Monday, February 20, 2012

Milk Bar Mondays – Apple Pie Layer Cake

Stop drooling.

Actually, scratch that.  This cake is so drool-worthy.  Nicole chose Milk Bar’s Apple Pie Layer Cake for her Milk Bar Monday post.  This is probably a recipe that I wouldn’t have chosen myself but I am thrilled that she did.  I love apple pie.  I think there is nothing wrong with the traditional version so what would be the reasoning for one to turn it into a cake?

This recipe is beyond reason to turn the traditional apple pie into a layer cake.  The different textures and textures meld together to form a cake that is out of this world.

My husband doesn’t like cake and he ate this cake like it was going out of style.  Barely Brown Butter Cake.  You love it already, don’t you?

Oh yeah, remember the liquid cheesecake from the carrot cake truffles?  It happens here too.

Along with apple pie filling.  And pie crumbs that taste like buttery, slightly salty pie crust.  And pie crumb filling.  Yeah, it’s a lot of steps but when you take the first bite in to this amazing cake, all of the effort is 100% worth it.

PrintPrint Recipe

Milk Bar's Apple Pie Layer Cake

Yield: 1 6-inch cake; serves 6

Total Time: 14 hours (includes baking, assembling and chilling time)

Momofuku Milk Bar's recipe for Apple Pie Layer Cake.


apple pie layer cake
1 recipe barely brown butter cake (recipe below)
1 recipe apple cider soak (recipe below)
1 recipe liquid cheesecake (recipe below)
½ recipe pie crumb (recipe below)
1 recipe apple pie filling (recipe below)
1 recipe pie crumb frosting (recipe below)

special equipment
1 (6-inch) cake ring
2 strips acetate, each 3 inches wide and 20 inches long

barely brown butter cake
55 g butter 4 tablespoons (½ stick)
40 g brown butter (below) 2 tablespoons
250 g granulated sugar 1 ¼ cups
60 g light brown sugar ¼ cup tightly packed
3 eggs
110 g buttermilk ½ cup
65 g grapeseed oil 1/3 cup
2 g vanilla extract ½ teaspoon
185 g cake flour 1 ½ cups
4 g baking powder 1 teaspoon
4 g kosher salt 1 teaspoon
cooking spray (optional)

apple cider soak
55 g apple cider ¼ cup
5 g light brown sugar 1 teaspoon tightly packed
.25 g ground cinnamon pinch

liquid cheesecake
225 g cream cheese 8 ounces
150 g sugar ¾ cup
6 g cornstarch ½ teaspoon
2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
25 g milk 2 tablespoons
1 egg

pie crumb
240 g flour 1 ½ cups
18 g sugar 2 tablespoons
3 g kosher salt ¾ teaspoon
115 g butter, melted 8 tablespoons (1 stick)
20 g water 1 ½ tablespoons

apple pie filling
1 lemon
300 g granny smith apples 2 medium
14 g butter 1 tablespoon
150 g light brown sugar 2/3 cup tightly packed
1 g ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon
1 g kosher salt ¼ teaspoon

pie crumb frosting
½ recipe pie crumb (below)
110 g milk ½ cup
2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
40 g butter, at room temperature 3 tablespoons
40 g confectioners’ sugar ¼ cup


apple pie layer cake
1. put a piece of parchment or a silpat on the counter. invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment or silpat from the bottom of the cake. use the cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. these are your top 2 cake layers. the remaining cake “scrap” will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake.
layer 1, the bottom
2. clean the cake ring and place it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a silpat. use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring.
3. put the cake scraps together inside the ring and use the back of your hand to tamp the scraps together into a flat even layer.
4. dunk a pastry brush in the apple cider soak and give the layer of cake a good, healthy bath of half of the oil.
5. use the back of a spoon to spread half of the liquid cheesecake in an even layer over the cake.
6. sprinkle one-third of the pie crumbs evenly over the liquid cheesecake. use the back of your hand to anchor them in place.
7. use the back of a spoon to spread one-half of the apple pie filling as evenly as possible over the crumbs.
layer 2, the middle
8. with your index finger, gently tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top ¼ inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear ring of acetate 5 to 6 inches tall – high enough to support the height of the finished cake. set a cake round on top of the frosting, and repeat the process for layer 1 (if 1 of your 2 cake rounds is jankier than the other, use it here in the middle and save the prettier one for the top).
layer 3, the top
9. nestle the remaining cake round into the apple pie filling. cover the top of the cake with all of the pie crumb frosting. give it volume and swirls, or do as we do and opt for a perfectly flat top. garnish the frosting with the remaining pie crumbs.
10. transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. the cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
11. at least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. gently peel off the acetate, and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (wrapped well in plastic, the cake can be refrigerated for up to 5 days).
12. slice the cake into wedges and serve.

