Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Spice cakes just scream holidays to me. I'm not sure why I even have that connection in my mind but something about the spicy warmth of cinnamon baked into a deep golden cake speckled with nuts puts me in the mood for the holiday season. Now... you may be reading this and thinking, "Holiday season?! Not yet Stephanie!" But I beg to differ. Halloween starts the holiday season for me because I get in the mood for Thanksgiving! As I was planning my Thanksgiving menu I wanted to try out this cake as a potential dessert and it's perfect. This will definitely be gracing our Thanksgiving menu this year.
I took the cake to work and received a lot of positive feedback. One woman microwaved it and said it was to die for warm. I can see that- like a cinnamon bun almost. It was the perfect level of spicy and sweet. Yum!
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter a baking dish.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just combined, then stir in walnuts.
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden-brown and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Reinvert cake onto a rack to cool completely.
Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy. Sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over cream cheese mixture, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.