A wonderful spicy cake packed with apple flavor and wrapped in creamy mascarpone frosting!
About the frosting: How mascarpone is packaged depends on the brand. In Europe, specifically in Slovenia, mascarpone is packaged in 250g (8.8 oz) and 500g (17.6 oz) containers, which is what I use. I noticed that in the USA, container sizes vary between 8oz or 16oz (225g or 450g), but you can also find 17.6oz (500g) containers (Galbani brand). Both 16oz and 17.6oz containers are fine, use whichever you can find. If you can find both, go for the 17.6oz container.
Heavy whipping cream has a fat content of at least 36%. Not every country differentiates between regular and heavy whipping cream, my advice is too look for cream that has at least 35% fat content.
Another important thing: keep all frosting ingredients cold! Cream whips best when it’s cold and mascarpone won’t curdle when it’s mixed with ingredients of the same temperature (sugar being the exception here). Which is why you need to make sure all of these ingredients are chilled before you start baking.
You can use 8-inch (20-cm) pans if you don’t have 7-inch ones. Alternately, you can use two 9-inch (23-cm) pans instead, for a more classic cake.
If you want a stronger mascarpone flavor, you can use less whipping cream in the frosting. A favorite combination of mine is using 16oz (450g) mascarpone and 1 cup (240ml) whipping cream. This 2:1 ratio produces a frosting that is still fluffy and smooth but even richer in flavor. Do keep in mind that you need less sugar for this and that you’ll end up with a smaller amount of frosting.
How to make marzipan fruit:
You can find marzipan in well-stocked grocery stores, usually in the baking section, or in specialty stores for bakers / pastry chefs. Take a block of marzipan and add some red food dye. Knead it until the color is evenly incorporated, then roll it in a log. Cut it into pieces and roll each into a ball the size of a hazelnut. Press a clove into each one to act as a stem. Then brush each apple with more red food coloring to create a more lively apple. Let dry overnight. These will keep for a long time, store them in container at room temperature.