Fall is probably my favorite time of the year for baking because it just calls out for all those spiced recipes that make your house smell like you’re inside a pie. Okay, in this case, a cake. Someone asked me recently if I had a recipe for apple stack cake. Apple stack cake is an Appalachian standby. In the old days, it was a popular wedding cake. Around here, a popular variation of the apple stack cake is the molasses stack cake, combining the best of both autumn worlds–apples and molasses.
This recipe is a trial-and-error amalgamation of a few different old-time recipes I have, and there’s no need to wait for a wedding in the family to try it. It’s a perfect fall dessert and sure to impress everyone because, well, it’s easy but it’s not simple. This cake takes a little effort. (But be not afraid!)
Molasses Stack Cake:
4 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
6 ounces butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup milk
3 cups applesauce
1/2 cup molasses
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
enough molasses and milk to make icing
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add the eggs, molasses, and milk to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix again. Add the creamed mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir well by hand to combine. This is not your mama’s cake batter.
It’s a fairly thick batter, a cross between a cake batter and a cookie dough.
Wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat the oven to 350-degrees.
Divide the dough in six equal parts. Unless you have six round cake pans, you’ll have to bake the layers a few at a time. (You can use an 8- or 9-inch cake pan. It’s no big deal.) Line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment paper. Roll out each section of the cake batter in the cake pans. What works best for me is using my fingers to press out the batter in the pans then finish with a small measuring glass to even it out to the edges.
Bake at 350-degrees for about 10 minutes–keep an eye on them. They’ll bake a little faster or slower depending on what size cake pan you’re using. Set each layer aside to cool as you bake the remaining sections.
Once all the layers are baked and cooled, you’re ready to assemble your stack cake! Combine the three cups of applesauce with the 1/2 cup of molasses. Spread 1/2 cup applesauce-molasses mixture over the top of each layer as you stack the layers on top of each other.
When you’re finished, spread a thin layer of applesauce-molasses all over the top and sides of the cake. Wrap the cake and refrigerate for 24-48 hours. The waiting time allows the applesauce-molasses mixture to infuse the layers, making them moist and tender.
Before serving, prepare the molasses icing. Add enough molasses and milk to the sifted powdered sugar to make a pourable icing. Drizzle over the top of the cake and down the sides.
This is positively decadent, and very molasses-y.
They knew how to eat in the old days.
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