Fall Harvest Spice Cake

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Celebrate harvest time with this tempting spice cake topped with sweet, creamy maple frosting and lots of nuts and fruits.

What you need:

  • 1 package (18 1/4 ounces) spice or carrot cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup apple butter
  • Maple Buttercream Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons chopped dried cranberries*
  • 2 tablespoons raisins

*If dried cranberries are unavailable use additional chopped dried apricots and raisins.

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Combine cake mix, water, eggs, oil and apple butter in medium bowl. Beat on low speed of electric mixer until blended; beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until wooden toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let coolin pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove to racks; cool completely.
  4. Prepare Maple Buttercream Frosting.
  5. Place 1 cake layer on serving plate; frost top with Maple Buttercream. Top with second layer; frost top and side of cake with frosting. Press walnuts into side of cake.
  6. Pipe chocolate onto cake for tree trunk as shown in photo (see Piping Chocolate, below). Combine almonds, apricots, cranberries and raisins. Sprinkle on top of cake as shown.

Makes 12 servings

Maple Buttercream Frosting

4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1/4 cup maple or pancake syrup
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

In small bowl, beat butter and syrup until blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.

Makes about 3 cups

Piping Melted Chocolate

Use this easy one-step method for piping chocolate. Place about 1/2 cup chocolate chips or a 1-ounce square of chocolate in a reasonalbe plastic sandwich bag. Close bag tightly. Microwave on HIGH about 1 minute; knead chocolate until it’s melted. Repeat if necessary, microwaving 30 seconds at a time. Twist the top of the bag tightly against the chocolate. Snip a tiny tip (about 1/8 inch) off one corner of the bag. Hold the top of the bag tightly and pipe the chocolate through the opening. This method is great for adding a chocolate drizzle to a cake or cookies.

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