This cake takes 24 hours to make.
Wait! Come back!
It’s not as terrible as it seems. Hear me out.
Most of those 24 hours are spent patiently waiting for the cake to work some cake magic while you watch football or knit a sweater or try to stretch out on the couch with your laptop for 5 seconds before this is all you can see up in your face
The most difficult part is the waiting. But it’s so worth it.
First, you’ll make seven little cakes. If you have a normal size oven and not a Brooklyn apartment oven, you can probably do this about 20 minutes faster than I did.
There will be a moment when you think you’ve screwed it all up because the little cake babies that you’ve made are kind of hard. You’ll get upset. You’ll question your mad baking skillz. Then you’ll scroll on down and read the part where I say that’s okay and that we want the cakes to be strangely hard. Then you’ll perk up and go back to humming that stupid song that just will not go away no matter where you turn. “I feel like I am just too close to love you…”
You’ll pour some water and dried apples in a pot and you’ll cook them up. Then you’ll spread the apples between each layer of cake. You’ll cover the sweet mountain of dessert and go about your business until the following day, when you’ll uncover your masterpiece, pour some molasses-filled frosting over top of the entire thing and then take a bow to the thunder of applause coming from your grateful, loyal admirers.
Unless they’re too busy trying on your flip flops, in which case you’ll have to settle for patting your own self on the back.
Go ahead. You deserve it.
Dried Apple Stack Cake with Molasses Cream Cheese Frosting
Cake recipe adapted from Project Foodie
Serves approximately 16
Since we’re dealing with a true monster of deliciousness here, I’ve separated the ingredients into three categories.
- 1/2 cup plain almond milk
- 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more to prepare the cake pans
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup vegan butter substitute, softened, plus more to prepare the cake pans (I used Earth Balance)
- 2 1/2 cups vegan brown sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce OR maple cinnamon applesauce for an extra bit of flavor
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Apple filling ingredients:
- 1 pound dried apples (I used Trader Joe’s New Zealand Sweet Apple Rings)
- 5 cups water
- 2 cups vegan brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese substitute, softened (I used Tofutti)
- 1/2 cup vegan butter substitute, softened (I used Earth Balance)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 3 cups vegan confectioners’ sugar
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare 7 nine-inch round cake pans by coating them with a thin layer of vegan butter and a sprinkle of flour. You can also substitute disposable pie tins for cake pans.
Pour the almond milk and vinegar into a small cup or bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, mix together the vegan butter and brown sugar on low-medium speed.
Add in the applesauce and vanilla extract, and continue to mix.
Stir in the “buttermilk” (vinegar and almond milk).
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing on low-medium speed until fully combined. The batter will be thick, so switch to stirring it all together with a spoon if your mixer is having a hard time.
Divide the batter evenly among all 7 cake pans, using just under a cup of batter for each pan.
Use your hands to spread out the batter so that it’s evenly distributed.
Bake the cakes for 6-8 minutes each, or until a golden crust begins to form. Remove the cakes from the oven the second they start to look done. When in doubt, take them out and test with a toothpick. If the toothpick can be inserted and removed cleanly, it’s done. The cakes will be a little stiff. This is okay and, although it might seem odd, this is what we’re going for.
Allow each cake to cool for at least five minutes before removing it from the pan. Use a spoon to loosen the edges from the pan and then turn the pan over to remove the cake. If the cake breaks, don’t worry. You’re going to cover it all up anyway, so just piece it back together during the layering stage.
While the cakes are cooling, make the apple filling.
Apple filling directions:
Place the dried applies in a food processor and chop them into bits. You can also use a knife for this step, coarsely chopping the apples into bite-size pieces.
Pour the water into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
As soon as the water begins to boil, add the apples and reduce the heat to medium.
Cook uncovered for 20-30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the water has been absorbed.
Add in the brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and sea salt.
Continue to cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Place one cake layer on a cake board, pan, cake stand, etc and spread 3/4 cup of the hot apple filling over the cake.
Place another cake layer on top, and continue until all of the cakes have been used.
Spread the remaining apple filling on top of the cake.
Cover and wrap the cake with plastic wrap, or use a cover if you have one, and let the cake sit for 24 hours.
When you’re ready to serve the cake, make the frosting by mixing together the vegan cream cheese, vegan butter, vanilla extract, molasses and confectioners’ sugar until fully combined.
Pour the frosting over top of the cake, allowing it to drip down the sides.
As you dig in, you’ll notice that all of those stiff cake layers have transformed overnight and are now soft.
So worth it.