Harvest Honey Buzz Layer Cake
By: Lauren K. - Ashburn, VA - 2017 Recipe Contest Submission
"The filling is a fruity compote that gets a rich, unexpected flavor from the added coffee. And the sweet but tangy cream cheese icing with a hint of the same wonderful coffee is used throughout the cake. I have garnished with some decorative chocolate bees."
This is a Door County Coffee Fan recipe. It was not made in the kitchens of the Door County Coffee Café.
- 1 1/4 cup strongly brewed Door County Cranberry Orange Muffin Coffee
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped
- 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1 cup honey
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 Pink Lady or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup strongly brewed Door County Cranberry Orange Muffin Coffee
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 12 ounces (1-1/2 blocks) cream cheese, slightly cooler than room temperature
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons strongly brewed Door County Cranberry Orange Muffin Coffee (cooled)
- 1/2 cup chocolate melts or almond bark
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Prepare (3) three, 8-inch cake pans with nonstick baking spray. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper rounds. Set aside.
- In a measuring cup, combine the coffee and the chopped cranberries. Let sit while preparing other ingredients.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, Mix on lowest speed until combined.
- Add orange juice, oil, honey, eggs, vanilla, and coffee/Cranberry mixture. Mix on low speed until combined and smooth.
- Fold in chopped walnuts.
- Divide the batter evenly amongst the 3 prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick in the center.
- Let cool for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack. Trim any domed tops when completely cooled.
- Heat a large skillet (with high sides) on medium with the butter. Add the diced apples and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the cranberries, honey, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 5 additional minutes.
- In a small measuring cup, whisk together the cooled coffee and the cornstarch. Add to the apple mixture.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes more, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and apples are tender. Let cool completely.
- In a stand mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter until smooth.
- Add in the powdered sugar, vanilla, and coffee. Mix on low, gradually increasing speed until mixture is thick and fluffy. Transfer to a piping bag.
- Melt chocolate according to package instructions, and place into a piping bag. Snip a tiny bit off of the corner with scissors.
- Draw bees onto wax paper, and transfer to the refrigerator until hardened.
- Place the bottom layer of cake, trimmed side up. Pipe a border all of the way around the upper edge. Fill with 1/3 of the cooled filling mixture and spread it out to cover the cake in a thin layer.
- Place the second layer on top. Pipe another border and fill again, repeating the procedure from the bottom layer.
- Place the final layer on top. Pipe a pretty border, fill again in center. Pipe additional flowers around the edges and in the center.
- Place the chocolate bees on top. Chill until almost ready to serve.