Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter Spice Cake

Every year growing up, we got oranges in our stockings. Some years, my dad would stick whole cloves in the oranges. I'm sure there is some holiday tradition that warrants this but I always thought it was kinda weird. Even so, the smell of cloves brings back old Christmas memories for me each time.

This cake smells like Christmas to me. It has fabulous flavor. The original cake was pretty hefty in calories and fat so I trimmed it down a bit....without losing the lovely, spicy flavor.

Winter Spice Cake
based on a recipe from Relish magazine
Serves 16
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 1/2 - 3/4 cups sugar*
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cored, peeled and coarsely chopped apples (2 large, 3 medium, or 4 small)
  • 2 Tb. amaretto (or another 1/2 tsp vanilla)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*The amount of sugar heavily depends on whether or not your applesauce is sweetened and to what degree. I used homemade applesauce and I knew that it was sweetened it so I scaled the sugar back. If you're using unsweetened applesauce, you'll need to use the full amount of sugar.

Preheat the oven to 325°rees;F. Heavily grease and flour a large bundt pan (can also be made as a 9x13 cake, just watch the baking time). This is easier with shortening or butter. With oil, I learned, the flour transfers to the baked cake easier.

Combine the applesauce and oil in a large mixing bowl. Beat until well combined. Add sugar and beat until frothy. Add eggs one a time, beating after each addition.

Sift together flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. 

Add flour mixture to egg mixture; blend well. Begin with a wooden spoon and switch to beaters if you'd like.

Prepare apples by cutting off tops and bottoms. Peel them using a peeler. Take out the stem, end, and core. If you do not have an apple corer, like me, then watch this video to core your apples. 

Coarsely chop but be sure not to leave huge pieces of apples. Apples shrink while baking and giant pieces of apples will leave holes in your cake. If you do this at the beginning because you're scatterbrained like me, cover tightly with plastic wrap to slow the browning. Try to leave as little air in the bowl as possible because that is what causes the browning. 

Add amaretto and vanilla extract. Beat in and then add apples. Stir until evenly distributed. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Be thankful that you don't have to share these fantabulous beaters. 

Bake until golden brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. The cooking time will vary depending on your pan. I started checking every 10 minutes after 40 minutes so that it wouldn't over bake. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing.

Remember what I said about the oil? If this happens, stay calm and just use your hand to lightly brush off the flour that you can. The rest doesn't really affect the flavor (I promise!) and gives it a kind of rustic look. 

I was going to healthify the glaze as well. But my healthified glaze recipe had me a little worried. Plus, I accounted for too much sugar from the applesauce and the cake was lacking a bit in sweetness. So I went ahead with the original glaze and don't regret it at all. :)

Brown Sugar Glaze
  • 4 Tb. butter
  • 6 Tb. white sugar
  • 2 Tb. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 Tb. heavy cream
Do not begin this glaze until the cake is ready to be served. It hardens pretty quickly. This makes for a gorgeous cake but it also makes it hard to spread after it cools. 

Melt 4 Tb. butter in a small saucepan and stir in the sugars. 

Stir in vanilla and cream. Bring to a boil and reduce heat; let simmer 4 minutes. Drizzle over cake top or cake slices and serve.

Nutritional Information (for 1/16 cake without glaze): 255 calories, 8g fat (0.8g sat), 1.3g fiber, 3.7g protein

Nutritional Information (for 1/16 cake with glaze): 311 calories, 12g fat (3g sat), 1.3g fiber, 3.8g protein

I think the glaze was worth the additional calories. However, if you do not, you can simply dust the finished cake with powdered sugar. It has a gorgeous effect while adding minimal calories. I think this cake is a splurge, of course, but it's a pretty healthy splurge when considering the other options during this time of year. The original recipe has 420 calories and 22g fat per 1/16 serving...that's 109 calories and 10g fat shaved off per slice, even more if you leave off the glaze! And this cake is delicious - perfectly moist with a crunchy crust. A perfect holiday addition.

It snowed yesterday. Well, there was some flying white stuff.

Welcome to Georgia.


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