barely brown butter cake
1. heat the oven to 350°f.
2. combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the eggs, and mix on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more.
3. stream in the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla while the paddle swirls on low speed. increase the speed to medium-high and paddle 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, twice the size of your originally fluffy butter-and-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. you’re basically forcing too much liquid into an already fatty mixture that doesn’t want to make room for it, so if it doesn’t look right after 6 minutes, keep mixing. stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
4. on very low speed, add the cake flour, baking powder, and salt. mix for 45 to 60 seconds, just until your batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. mix on low speed for another 45 seconds to ensure that any little lumps of cake flour are incorporated.
5. pam-spray a quarter sheet pan and line it with parchment, or just line the pan with a silpat. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. bake for 30 to 35 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size, but will remain slightly buttery and dense. at 30 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger: the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for an extra 3 to 5 minutes if it doesn’t pass these tests.
6. take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or, in a pinch, in the fridge or freezer (don’t worry, it’s not cheating). the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.

apple cider soak
whisk together cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl until the sugar is completely dissolved.

liquid cheesecake
1. heat the oven to 300°f.
2. put the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed for 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. add the sugar and mix for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sugar has been completely incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl.
3. whisk together the cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. whisk in the milk in a slow, steady stream, then whisk in the egg until the slurry is homogenous.
4. with the mixer on medium-low speed, stream in the egg slurry. paddle for 3 to 4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and loose. scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. line the bottom and sides of a 6 x 6-inch baking pan with plastic wrap. pour the cheesecake batter into the pan, put the pan in the oven, and bake for 15 minutes. gently shake the pan. the cheesecake should be firmer and more set toward the outer boundaries of the baking pan but still be jiggly and loose in the dead center. if the cheesecake is jiggly all over, give it 5 minutes more. and 5 minutes more if it needs it, but it’s never taken me more than 25 minutes to underbake one. if the cheesecake rises more than a ¼ inch or begins to brown, take it out of the oven immediately.
6. cool the cheesecake completely, to finish the baking process and allow the cheesecake to set. the final product will resemble a cheesecake, but it will be pipeable and pliable enough to easily spread or smear, while still having body and volume. once cool, the cheesecake can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up 1 week.

pie crumb
1. heat the oven to 350°f.
2. combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on low speed until well mixed.
3. add the butter and water and paddle on low speed until the mixture starts to come together in small clusters.
4. spread the clusters on a parchment- or silpat- lined sheet pan. bake for 25 minutes, breaking them up occasionally. the crumbs should be golden brown and still slightly moist to the touch at that point; they will dry and harden as they cool.
5. let the crumbs cool completely before using in a recipe or eating. stored in an airtight container, the crumbs will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.

apple pie filling
1. fill a medium bowl halfway with cold tap water. juice the lemon into it. fish out and discard any seeds. you will use this lemon water to keep your apple pieces looking fresh and pert.
2. peel the apples, then halve and quarter them. put each apple quarter on its side and cut a small slice down the length of the apple to remove the seeds and core. cut each apple quarter lengthwise into thirds and then crosswise into fourths, leaving you with 12 small pieces from every apple quarter. transfer these pieces to the lemon water as you go.
3. when you’re ready to cook, drain the apples (discard the lemon water) and combine them in a medium pot with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, using a spoon to gently stir the mixture as it heats up and the apples begin to release liquid. reduce the heat and simmer the apples gently for 3 to 5 minutes. be careful not to cook the apples so much that they turn into applesauce.
4. transfer to a container and put in the fridge to cool down. once completely cooled, the filling can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week; do not freeze.

pie crumb frosting
1. combine the pie crumbs, milk, and salt in a blender, turn the speed to medium-high, and puree until smooth and homogenous. it will take 1 to 3 minutes (depending on the awesomeness of your blender). if the mixture does not catch on your blender blade, turn off the blender, take a small teaspoon, and scrape down the sides of the canister, remembering to scrape under the blade, then try again.
2. combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
3. on low speed, paddle in the contents of the blender. after 1 minute, crank the speed up to medium-high and let her rip for another 2 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl. if the mixture is not a uniform, very pale, barely tan color, give the bowl another scrape-down and another minute of high-speed paddling.
4. use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Follow our Milk Bar Monday happenings on Twitter! #milkbarmondays

And check out the other posts here:

Audra of The Baker Chick
Erin of Big Fat Baker
Jacqueline of The Dusty Baker
Krissy of Krissy’s Creations
Nicole of Sweet Peony Blog


64 Responses to “Milk Bar Mondays – Apple Pie Layer Cake”

  1. #
    Yuri - Chef Pandita — February 20, 2012 @ 6:27 am

    Gorgeous cake 🙂 I love that book, but have only made cookies from it. Like I said on IG, bf was impressed with your pic and told me to find out what was in this cake. Calling him now!

