Happy first week of November, friends! Anyone else like me and desperately trying to hold on to what ever moments of fall may be left out there in the world, despite the fact that it’s blatantly snowing outside… wet, cold, nasty snow! I’m not ready and I’m going to remain in my denial of the impending winter for as long as possible!!! Luckily, this Smoked Rosemary & Apple Naked Cake is every bit the warm, delicious, cozy fall vibes I could use right now!
To date, this is probably my favorite cake I’ve created and holy crap is it delicious! Most importantly, because flavors aren’t everything, haha… okay they sort of are… but can we talk about how freaking gorgeous this cake is? I don’t mean to brag, but I feel pretty proud of this sweet, yummy, little cake that’s exploding in orchard picked apples, tantalizing aromas of smoked rosemary, and a hint of cinnamon. It’s a serious showstopper! And oddly would make the prettiest wedding cake too.
Best part is that this cake was one of the props for an amazing brand campaign we photographed for the skincare company, Lumene.
I had the serious honor to join forces with 5 other awesome women to camp out in a tiny log cabin in the middle of who-knows-where Wisconsin (with no air conditioning and 90 degree days) to create this beautiful, inspiring campaign that defies the pages of Vogue and Glamour. The goal of the campaign wasn’t about obtaining flawless skin or desperately seeking after the perfect body shape, lacking in body fat. Lumene wanted to speak to the real, unedited, comes-in-all-shapes-and-sizes, gorgeous ladies out there. To give light to the truth that we are perfect just as we are! We don’t need fixing; we need love! Who doesn’t love a message like that, am I right?
It’s so amazing to come together on a project, having never worked with each other before, use our talents to create something beautiful and leave the weekend close friends! I am so blown away by these ladies and I cannot wait to see what we come up with next! Stay tuned for more photos of our shoot on my Instagram! We took over 10,000 photos, so there’s a lot to share!
As for the Smoked Rosemary & Apple Naked Cake? Well, we pretty much devoured a good portion of it, then divided the rest up so we could take it home to our families! Everyone was in love, which totally made my day!
And just a few things before you head to the recipe… the cake stand in the photos is from my latest obsession at Target, the Hearth & Hand with Magnolia collection. Secondly, the halved apple slice on the cake top is rubbed with lemon juice to keep it from browning. It lasted almost all day without browning horribly.
Lastly, I totally cheated with those “apple leaves” coming out of the apples. Not only did I not pluck them perfectly like that from the tree, the leaves are actually pear leaves, haha! We have two pear trees at my father’s house. After some googling I realized that apple and pear leaves are pretty dang close in appearance, so I cut a few branches off, drove them out to our shoot in Wisconsin and attached the leaf cluster to the apple with a toothpick. The things you do to get the right look!
- 12 sprigs rosemary
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- Lighter or culinary blow torch
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 cups butter
- 8 eggs
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 6 cups cake flour
- 7 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoons allspice
- 4 sprigs smoked rosemary, minced
- 2 cups milk
- 2 apples, peeled, cored, and cubed
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 5 apples, peeled, cored and cubed
- 4 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 sprigs smoked rosemary, minced
- Salt, to taste
- 1 lb butter, at cool room temperature
- 2 lbs confectioners' sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Small apples
- Seeded eucalyptus, apple leaves, and/or other greenery
- Rosemary sprigs
- Roses, and/or other fall flowers
- Note: If you do not feel comfortable smoking rosemary due to the flame, simply omit the smoked rosemary step when making the simple syrup and use fresh rosemary where ever it calls for smoke rosemary. Most importantly, use caution and all safety measures when working with fire!
- Note: this step will make the smoked rosemary you will need throughout the remaining recipe.
