Many mixers can't handle the amount of batter for this cake, so you will need to prepare two batches. You can make them separately and combine in the baking pans.




  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter three 12-by-2-inch round cake pans. Line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter parchment. Dust with superfine sugar, and tap out any excess. Set the pans aside.

  • In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and superfine sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating 2 minutes after each. Add applesauce; beat to combine.

  • Fold in flour mixture and pecans. Fold in vanilla, Calvados, and apple slices. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Use a spatula to smooth surfaces.

  • Bake cakes until they spring back when touched, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Gently run a knife around the outer edge of the cakes; invert cakes onto rack, then place them right side up on cardboard rounds. Wrap cakes in plastic wrap if not using immediately.

To assemble the cake:

  • Using a serrated knife, trim tops of two cake layers to make level. Place one trimmed layer on a serving platter. Spread half the cream-cheese filling over cake. Place other trimmed layer on top (remove cardboard after lifting cake), and spread with remaining filling. Top with third layer, removing cardboard.

  • Place stencil on cake; gently sift confectioners' sugar to completely fill cutouts. Carefully lift stencil off cake. Place apple chips in center for garnish.