John Kannell is a middle school teacher-turned food influencer, baker and cook. After finishing his degree in Los Angeles, he spent over a decade teaching middle school math and science, until a few years ago, when he decided to follow his love for the culinary arts.
His passion project, a food website called "Preppy Kitchen," was born.
Since then, Kannell, who is Mexican American, has become a social media influencer, appearing on multiple talk shows. He also has a cookbook, "The Preppy Kitchen: Recipes for Seasonal Dishes and Simple Pleasures."
Kannell recently dropped by "GMA3" to share his recipe for an apple cake with maple buttercream -- the perfect dessert for the change in seasons.
Check out the recipe below and try your hand at recreating this sweet dish.
Apple Cake with Maple Buttercream Frosting
Ingredients for Apple Cake:
1 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for the pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
3 medium Honeycrisp apples, peeled and grated
Ingredients for Maple Buttercream:
2 cups unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean, scraped
1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1September 20, 2022
- 2September 22, 2022
For the assembly:
12 thyme sprigs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup apple butter (can be store-bought)
Directions for the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans or spray with baking spray. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper rounds.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and beat on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the sugars and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until fully incorporated before adding the next one. Stop to scrape down the bowl as needed. Add vanilla and thyme and beat until just combined.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with the grated apple. Beat just until combined, stopping to scrape down the bowl as needed. Divide the batter among the cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans.
Directions for the maple buttercream:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the butter smells nutty and the milk solids begin to brown, 12-15 minutes. (The butter will become very foamy when it's almost done.) Transfer the browned butter to a heatproof bowl and whisk in the vanilla bean paste. Let cool at room temperature until the butter is firm but still spreadable, about four hours, or freeze for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through chilling.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the cooled browned butter, maple syrup, and salt and beat on medium speed until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the powdered sugar a cup or two at a time, alternating with the cream, until fully incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 more minute. Switch to the whip attachment, return the mixer to medium speed, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Assemble the cake:
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar with 1/2 cup water. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is just dissolved. Let cool for a few minutes. Dip each thyme sprig in the simple syrup and gently shake to remove excess. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar until well coated and place on a plate to dry.
On a cake stand, place one of the cake layers and spread one cup of the buttercream on top. Spread the apple butter in a thin, even layer over the buttercream. Top with the remaining cake layer and cover the top and sides with the remaining buttercream. Top with the sugared thyme.
The cake can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated for 1 week.