This wonderfully moist and generously spiced six-layer cake is a showy spin on humble applesauce cake.
1 cup butter
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cup sugar
1 cup mild-flavor molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk (see note)
1 24 ounce jar homestyle chunky applesauce
1 1/2 cups cups apple butter
2 teaspoons apple pie spice or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
1 - 2 cups whipped cream
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, black walnuts, pecans or hickory nuts, toasted
Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly grease bottoms of three 8x1-1/2-inch round baking pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper. Grease and lightly flour bottoms and sides of pans; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar; beat until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add molasses and vanilla; beat until well combined (mixture will appear curdled). Alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined. Pour 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the batter into each prepared pan. Refrigerate the remaining batter.
Bake in a 375 degrees oven about 15 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in pans on wire racks. Remove from pans and completely cool on wire racks. Wash pans; line bottoms with waxed paper, grease and lightly flour. Repeat with the remaining batter.
In a medium bowl, combine applesauce, apple butter, and if you like, apple pie spice. To assemble, select the cake layer that's most attractive; set aside for the top layer. Place one of the remaining cake layers on a serving plate; top with about 3/4 cup of the applesauce mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Repeat with remaining cake layers and applesauce mixture. Place reserved cake layer on top. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 6 or up to 24 hours before serving to make slicing easier and to allow applesauce mixture to moisten the cake.
Let cake stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Just before serving, spread about 1 cup whipped cream on top; sprinkle with nuts. If you like, pass additional whipped cream.
Sour Milk To make 1 cup sour milk, place 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar in a glass measuring cup. Add enough milk to make 1 cup liquid; stir. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes before using.
Per Serving: cal. (kcal) 376, Fat, total (g) 12, chol. (mg) 54, sat. fat (g) 6, carb. (g) 64, fiber (g) 2, pro. (g) 4, vit. A (IU) 340.13, vit. C (mg) 1.18, sodium (mg) 255, calcium (mg) 80.77, iron (mg) 2.16, Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet