apple rum-raisin spice cake

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Isn’t this cake pretty?

Heck … I think it’s gorgeous.

It looks so simple and elegant … but it’s flavourful, moist and simply delicious.

It wasn’t always that way.

The first time I made it … I found it a little bit dry.  The taste deepened and the cake actually got better as it sat overnight, but it still wasn’t exactly what I had hoped.

That got me thinking … how can I tweak this recipe to make it moist straight out of the oven?

The second attempt included increased raisins (the original recipe called for ½ cup raisins).  It helped a bit.

The following week I decided to try it out in a larger rectangular pan rather than the original 9-inch round pan.  It was ok … but it certainly didn’t help with the dryness level.  I also decided to add my own baking powder and salt rather than using self-rising flour.  I liked the result in the texture of the cake more.

Since my goal was to add moistness to the cake … I thought why not add another apple?  Only rather than slicing it, I would dice it and incorporate it into the batter.  With that addition my problems were solved.

I got exactly what I was looking for in the recipe … an excellent cake that I will happily eat morning, noon and night (believe me, I had a lot of test cake to go through).

Now for the part of the blog post were I sell you on this recipe.

1.  It’s delicious

2.  It’s easy to make

3.  It looks gorgeous

4.  It would be a great thing to bring as a holiday hostess gift.  Especially since it gets better overnight.

5.  Did I mention that it’s gosh darn delicious and easy to make?  Plus it sure is pretty!

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apple rum-raisin spice cake

Ingredients:

1 c. butter, room temperature

1 c. brown sugar

4 eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ c. flour

1 tbsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp ground nutmeg

½ tsp allspice

½ tsp cloves

1 c. rum-soaked raisins

1 apple, peeled, cored & diced

3 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 tbsp brown sugar cinnamon sugar

Heat your oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9-inch round pan with non-stick spray.  Then line the base and sides with parchment paper (I know … it sounds like an unnecessary step – but it honestly does make a difference in your cake).  Spray the parchment paper with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar, at medium-high speed, until light and fluffy – about 3 to 5 minutes.  Gradually add the beaten eggs to the mixture, lowering the speed of the mixer and then increasing it to fully incorporate the batter.  Remember to take the time to scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  You want all of that butter, sugar, egg mixture well combined.

Bakers tip: to ensure that the rum-soaked raisins don’t sink to the bottom of your cake (and stay on the bottom of the pan), sprinkle them with about 2 tbsp of the flour (take it from the 1 ½ cup flour needed for this recipe) and coat them.  Sinking problem is resolved.

Meanwhile, in another bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.

Using a large spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter.  Add the diced apple and raisins.  Gently combine them into the batter.

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Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan and level the surface.

Place half the apple slices over the batter, layering them.

Add the remainder of the batter on top of the apple slices.

Place the left over apple slices on top.  Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 60 to 75 minutes – it depends on your oven and the thickness of your cake.  Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.  Remove the cake from the pan (having it lined with parchment paper makes a huge difference – nothing sticks and the cake is easily removed!) and allow it to cool completely on the wire rack.

Don’t put this cake in the fridge.  It’ll dry out.   Keep it in a Tupperware container; air tight, for up to 5 days.  This is the cake that keeps on giving!

apple – carrot – chocolate chip bundt cake

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bakers note: I could actually re-name this cake the olivier dumas cake … he’s requested, and I’ve made it for him, 5 times in 4 weeks.  That’s right.  Twice in one week.  Talk about loving a cake!

There is nothing fancy about this cake.

Nope.  Nothing fancy at all.

But sometimes … you don’t need fancy.  You just want tasty.  And this cake sure is tasty. 

Frankly … this cake is deliciously moist and ridiculously addictive (see bakers note above).

Apple – carrot – chocolate chip bundt cake is absolutely fabulous.  And you should make it immediately.

The idea came from combining three of my favourite things: carrots, apples and chocolate chips.  I love a good carrot cake, and I’m pretty addicted to my friend Robin’s mother’s apple chocolate chip spice cake… it was time to combine both and make this.

I am brilliant.

Oh … and because it’s a bundt cake and not a layer cake … no frosting necessary.  All the *hard work* is done before you pop the cake pan into the oven.  All that’s left is for you to sit back, relax, allow the smell of freshly baked cake to permeate throughout your home … and then pull it out.

I promise you won’t regret adding this to your list of desserts … or breakfast foods … it goes well, as either, or.