  2. #
    Audra@The-Baker-Chick — February 20, 2012 @ 6:29 am

    Yay Cassie! Your cake looks amazing and your pictures, as always are also wonderful. Isn’t this cake maybe the best thing ever?

  3. #
    Terra — February 20, 2012 @ 6:34 am

    Wow, That is truly a beautiful cake! I seriously love the idea of having apple pie ingredients in your favorite cake! I love that there is no frosting around it, it is fun to see the layers:-) Take care, Terra

  4. #
    Alyssa — February 20, 2012 @ 6:48 am

    Wow, this looks so sinfully good! I bet all of the effort was worth it for this. I’m not big on apple pie but the contrast of textures I bet made this over the top good. And I love your cake plate!

  5. #
    Caroline @ chocolate & carrots — February 20, 2012 @ 7:04 am

    Yum! I don’t like apple pie, but in cake form…I’m all there! 😀

  6. #
    Katrina {In Katrina's Kitchen. } — February 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am

    Speechless! This is truly a delicous-looking cake!

  7. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — February 20, 2012 @ 8:26 am

    Look amazing!! Beautiful pictures!

  8. #
    steph@stephsbitebybite — February 20, 2012 @ 8:27 am

    This is INCREDIBLE! I am trying to wrap my brain around these cake-pie combo!

  9. #
    Jenny Flake — February 20, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    This is the cutest little apple pie cake ever! Love it 🙂

  10. #
    BigFatBaker — February 20, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    Wasn’t this cake ridiculous?? I love your cheesecake layer, it looks way better than mine turned out! This was so delicious and totally worth every step. Great job on your cake 🙂

  11. #
    Michelle — February 20, 2012 @ 8:34 am

    Wow, girl ! Love these pictures and that cake!! We love apple pie, gonna have to try this.

  12. #
    Maureen — February 20, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    That is a gorgeous cake. They are all wonderful cakes. Such clever bakers, the lot of you 🙂

  13. #
    Bev Weidner — February 20, 2012 @ 8:52 am

    Look at THAT!

  14. #
    Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking — February 20, 2012 @ 9:09 am

    This cake looks incredible, Cassie, and I bet it tastes even better. Lovely recipe and gorgeous photos to match! Thanks for sharing.

  15. #
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel — February 20, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    You had me at apple pie! I love it and this is such a fun twist!!

  16. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — February 20, 2012 @ 9:43 am

    This looks beautiful and delicious!! Great photos too! You’ve been putting that new camera to good use!

  17. #
    Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga — February 20, 2012 @ 10:37 am

    This looks so good and I love the idea that you ladies are working your way through the book!

  18. #
    Jacqueline - The Dusty Baker — February 20, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    Yep, totally agree that this is REALLY REALLY WORTH IT! I made it for my sister’s birthday and within seconds my entire family was “wow-ing” and going insane over it. Truly delectable enough for even those who claim not to like cake! Fun swap!

  19. #
    Kelly — February 20, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    WOW what a gorgeous cake! This looks absolutely delicious…and I’m totally drooling 🙂

  20. #
    Megan @CountryCleaver — February 20, 2012 @ 11:12 am

    Like, for serious?? I think I tear just fell off my cheek.

  21. #
    Krissy's Creations — February 20, 2012 @ 11:19 am

    I was seriously drooling over this cake too! Yours looks amazing! Your photos are gorgeous, as usual 🙂

  22. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — February 20, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    Wow – that looks amazing! NEVER would have thought to turn apple pie into a cake!

  23. #
    Elizabeth @ chronic venture — February 20, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    soo cute!

  24. #
    Jennifer | Mother Thyme — February 20, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    I love apple pie and just love this version. What a unique and delicious recipe. A definite must try! 🙂

  25. #
    Katherine Martinelli — February 20, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

    This cake is so gorgeous!! And I love the flavors.

  26. #
    nicole {sweet peony} — February 20, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    gorrrrgeous photos! and i’m glad that you and your husband liked this cake. i asked mine to save me a slice in the freezer until i get back home 🙂

  27. #
    Angie@Angie's Recipes — February 20, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    A pie in a cake…a fascinating and creative idea! I love it.

  28. #
    Cat Davis — February 20, 2012 @ 1:42 pm

    Gorgeous! I think if I made that I’d have to limit it to one layer, that much cake would kill me.

  29. #
    Jackie @ Domestic Fits — February 20, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

    I’m with you, I probably would never choose to make an apple cake but after seeing the pictures you ladies have been putting up today, I am now converted! Next apple dish I make will be an apple cake! And I adore that crumble topping.

  30. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — February 20, 2012 @ 2:01 pm

    This is gorgeous!! Give yourself a hug for me 🙂 I love apple pies and this paired up with cake and layers of it just sounds like the perfect dessert for me!

