Spray two round 8” cake pans well with non-stick cooking spray then cut out two circles of parchment paper to go in bottom of each pan. Set pans aside for now.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside for now.
In a separate large bowl, beat together brown sugar, granulated sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, applesauce and vanilla extract. Beat just until mixed (about 1 minute).
Add half the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until mixed.
Add all the buttermilk to the wet mixture and beat just until combined.
Add the last half of the flour mixture to the wet mixture and beat just until mixed. Do not overmix.
Pour batter evenly into each cake pan. If you have a food scale, this can be a handy tool to make sure you have the same amount of batter in each pan.
Optional: Use wet Wilton Bake Even cake strips around each cake pan to ensure even baking from outside to middle of cake.
Bake cakes for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middles of cakes comes out clean. When testing for doneness with a toothpick, there should be no raw batter on the toothpick.
Let cakes cool in cake pans on top of stove for 20 minutes before removing from pans and transferring to wire rack to cool completely before frosting. If cake is sticking to sides of pan, lightly run a table knife around the inside of the pan to loosen the cake.
Make the frosting:
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.
Beat in unsalted butter and vanilla extract until smooth.
Beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes).
Before layering cakes, use a serrated knife to cut off raised tops of cakes so you have two flat layers.
Start by placing one layer of cake onto cake plate or cardboard cake circle.
Add icing to the top of this layer that will be used to stick the two layers together. This doesn’t have to be a thick layer.
Next put the second cake layer on top of the first layer. This second layer should have the bottom facing up since that will be a smooth top.
Using an angled icing spatula, frost all sides and top with a thin layer of frosting. This is called a crumb coat and will help seal in the crumbs before the top coat of frosting. Put the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes to allow this to harden before adding the final layer of frosting.
Remove cake from freezer and add a second thicker layer of icing to sides and top of cake. Use a cake side scraper (optional) to smooth out sides and top of cake.
Optional, use an icing bag and star tip to make dollops of frosting along the top and bottom rims of cake.
Store cake leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The calories shown are based on the cake being cut into 15 pieces, with 1 serving being 1 slice of cake. Since different brands of ingredients have different nutritional information, the calories shown are just an estimate. **We are not dietitians and recommend you seek a nutritionist for exact nutritional information. The information in the nutrition box are calculated through a program and there is room for error. If you need an accurate count, I recommend running the ingredients through your favorite nutrition calculator.**