If you really don’t like that it’s not *dressed up* … you can dust it with a little icing sugar.  But honestly … I just leave it.  This cake can stand up on its own.  It’s that good. 

apple – carrot – chocolate chip bundt cake

ingredients:

1 ½ c. packed dark brown sugar

1 ¼ c. sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla

3 eggs

2 1/3 c. flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cloves

½ tsp salt

10 oz (about 3 large) carrots, peeled and grated

5 – 6 oz (about 2 large) apples, peeled and grated

2/3 c. chocolate chips

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This is the part I always do first … grate the carrots and then the apples.  You can see from the recipe above that when you combine both ingredients, it’ll feel like you’re adding way too much … but you’re not.  You almost want the batter to be completely *overwhelmed* by these ingredients.  That’s the secret to baking the most perfectly moist bundt cake.

EVER.

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Heat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your bundt pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, combine the brown sugar, oil and vanilla.  Using your paddle attachment, beat the ingredients at medium speed for about 3 minutes.  You want it to get mixed really well.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.

Add the eggs, one at a time, then continue to beat at medium speed for a further 5 minutes. You’re batter will be quite fluffy.  Fluffy batter is a good thing.

Meanwhile, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and salt together in a bowl.

Turn off the mixer, scrape the sides with a spatula; then pour all the dry ingredients into the wet batter.  Mix at a low-speed (I keep my mixer at *stir*).  The flour will get incorporated.  This shouldn’t take more than a minute (at most).  Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Then add the grated carrots and grated apples.  Stir (I use my mixer for this part too).  Finally … toss in the chocolate chips and stir.

Done.

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Bake the cake for 50 minutes.  I usually check it at 40 minutes … and then stick it back in for another 10 minutes. 

Perfection every single time.

Allow to cool on a wire rack.  Then turn it out and serve on a pretty plate.

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If you’re a member of my family … you definitely can’t eat just one slice …

apple cinnamon tea cake

 I have a thing for raw dough.

It’s a weakness I’ve had since … well as long as I can remember …

It was such a problem this year that I actually included no eating raw dough as one of the things I gave up for lent … and it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever given up (second to cheese – which was just a stupid sacrifice).

Anyway.  You might wonder what that has to do with this cake?

Well you see … this cake is all kinds of wonderful.

Not only does it look pretty darn impressive.  But it’s also lovely.  It’s the kind of cake that you just keep slicing away at … bit by bit… slice by slice until nothing is left :0) (that’s the kind of cake I like to have in my kitchen).

Not only is it good as dessert … it is especially good first thing in the morning.  Who doesn’t love cinnamon sugar and apples in the morning???

But the extra special part for me?

It’s that little bit of slightly undercooked batter … just around the apple.  It’s not raw … but it’s just a little less cooked then the rest of the cake (and don’t worry … the cake is otherwise fully baked).

I was super pleased with the final result.  I mean … I was actually able to recreate exactly what the recipe looked like in the book (modern classics 2) …

I didn’t twist anything up when I made this last weekend.  But I have ideas for the next time I make it (likely this weekend) … I’ll turn the  tea cake into muffins … selecting smaller apples so that they fit a cupcake pan mold.  And I will most likely add more spices to the cake batter … I’d like the batter to have just a little more punch of flavour: more cinnamon, plus nutmeg, cloves, mace and allspice … oh sigh.

Oh!  and I’m pretty sure I’ll be adding some bacon fat to the apples, along with the cinnamon sugar … oh that would be really good.

However … even without a single twist … this recipe is good.  It’s a solid cake  that will bring a smile to your face and make your tummy very happy.

apple and cinnamon tea cake

ingredients:

cake base

3/4 c. butter, room temperature

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (I’d increase this to 1 tbsp)

1 tsp vanilla

2/3 c. sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 c. flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/3 c. buttermilk

topping

4 apples, cored, peeled and halved

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 c. apricot jam, warmed

Preheat your oven to 325 F.  Generously spray your 9-inch springform pan with non-stick spray (or butter the base and sides).  Set aside.

Cream together the butter, cinnamon, and sugar together in your stand-mixer – you want it to be light and fluffy – so mix about 3 to 4 minutes.  Scrape down the sides as needed.  You’ll notice that it will get quite pale as it becomes fluffier.

Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well.

Sift the flour and baking powder over the mixture, add the buttermilk and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the pan.  Set it aside.

Now make your topping.  Cut a row of deep slits in each apple half (but don’t cut through the apple halves… they still has to stay in one piece).

Arrange each half over the top of the cake batter … it looks pretty awesome eh?Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the apples.

Bake in the middle of your oven for 50 minutes.  Remove the cake from the oven and brush the warmed apricot jam generously over the top.

Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 10 minutes (mine took about 75 minutes rather than 60 minutes to bake … but I used a slightly smaller cake pan, so it was a thicker cake … )

Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack, removing the sides of the pan after about 10 minutes.  If you’re serving this as a dessert, dress it up with a little heavy cream .. or serve it with some vanilla ice cream and a good drizzle of caramel sauce.  Or leave it as is.  It’s pretty awesome either way.