  31. #
    Kathryn — February 20, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    I love love love this series that you’re all doing, definitely makes me want to go out and buy the book. This looks so unbelievably good!

  32. #
    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — February 20, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

    I saw this earlier on The Dusty Baker, and WOW! I love the flavors in this one!!

  33. #
    Melissa // thefauxmartha — February 20, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

    Holy cow. This totally looks drool worthy! Yes to the please!

  34. #
    Anne@FromMySweetHeart — February 20, 2012 @ 6:58 pm

    Oh…wow Cassie! This cake is beautiful! You know…food knows no boundaries. A cake…a pie…some cheesecake…it’s all good! Going to have to bump this cookbook up on my wishlist! : )

  35. #
    Mercedes@Satisfy My Sweet Tooth — February 20, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

    WOW, this is very impressive! This cake looks beautiful and sounds delicious!

  36. #
    JulieD — February 20, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

    Love this!! You’re amazing and I wish you lived next door to me. 😀

  37. #
    Living The Sweet Life — February 20, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    Delicious!! I love the crumb topping – – this may very well be the recipe to make me head out and buy the book 😉 yumm!!

  38. #
    christina @ ovenadventures — February 20, 2012 @ 11:00 pm

    did you say brown butter?!?!?!?!?!? this cake sounds very cool.

  39. #
    Robin @ Simply Southern Baking — February 21, 2012 @ 4:55 am

    Mmmm! This looks so yummy!

  40. #
    brandi — February 21, 2012 @ 7:39 am

    wow wow wow – this looks incredible!

  41. #
    Alison @ ingredients, Inc. — February 21, 2012 @ 8:07 am

    oh wow! Love these!! So glad to connect with you just recently

  42. #
    Amy — February 21, 2012 @ 8:51 am

    This is totally looking drool worthy to me! I need it.

  43. #
    Holly — February 21, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Love your pics. This cake sounds amazing!

  44. #
    amy @ fearlesshomemaker — February 21, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    wow, this looks divine, Cassie. i’m super impressed! oh, + i could go for a slice or two right now, please. =)

  45. #
    Lauren at Keep It Sweet — February 21, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    That cake looks amazing and definitely worth the effort!

  46. #
    Kim | At Home WIth Kim — February 21, 2012 @ 10:12 am

    Okay, so no fair! I’m sitting here with my coffee and THAT LOOKS AMAZING!

  47. #
    Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes — February 21, 2012 @ 11:06 am

    Just gorgeous, Cassie! And what a cute cake stand! I love your version of this drool-worthy cake!! 🙂

  48. #
    Kim Bee — February 21, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    Holy crap! I realize this comment is unacceptable but seriously that is what I keep saying. It’s freaking gorgeous. Why do I not live next door to you? I must move. Now.

  49. #
    Ramona — February 21, 2012 @ 1:01 pm

    This dessert looks amazing and so luscious! Yes.. you were right.. you caught me drooling. 🙂

  50. #
    Lora @cakeduchess — February 21, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    So am in LOVE with this cake, Cassie:)Just gorgeous. save me some, please;)

  51. #
    Molly — February 21, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

    Mmmmmmmmmm that looks soooo goood! I must try some of your recipes!

  52. #
    Reem | Simply Reem — February 21, 2012 @ 10:10 pm

    This cake may be the best cake ever…
    Absolutely delicious!!!

  53. #
    Ann — February 21, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

    That is absolutely stunning! I just the idea of apple pie AND cheesecake together WITH cake….heavenly!

  54. #
    Hotly Spiced — February 22, 2012 @ 4:03 am

    What a beautiful looking cake. It is so wonderfully layered and looks so moist. And of course apple cake is one of my favourites.

  55. #
    Deanna @ DB and Jelly — February 25, 2012 @ 11:18 am

    This is such a fun twist on the usual apple pie, and your cake is absolutely beautiful!

  56. #
    robin — August 7, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

    hi, I would love to try this cake but I cannot find the recipe.. can someone be a dear and email me the recipe plzzzz. my email address is 😀 thanks

    • Cassie replied: — August 8th, 2014 @ 7:35 am

      Hi Robin, I have added the recipe to the post; I didn’t realize the link wasn’t working.


  57. #
    jill — November 8, 2014 @ 6:03 am

    Holy Moses!!! If I wanted to sell cakes for $100 a pop, this would be it! What an ingenious idea, to combine all good things in layers. Opens up a world of possibilities too, sure you are experimenting with other combinations. Thank you for a great recipe and a fantastic idea! Truly imaginative, good for you!!!

  58. #
    jill — November 8, 2014 @ 6:28 am

    Oh also, have you tried making this in 9″ or even a 8X13?? Could figure out the measurements, but wondering if you had tried it and what success you had, thanks!!!


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