- Have a medium sized saucepan and lid ready (along with a large mixing bowl). Hold rosemary sprigs with a tongs. Carefully run lighter or torch along rosemary sprigs until they start to burn. Once they are halfway charred, drop sprigs into saucepan; cover immediately. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. The pan will soak up the flavor of the smoked rosemary. Quickly remove sprigs and replace lid. Set 6 sprigs aside into the large mixing bowl and cover. This will be for the cake layers and filling. Hold on to remaining 4 rosemary sprigs.
- Cook sugar and water in same rosemary-infused saucepan on medium heat, until sugar is dissolved; about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Return 4 rosemary sprigs to pan and steep for 30 minutes; covered. Strain simple syrup into container, refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to 1 week in advance.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Butter four 9-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms of pans with parchment paper; butter paper.
- Remove rosemary sprigs from large mixing bowl, mince 4 sprigs. Set remaining 2 sprigs aside.
- Into that same bowl, sift cake flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Blend in minced smoked rosemary. Cover and set aside.
- In bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter on medium speed until light. Gradually beat in sugar until fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides twice. Beat in vanilla extract. With mixer running, gradually add eggs, scraping down sides every few eggs. Beat until well combined. With mixer on low speed, alternate adding flour mixture with milk, ending with flour mixture. Gently fold in apple cubes. Divide evenly among pans.
- Bake 40 - 45 minutes or until the cake lightly springs back when you gently press your finger into the top of the cake. Transfer cake to a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert pans, release cakes, and return to rack to cool, top sides up. Cake layers can be made up to 1 week in advance, wrapped in plastic wrap and foil once cool, and frozen until ready to frost.
- In a medium saute pan, melt butter on medium heat. Add in apples, cinnamon, and minced rosemary. Cook until apples are soft, but not overcooked that it turns into applesauce. Remove from heat and chill apple filling. Keep cold until ready to use. Can be made up to 3 days in advance.
- Cream butter until light in color and fluffy (about 5 minutes.) Scrape down bowl with spatula. Add confectioner's sugar in 3 batches, mixing in between each addition until completely blended. Add salt, vanilla, and heavy cream. Blend on low until just combined. Add additional heavy cream until desired consistency is reached. Beat frosting until fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Over whipping adds in too much air, which creates air pockets when you go to frost your cake. If frosting the cake immediately, fill up a pastry bag with a 1A icing tip. Secure opening of bag with a twisty-tie. If not frosting cake immediately, store buttercream in fridge until ready to use. May require additional whipping after removing from fridge. Frosting can be made up to 1 week in advance.
- Place 1 cake layer in the center of a cardboard cake round, then place on a revolving cake decorating stand.
- Spread a layer of apple filling in center of cake, leaving 1 inch from outer edge. Using the fill pastry bag, pipe a thick buttercream ring or "dam" on the outer edge of the cake layer. This will keep the apple filling from leaking out. Fill in ring with buttercream, piping over the apple filling. Smooth frosting layer with a small offset spatula. Place second cake layer on top of first frosted cake layer. Press gently and make sure both layers are even on top and sides.
- Repeat apple filling and buttercream step for two more cake layers. Top cake with final cake layer. To the top of the cake, pipe more buttercream along the top edge, spiraling inward. Smooth out frosted top.
- Run offset spatula along sides of cake, smoothing out buttercream to create a naked affect. If there are any areas that need buttercream between the layers, simply pipe extra buttercream where it’s needed and smooth out with offset spatula. Cake layers should be visible through buttercream.
- Decorate cake with apples, greenery, and flowers. Serve.
I couldn’t resist throwing this last photo in! A little behind the scenes of me adjusting the cake before our next set of shots.
Photo shoot details
Make-up: Kaitlyn Torberg
Food Styling, Design, and Floral: Melissa DesAutels
Creative Director: Rachel Smak
Creative Marketing Director: Haley Bratvold
Creative Assistant: Brianna Kirk Photography
Photographer: Rachel Smak
If you try this recipe, let us know. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture #designsofanykind on Instagram. We enjoy seeing what you create! With love from my kitchen to yours,