

                                        1. re: Cinnamonster
                                          Jay F Dec 1, 2012 02:48 PM

                                          I'm not sure what the difference would be, as I've never done anything but confectioners the other way.

                                          1. re: Cinnamonster
                                            magiesmom Dec 1, 2012 02:57 PM

                                            yes, overnight is best.

                                  3. t
                                    TerriL Dec 1, 2012 09:02 AM

                                    I like this recipe for browned butter icing, which tastes great and is really simple to make. I usually use it on a pumpkin cake, but it would work well with apple:


                                    The web page links back to the pumpkin cake recipe -- if you look at that you can see that it's an icing that you spread on top of each layer, rather than the sides of the cake.

                                    Good luck, happy birthday.

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