To celebrate the first day of Autumn, I decided to make something special ~ CAKE!  I’d made this recipe only once before and actually forgot how crazy good it is.  With apples in season, I had lots of great varieties to choose from and I mixed things up a little, using Granny Smith and Gala.  The ingredient list and process may seem a little daunting….but, really it’s not a hard recipe.  Just gather everything together and get started.  Once you pour on that yummy praline frosting and scatter on the pecans, just grab a cup of coffee, sit back and give a toast to fall!
      Cream Cheese Filling
            1
(8-oz.) package cream cheese, softened
            1/4
cup butter, softened
            1/2
cup granulated sugar
            1
large egg
            2
tablespoons all-purpose flour
            1
teaspoon vanilla extract
           Apple Cake Batter
            1
cup finely chopped pecans
            3
cups all-purpose flour
            1
cup granulated sugar
            1
cup firmly packed light brown sugar
            2
teaspoons ground cinnamon
            1
teaspoon salt
            1
teaspoon baking soda
            1
teaspoon ground nutmeg
            1/2
teaspoon ground allspice
            3
large eggs, lightly beaten
            3/4
cup canola oil
            3/4
cup applesauce
            1
teaspoon vanilla extract
            3 cups peeled and finely chopped
Gala apples (about 1 1/2 lb.)
            Praline Frosting
            1/2
cup firmly packed light brown sugar
            1/4
cup butter
            3
tablespoons milk
            1
teaspoon vanilla extract
            1
cup powdered sugar
To Make Cake
1.  Prepare Filling: Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed with an electric
mixer until blended and smooth. Add egg, flour, and vanilla; beat just until
blended.
2.  Prepare Batter: Preheat oven to 350º. Bake pecans in a shallow pan 8 to 10
minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through. Stir together
3 cups flour and next 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in eggs and next 3
ingredients, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in apples
and pecans.
3.  Spoon two-thirds of apple mixture into a greased and floured 14-cup Bundt pan.
Spoon Cream Cheese Filling over apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around
edges of pan. Swirl filling through apple mixture using a paring knife. Spoon
remaining apple mixture over Cream Cheese Filling.
4.  Bake at 350º for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick
inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes;
remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 2 hours).
5.
Prepare Frosting: Bring 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 3 Tbsp. milk
to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1
minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Gradually whisk
in powdered sugar until smooth; stir gently 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture
begins to cool and thickens slightly. Pour immediately over cooled cake.  Sprinkle on remaining pecans.