Shrek: Ogres are like onions.
Donkey: They stink?
Shrek: Yes. No.
Donkey: Oh, they make you cry.
Donkey: Oh, you leave em out in the sun, they get all brown, start sproutin' little white hairs.
Shrek: NO. Layers. Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.
Ah how I sympathize with Shrek… So many layers. You know what else has layers? This Chocolate Applesauce cake. Andrew of Spittoon Extra is hosting this month’s edition of Waiter, There’s Something in My… and he’s chosen layer cake as the theme. I like layer cakes, the more the better. My problem is with slicing them; I always slice on an angle and end up with wonky layers, they’re my specialty.
If you’re looking to make a moist chocolate layer cake, you’d do well with this one. All of the applesauce in the cake helps to keep it from drying out and creates an excellent crumb. While spreading the frosting between the layers I was worried I’d run out, so instead of filling the middle layer with frosting, I thinned out some apple butter and used it instead. I thought it added a lot to the cake and would definitely make it this way again.
Chocolate Applesauce Cake (from Food & Drink magazine, Autumn 2007)
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup + ¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs, separated
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup regular cocoa powder, (not Dutch process)
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp fine salt
1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce, (I made my own, it’s apple season, why not?)
½ cup unsalted butter
2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
½ cup regular cocoa powder, sifted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups icing sugar, sifted, (I used much less than this)
2/3 cup sour cream, (not low fat)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans.
With electric beaters, blend oil, 1 cup sugar, vanilla and egg yolks on medium speed. In a separate bowl and with clean beaters, whip egg whites until foamy. Slowly add remaining ¾ cup sugar and continue whipping until whites hold a soft peak and set aside. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and add to vegetable oil mixture alternately with applesauce on low speed, starting and finishing with dry ingredients. Fold in whipped whites and divide evenly between prepared pans, spreading to level. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Let cakes cool completely in pans.
To make the frosting, melt butter and chocolate in microwave on medium, stirring every 10 seconds until smooth. Whisk in cocoa powder and vanilla. With electric beaters, incorporate 1 cup icing sugar, then add sour cream. Beat in remaining 1 cup icing sugar and increase speed, beating until frosting is a spreadable consistency.
To assemble, place 1 cake layer on a plate and slice in half horizontally. Spread a thin layer of frosting overtop of cake and then top with second half. Spread a thin layer of frosting overtop. Repeat with second cake layer, and spread remaining frosting overtop, then sides of cake. Chill until ready to serve.