Sugar and spice crumble:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the sugar and butter on high speed for two minutes, until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla and beat on high speed for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add the flour, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt and beat on low speed until combined and the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for an additional 30 seconds.
- Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for five minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. Return to the oven and bake for an additional two to four minutes. Let cool to room temperature before using.
- Store the crumble in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
- Baker's Tip: If you like your spices strong, feel free to add one more teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, substitute 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, and a pinch of ground cloves.
White chocolate ganache:
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the whipping cream until it begins to steam and small bubbles form on the surface.
- Place the chocolate in a medium heat-resistant bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Add the food colouring (if using) and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is creamy and smooth.
- Use immediately or transfer to a squeeze bottle or an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to one week. Before using, heat the ganache in the microwave in 15-second intervals until a runny consistency is achieved.
Cinnamon spice cake:
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 6- × 3-inch round cake pans with shortening.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat (or in a heat-resistant bowl in the microwave), heat the milk and butter until the butter is completely melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the eggs on high speed for two minutes, or until they are light and fluffy and have doubled in size. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the sugar. Increase the speed to high and whip for an additional two minutes.
- Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt into a small bowl and stir together. With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding small amounts of the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the egg mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula and mix for an additional two to three minutes on medium-high speed, until the mixture looks light and fluffy.
- Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the edges of the cake begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. If the cake jiggles in the middle when the pan is tapped gently, continue baking before testing it with a knife. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes in the pans. Run a knife or an offset spatula around the inside edge of the pans to release the edges of the cakes. Flip onto a wire rack and let cool completely.
- Prepare one batch Salted Caramel. Let cool to room temperature.
Salted caramel buttercream:
- Prepare two batches Vanilla Buttercream.
- Add one cup Salted Caramel to the buttercream. Whip on high speed for an additional two to three minutes, until fully incorporated.
Sugar and spice crumble:
- Prepare one batch Sugar and Spice Crumble. Let cool to room temperature.
- Prepare one batch Apple Filling. Let cool to room temperature.
White chocolate ganache:
- Prepare one batch White Chocolate Ganache.
- Add the food colouring and stir until well combined.
- Transfer the remaining Salted Caramel to a squeeze bottle. Use the Salted Caramel Buttercream to stack and crumb coat the cake (see instructions on pages 126 to 129). To each layer, add 1/4 cup Apple Filling, 1/4 cup Sugar and Spice Crumble, and a drizzle of Salted Caramel, spread evenly across the buttercream.
- Frost the cake using the Salted Caramel Buttercream (see instructions on page 153, steps A to D).
- Line a small plate with parchment paper. Transfer the White Chocolate Ganache to a glass measuring cup with a spout. Heat the ganache in the microwave until a pourable consistency is achieved, about 30 seconds. If using the garnish, insert the dowel into the top of the apple, then dip it into the ganache until it’s three-quarters covered. Let some of the excess ganache drip off before placing the apple on the prepared plate. Let cool for 15 minutes.
- Pour the remaining ganache onto the cake, starting in the middle, until it covers almost the entire top of the cake. Tilt the cake to one side until the ganache spills over the edge, then tilt it in a clockwise direction so that the ganache spills over all edges of the cake, creating a drip effect (steps E and F on page 153).
- Place the cake on a turntable and set the ganache-dipped apple in the middle, with the wooden dowel pointing straight up (steps G and H on page 153). Place the cake in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes. 18. Store in a tall cake box in the fridge for up to four days. Once the cake has been cut, cover the cut edges with a layer of waxed paper or plastic wrap placed up against the cake. Remove from the fridge one hour before serving.
- Baker's Tip: Customize the colour of the ganache using oil-based gel food colouring to suit your guest of honour or highlight a festive occasion, or just leave it white for a more refined look.
Excerpted from Jenna Rae Cakes and Sweet Treats: Over 100 Recipes for the Modern Baker by Ashley Kosowan and Jenna Hutchinson. Copyright © 2020 by Ashley Nicole Kosowan and Jenna Rae Hutchinson. Published by Penguin Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.