Whenever I need inspiration, I turn to my collection of Maida Heatter dessert books. Here is an old-fashioned carrying cake for holiday chocolate lovers, one to take to someone’s house or to display on your pedestal cake plate for Thanksgiving day at your own. It is a lusciously moist, rich, dense, and delicious addition served alone or as a complement to pumpkin pie. Be sure to use a one-piece smooth tube pan, not a fluted bundt pan, for this cake for it to turn out right.
3 ounces (2/3 cup) dark raisins
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large or extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (I use Shaffenberger)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 1/2-ounces (2 cups) unsweetened applesauce (I use Mott’s Natural or Trader Joe’s Gravenstein)
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) coarsely chopped or broken walnuts, or pecans
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350º. Spray a 10-inch one-piece tube pan with nonstick vegetable spray, then line the bottom with parchment or waxed paper and spray again; set aside. Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water; let stand 10 minutes to plump; drain well.
In the work bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a bowl with a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. On low speed, add the eggs one at a time; mix on high speed for a minute. In another bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, spices, and salt. On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in two additions, alternating with the applesauce, beat for a minute until evenly combined. The applesauce makes the batter look slightly curdled; that is okay. Fold in the raisins and nuts. Scrape the batter into the pan, smoothing the top; it will only fill halfway up.
Bake on the center rack for 1 hour and 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, cake separates from the sides of the pan, and cake springs back when lightly touched with your fingertip.
Remove from the oven and let stand in the pan 15 minutes. Remove from the pan by inverting the cake onto a wire rack and peeling off the paper; cool completely upside down. While it is cooling, lift the cake a few times to prevent sticking to the rack. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap, then heavy aluminum foil. Freeze up to 1 month. To serve, defrost the wrapped cake at room temperature (on the counter) overnight, or at least 6 hours; unwrap and place on a cake platter. Dust with powdered sugar pushed through a sieve. Serve in thin slices using a serrated knife. Store at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 3 days. Serves 12 to 14.
text copyright Beth Hensperger 2016. Recipe copyright Maida Heatter.
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.