Hey friends. It’s been a little while and I’m sorry about that! My continued sadness and confusion at all that has happened and continues to happen since the election combined with the impending five year anniversary of my dad’s death, a full-tilt schedule of kid activities, and a very heavy work load have left me quite out of sorts. I didn’t mean to leave you stranded before the biggest food holiday with no recipes and I have many more to share with you than I can possibly publish before Thursday. But it will be okay. Deep breath. Let’s start with cake. Apple pie layer cake to be exact.
(Also, don’t forget that the Thanksgiving category of my archives is full of my favorite tried and true recipes for the occasion.)
This has been the year of the Milk Bar cake for me. The individual components are always spot on (cake, soak, filling, crumb, frosting) and combined, they provide the perfect textural and flavor contrasts that take each dessert from good to wow. My wonderful brother’s birthday was at the end of October and he chose the apple pie layer cake from the long list of choices with possibly a bit of influence from me. I thought I was being fairly subtle but finally he asked, “Annie, is there one of these cakes you are hoping I’ll pick?” What can I say? Subtly was never my strong suit.
This is a perfect cake for any fall celebration, be it a birthday, Thanksgiving for non-conformists, or a random Sunday with a best friend and a bottle of sparkling rosé. It starts with a barely brown butter cake, then an apple cider soak, liquid cheesecake (AKA nectar of the gods), pie crumb, apple pie filling, and pie crumb frosting. Whoa mama! Yeah, this is one amazing cake.
Though I vastly prefer the traditional 6-inch size of Milk Bar cakes, this time around I made both a 6-inch and an 8-inch cake simultaneously – one for the birthday celebration and one to photograph for you all. This was a good learning experience because I discovered that you can make a 1.5 version of a Milk Bar cake recipe and it will yield just the right quantities for an 8-inch cake. Though this cake does have many components, I was able to make two of them in a single day, starting early in the morning before work and finishing late at night. If I can do that, you can certainly tackle this fun baking project! As with most Milk Bar cakes, the majority of the components can be made in advance and the cake assembled later. Additionally the assembled cake can be frozen until ready to serve, so if you have a lot of time on your hands today, make this and then have it ready to go for Thanksgiving!