This Three Layer Apple Cake with Bourbon Butterscotch Buttercream frosting is the simplest and most flavorful 3-layer apple cake recipe!
Say hello to your new favorite cake. I am a self-proclaimed chocoholic and would always choose the chocolate dessert in the room over anything else. That is until this Apple Layer Cake With Bourbon Butterscotch Buttercream came along.
I know it’s a bold statement, but this might be my favorite cake ever. It’s SOOOO moist. I know people hate that word, but there’s just no other way to describe it. That’s mostly thanks to the addition of applesauce and shredded apple.
I decided to shred the apple instead of chopping it into cubes to keep the texture even and smooth. The buttercream is perfectly smooth and just sweet enough, allowing the cake to really shine.
It has autumnal spices of cinnamon, allspice, and clove to really get you in the mood for fall. It’s the perfect cake for the holidays and will be a hit no matter who you serve it to. P.S. It’s even better the next day with a big cup of coffee.
I chose to load up the middle layers with the buttercream so that the outside could have a more rustic “naked” look, but you could do the opposite to have the outside fully covered. Either way will work just fine!
Bake this apple cake for your fall parties and if you do, take a photo and tag it with #mymoderncookery on Instagram so I can see it!
- Apple Layer Cake With Bourbon Butterscotch Buttercream
- Author: My Modern Cookery
- Prep time: 30 mins
- Cook time: 50 mins
- Total time: 1 hour 20 mins
- Serves: 10-12 slices
For the Cake
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, cut into small cubes, at room temperature
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 1 cup, packed shredded apple
Bourbon Butterscotch Buttercream
- 9 ounces Butterscotch Sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup egg whites
- 4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp bourbon
- Bourbon Butterscotch Buttercream
- Whisk Butterscotch Sauce, sugars, and egg whites together in a steel bowl. Over medium heat, simmer a couple of inches of water in a similarly sized pot. Make sure that your bowl fits well over the top and doesn't touch the water. Continuously whisk the mixture until the sugars have dissolved and everything is well combined.
- Transfer to the fridge and chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until it is cooled.
- Meanwhile, beat the butter in a mixer for 2 minutes on high until it is lighter in color and fluffy. Add in the cooled syrup in two additions, beating 1 minute after each addition. Add the vanilla and bourbon beat 30 seconds until smooth.
- For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with a round of parchment paper, grease the parchment, then flour the pans, tapping out any excess.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, and cloves.
- Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until combined.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl in three parts, alternating with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
- Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in shredded apple until well combined. (Don't overmix)
- Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and allow to cool completely.
trim the top off to create flat surfaces. Place one cake layer on a serving platter.
- Spread 1/3 of the frosting on top. Add the next layer and top with another 1/3 of the frosting. Add the third layer on top and spread a very thin layer of frosting over the sides and top of the cake. I wanted mine to look more "naked" but you can adjust as you like. Decorate the top of the cake with mini apples or a drizzle of additional butterscotch sauce, if desired.
The cake can be kept in an airtight cake stand at room temperature for up to 3 days.