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SEPTEMBER 1999
RECIPES

Fudge Pudding Cake

Chocolate Applespice Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffeecake

Carrot Cake with White Chocolate-Cream Cheese Frosting

Wacky Cake



Sweet Spot

 


Chocolate Applespice Cake

Tips: 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 chocolate chips
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 6 eggs, graded "large"
  • 1 cup thick, unsweetened applesauce
  • 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.

16 servings

Variation: 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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