Chocolate Applespice Cake
Homey and old-fashioned, this is dense and chocolatey, with
a hint of spice and the crunch of nuts. Allow the cake to stand
at least overnight before serving, so the flavors will have
a chance to blend. This will keep well for a few days at cool
room temperature, if stored airtight. You'll need a standard,
10-inch diameter bundt pan; mine is black, with a nonstick finish,
and made by Nordic Ware. It is very heavy, as good-quality bakeware
tends to be. Do not use a cheap, lightweight bundt pan, as they
bake very poorly. I dust a bit of confectioners' sugar over
the top of the cake before serving, to give it a "finished"
look. If you like crystallized ginger, be sure to try the variation.
This cake is what autumn is all about.
- 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch
process cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 cup medium-fine chopped
walnuts OR pecans
- 3/4 cup miniature semisweet
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup firmly packed light
- 6 eggs, graded "large"
- 1 cup thick, unsweetened
- 1/2 cup water
Adjust rack to
center of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F (300 degrees
F if your pan has a black or dark finish). Grease and flour
a 10-inch diameter standard bundt pan (I do this even though
my pan has a nonstick finish).
Into medium bowl,
sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda,
cloves, and salt. Stir well to combine. In small bowl, combine
chopped nuts and chips. Take about a tablespoonful of the sifted
dry ingredients, add it to the chip-nut mixture, and stir well
to coat the chips and nuts (this helps prevent them from sinking
to the bottom of the cake during baking). In another small bowl,
combine applesauce and water. Set everything aside.
In large bowl of
electric mixer, combine softened butter and both sugars. Beat
at medium speed for 2 minutes, until very light and fluffy (scrape
bowl and beater(s) with rubber spatula often during mixing to
ensure complete blending of ingredients). At low speed, add
eggs, one at a time. When all eggs have been added, increase
speed to medium; beat 1 minute. Mixture may look curdled--OK.
At lowest speed,
add about one-fourth of the sifted dry ingredients, beating
only until combined. Add one-third of the applesauce-water mixture;
beat only until mixed in. Continue alternately adding remaining
dry ingredients and remaining applesauce-water mixture, beating
after each addition only until blended. It might be necessary
to increase the mixer speed slightly to blend in all ingredients,
as this is a thick batter. Remove from mixer. Add chip-nut mixture
and fold in with large spatula.
Turn into prepared
pan and spread level (pan will be rather full). With back of
large spoon, push batter slightly higher onto sides and tube
of pan, forming a "trench" in the middle. Make sure batter is
pushed well into pan's decorative corners/edges.
Bake in preheated
oven 60 to 75 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center
of cake emerges with only a few moist crumbs still clinging
to it. Do not overbake. Cool on rack 15 minutes. If required,
gently loosen cake from edges of pan. Turn out. Leaving cake
upside down, cool completely before serving.
Gabrielle's Chocolate-Ginger Cake Omit cinnamon, cloves, and
chocolate chips from above recipe. Finely mince 4-1/2 ozs. crystallized
ginger (to make about 3/4 cup); combine with the chopped nuts,
then with sifted dry ingredients as instructed above. You'll
need to mince the ginger by hand with a large, sharp knife,
as it will gum up in a food processor. Note that this is crystallized
ginger, not preserved ginger in syrup. The brand I like to use
is Reed's, which I find in health food stores.
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