Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Dec 1, 2012 08:46 AM

Help with frosting flavor for an apple filled cake

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. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 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.

    1. 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

        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

          I could see chopped nuts, maybe....

          1. re: sunshine842

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

          2. re: Jay F

            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

              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

                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

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

          3. 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. 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

                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

                  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

                    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

                      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

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

                  1. re: greygarious

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

                3. 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

                    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

                      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

                        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

                          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.