YIELD: Makes 8 servings
For Honey Apple Gingerbread Cake:
3/4 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
2 sticks (16 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup Theo Organics Lychee honey
1/4 cup molasses
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground clove, (optional)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 apples, peeled, diced and tossed with 1 T of flour
For Honey Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 stick (4 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey
zest of 1 lemon
4 cups powdered sugar
pinch of sea salt
For Honey Caramel:
1/4 cup sugar
1 T honey
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 T butter
pinch of sea salt
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour four 6" x 2" cake pans (or do 2 at a time if you don't have 4 pans.) Tip: I used baking spray with flour in it and added a strip of parchment paper to each pan for easy lifting.
Using a hand or stand mixer, cream together the eggs and brown sugar. Mix in the butter, honey, molasses and buttermilk.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (if using), baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet batter until combined and then stir in the apples.
Divide the batter into 4 equal parts and fill each prepared cake pan.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly and then lift each layer out by the parchment or invert onto a plate. Allow to cool thoroughly before frosting.
While the cakes are baking, make the frosting by beating together the cream cheese, butter, honey, lemon zest, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.
To make the caramel, add the sugar and honey to a heavy bottom pot and, on low heat, allow to melt. Be careful not to let it burn. Pour in the heavy cream and whisk until smooth. Stir in the butter and salt.
Assemble the cake by spreading about 1/4 cup of frosting between each layer. Some will drip out when you put the next cake layer on top. When all the layers are assembled, use an offset spatula to spread the dripped frosting around the sides of the cake.
Dip a few small Lady Apples in the caramel as decoration if you like. Or just serve the honey caramel on the side so people can drizzle some over their cake slice.