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12 Days of Christmas Treats: Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing

By on December 13, 2013 in Game-Day Meal, Holiday Treats

Editor’s Note: Welcome to the first entry in the 2013 edition of The 12 Days of Christmas Sweets! Every day from now until Christmas, we’ll bring you a new, scrumptious recipe for a holiday cookie, cake, or other dessert treat. Whether you leave them out for Santa or simply sample them all yourself is up to you, we just encourage you to try them all! Leave your comments below each recipe and upload a photo if you make your own batch at home. Season’s Eatings!

by Amy Johnson, Managing Editor,

20131129_132428PHILADELPHIA, PA — This time of year cookies take center stage on most home baking menus, and rightly so! Christmas cookies are one of those holiday treats that people young and old look forward to every year.  But there is also a complete bevy of December desserts that deserve some attention!  So in our third annual spotlight on a dozen of our favourite sweet treats you’ll certainly find some delicious cookies, as well as cakes and candies, too.

Our first recipe kicks off the baking season with a tasty cake filled with apples, nuts, and spices that’s reminiscent of holiday mulled cider.  Topped off with a rich cream cheese icing, it’s sure to be a welcomed part of your Christmas table!

Apple Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
Recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell, Food Network

Prep/Cook Time: 2 hours
Yield: 6 servings

Cake Ingredients:
1/2 stick butter, plus extra for loaf pan
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored, cut into 1/2-inch dice and tossed with a little lemon juice
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup apple cider
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for loaf pan
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 or 4 grates fresh nutmeg (about 1/2 teaspoon)
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts
1/2 cup golden raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat, stir in apples to coat them in melted butter.


2. Add lemon juice and apple cider, cook until apples are soft and liquid has reduced by half.


3. Transfer apple mixture to a food processor and pulse into a coarse paste.  Set aside.  Then in a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, both sugars, and a pinch of salt.


4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the apple puree, egg, and vanilla.


5. Mix the ingredients just until combined, then add walnuts and raisins (I chose to use regular raisins for my cake).


6. Pour batter into a buttered and floured loaf pan.  Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.


8. After allowing cake to cool for 10 minutes, remove it from the pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.  In the meantime, make the cream cheese icing (below).


Icing Ingredients:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 stick butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 lemon, juiced

9. Beat together the icing ingredients with a mixer until light and fluffy.


10. Cut the cake in half lengthwise and spread half of the icing mixture on the bottom layer.  Replace the top half and spread the remaining icing on top of the cake, leaving the sides bare.  Enjoy!


Be sure to check back tomorrow for our next holiday recipe: White Chocolate Cranberry Macadamia Cookies!

Photo credits: Amy Johnson

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