Dive into fall with my new Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake with maple buttercream. This unique cake flavor combination is made up of ricotta cake layers baked on tart green apples, layered with whipped ricotta filling, candied bacon and maple buttercream. Let the untraditional become your new fall dessert tradition with this one, friends!
Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake
Fall desserts are some of my favorite sweets of the year. I simply can’t get enough of the warm spices paired with apples, pumpkin, pears, butternut squash and sweet potatoes! (All flavors I’ve turned into cakes!) But out of all of them, apple flavored desserts are probably at the top of my go-to fall treats. It goes back to growing up with my mom making apple pie for Thanksgiving every year. I usually went right past the toppings to get that homemade apple pie filling. I can even taste it as I type about it!
As I got started on my fall cakes for this year, I wanted to kick the season off with a real bang and what better way to do that than with a cake that’s maybe a little unexpected but leaves you craving more and more with every bite?! And, of course, it needed to have apple with it!
My new Sweet and Savory Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake may not what you typically think of when you think fall cakes, but hear me out! This cake pairs warm, fall flavors with the most decadent textures and fillings.
We’re starting with olive oil ricotta cake layers baked on tart Granny Smith apples. Each layer of cake is then slathered with a whipped, sweetened ricotta filling, a sprinkling of candied bacon, and covered in maple buttercream.
I loved serving this cake to my family and watching their eyes light up after they took their first bite and let the flavors surprise their taste buds. At first, you’ll taste the bacon, but after just a second, the tart apples, tangy ricotta and sweet maple come together and it all just works so beautifully!
There’s a lot going on in this cake, but don’t let that scare you away. Each step can be done ahead of time. Let’s tackle the cake first. Here’s a few ingredients you’ll need that may not be readily available in your pantry.
- Granny Smith apples – you’ll skin the apples, slice them, and the cook them over the stove with butter. We’re looking to just soften the apples a tad. About two minutes of cooking is all you need.
- Ricotta – for the cake batter, make sure you get some ricotta. We’ll be making homemade ricotta for the filling, but the cake can use store bought and work beautifully.
- Olive oil – the cake layers also have olive oil in the batter. You’ll want to get a light olive oil. It gives the cake a lovely texture and only hints at the olive oil flavor but isn’t overwhelming at all.
Filling and Buttercream Ingredients
Let’s also make sure you have a few other ingredients for the fillings and buttercream.
For the Candied Bacon
- Applewood smoked bacon
- Maple syrup
- Brown sugar
- Apple cider vinegar
For the Homemade Ricotta
- Whole milk
- Heavy whipping cream
- White distilled vinegar
For the Buttercream
- Maple extract
- Powdered sugar
- Heavy whipping cream
How to Make Apple Ricotta Bacon Cake
Cook the apples: To make the ricotta cake layers, you’ll want to start by cooking the apples first. You’ll simply cook them in a saucepan over medium heat with the butter to soften them just a bit. Once the apples are cooked, you’ll layer them in two of your three 8-inch cake pans (that have been sprayed with nonstick spray and lined with parchment paper).
Make the batter: for the cake batter, beat the oil, sugar, and eggs for a couple minutes on medium-high speed. It’s ok to beat the ingredients at a higher speed at this point. We want to add some air into the batter. It’s when we add the dry ingredients that we want to make sure to turn the speed to low so we don’t over mix the ingredients. Over mixing the batter can create very dense and short cake layers.
Next, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl. Whisk to combine. Alternately add the flour mixture and the ricotta to the egg mixture. Pour the cake batter into the three 8-inch pans.
While the cake is baking, you can start on the fillings.
I’ll walk you through all the steps to making your own ricotta in the recipe below, but a few things you’ll need:
- Cheese cloth or thin dish towel
- Mesh strainer
- Large bowl
- Heavy cream
- Whole milk
- White wine vinegar
I would suggest making the ricotta a day or two ahead of time so it has time to thicken and chill.
For the bacon, chop the bacon and cook it until it becomes crispy. You’ll then add the brown sugar, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Cook for a couple minutes, until the mixture slightly thickens. Allow to cool completely before using.
How to Make the Best Buttercream Frosting
To get a light and fluffy homemade buttercream frosting, I have a detailed post: HOW TO MAKE THE BEST BUTTERCREAM to give you in depth instruction for making your buttercream unreal! Here’s a quick overview.
- Sift your powdered sugar
- Use slightly cold butter and mix on its own for 2 to 3 minutes
- Use heavy whipping cream
- Beat for 5 minutes
- Stir by hand
How to Dry Apples in the Oven
Dried apples make beautiful cake toppers and decor. To make your own dried apples in the oven, here’s what you want to do:
- Preheat your oven to 200 degrees F
- Slice apples thinly
- Place apples on the parchment paper in a single layer
- Sprinkle cinnamon over apples
- Bake for about 45 to 60 minutes
- Allow to cool completely
Other Fall Cakes You’ll Love
- Butternut Squash Gingersnap Cake
- Caramel Apple Cake
- Honey Fig Goat Cheese Cake
- Pumpkin Sugar Cookie Cake
- Ricotta Beet Cake