Chad Robertson
Bohemian Apple Layer Cake, adapted from Tartine: Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson.
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Bohemian Apple Layer Cake

Chad Robertson, Tartine: Book No. 3 - December 2nd, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Tartine: Book No. 3 by Chad Robertson―a book featured in Words-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

For 1 10” cake

Apple cake:

  • 2/3 cup (150g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 3/4 cups (391g) whole-grain kamut flour
  • 2 Tbsps. plus 2 tsps. (24 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp. (4.5g) fine sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp. (3.5g) baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. (2g) ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. (1.5g) ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp. (1.5g) ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp. (1.5g) ground allspice
  • 3 lg. eggs (150g), at room temperature
  • 2 cups (488g) applesauce
  • 3 cups (340 g) firm tart apples, such as Gravenstein or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into large chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups (224g) pitted prunes, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (149 g) golden raisins
  • 1 cup (114 g) walnuts, finely chopped
  1. Heat oven to 350°F.

  2. Butter 10” round cake pan; dust with flour.

  3. Sift 2 3/4 cups (391g) flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice into medium bowl; reserve.

  4. Beat 2/3 cup (150g) butter and sugar in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium speed until combined (about 2 minutes); with motor running, add eggs one at a time, scraping down sides of bowl after each addition; reduce speed to medium-low; add dry ingredients in 3 additions; fold in apples, prunes, raisins, walnuts, and apples with rubber spatula; pour into prepared pan; smooth surface; bake until cake springs bake when lightly pressed and cake tester inserted into center comes out clean (about 1 hour); remove from oven; place on wire rack; cool 1 hour; run thin knife around inside edge of pan; turn out cake onto rack; cool; envelop wrap in plastic wrap; reserve.

Prune compote:

  • 3 1/3 cups (378 g) pitted prunes
  • 1 cup (228 g) Pinot Noir or other light-bodied red wine
  • 1/3 cup (76 g) brandy
  • 3 Tbsps. (37 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla beans, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • 3 cups (675 g) apple butter
  1. Bring prunes, wine, brandy, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, cinnamon stick, and orange peel to a boil in a saucepan; reduce heat; simmer until prunes are soft and liquid is reduced by half (about 30 minutes); remove from heat; cool.

  2. Place prune mixture in a processor; process into thick paste; reserve.

  3. Using long serrated knife, cut cake into 4 layers; place a layer on cake stand or a plate; spread 1/3 of prune compote over cake with offset spatula; spread 1 cup (225g) apple butter over; top with another layer of cake; repeat layers twice more, dividing remaining prune compote and applesauce; top with remaining layer of cake; envelope in plastic wrap; reserve in refrigerator 1 hour.

Cider frosting:

  • 2 cups (456 g) apple cider
  • 1/2 cup (114 g) rye whiskey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (228 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup (114 g) white chocolate, chopped, melted, and cooled
  • 1 cup (114 g) walnuts, toasted and chopped
  1. Heat cider, whiskey, cinnamon stick, and clove in small saucepan set over medium-high heat; when liquid is hot, whisk in sugar until dissolved; reduce heat to medium; simmer until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup (60g); remove cinnamon stick and clove; cool.

  2. Beat butter on medium-high speed in the bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment until soft and creamy; add white chocolate; beat until combined; add cider syrup; beat until combined; place in airtight container; cover; reserve.

  3. To serve, spread tops and sides of cake with very thin layer of frosting with an offset spatula; reserve in refrigerator 30 minutes; remove from refrigerator; spread remaining frosting over cake; press walnuts onto sides of cake.

Chad Robertson, Tartine Book No. 3, Chronicle Books (2013).