Apple Spice Cake with Cranberry-Mandarin Compote
Whipped Cream & Garnish
To prepare compote: Zest oranges (or clementines), then peel and cut in half crosswise. Combine the fruit and zest, cranberries, 1/4 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, orange juice, fresh ginger, 1/8 teaspoon salt and a pinch each of cinnamon and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until ready to use.Advertisement
To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment paper and coat the paper.
Whisk all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, brown sugar, applesauce, apple butter, sour cream, oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla in another medium bowl until smooth. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 40 minutes. Turn out onto the rack to cool completely, about 20 minutes more.
To prepare whipped cream: Combine heavy cream, sour cream, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl. Using the whisk attachment or a hand mixer, beat on medium-low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium-high and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble: Place one cake layer on a platter. Top with a heaping 1/2 cup whipped cream, spreading evenly to the edges. Dollop half of the reserved compote on top and spread into an even layer. Top with the second cake layer. Spread the remaining whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake and top with the remaining compote. Press pecans, if using, onto the sides.
Tip: Think of apple butter as a highly concentrated form of applesauce. It's made by cooking the fruit in cider or water long and slow--to the point where the sugars caramelize, giving the spread its rich flavor, deep color and thick texture.
To make ahead: Refrigerate compote (Step 1) for up to 1 week. Refrigerate whipped cream (Step 5) for up to 1 day.
Equipment: Parchment paper