Sunday, January 21, 2018

Apricot and Walnut Applesauce Cake

Apricot and Walnut Applesauce Cake 
Source: Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1997 ed.), pg. 100.

I have been wanting to make an applesauce cake for some time now because I had a huge, unopened jar in the refrigerator. Applesauce is something I usually keep on hand because I often use it to replace oil in baking recipes. It is also good for snacking.

Maida has several applesauce cake recipes (I was very tempted by the Chocolate Applesauce Cake in her chocolate book and may try that one next). I chose this one because I had walnuts and apricots that I also needed to use.

This is a very simple cake to make. I love making loaf cakes! Be sure to use a large loaf pan. She recommended one that measures 10.5" x 4.5" x 3". The closest I had was 9" x 5" x 2" and it was fine. The cake is very moist and packed with crisp walnuts and apricots. The cloves give it a holiday-ish flavor and I think this would be a nice Christmas dessert but I would make this anytime.

Keep an eye on it while baking. As with many of her recipes, her baking time of 1 hr., 25-35 minutes would have been too much. Mine was done in 1 hr., 15 minutes.

6 oz. dried apricots
6 oz. (1 1/2 cups) chopped walnuts
2 cups sifted unbleached flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/4 baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. unsalted butter (softened)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Butter a loaf pan with a 9-cup capacity. Dust with fine bread crumbs.

Cut the apricots into small pieces (about 1/4 inch wide).

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves and salt.

Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture to the apricots and mix with your fingers. Add the walnuts and toss again to coat all the nuts and fruit.

Beat the butter until soft. Add the vanilla and sugar, beating until mixed. Beat in the eggs one at a time. On low speed, add 1/3 of the flour mixture. Add all of the applesauce and then the remaining flour mixture. Beat only until completely mixed. Stir in the apricot and walnut mixture.

Turn into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or longer, until a tester comes out smooth. (Maida says 1 hour, 25-30 minutes but this would have been way too much in my oven)

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove carefully and let the cake completely cool before wrapping in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight before slicing. The cake can be served at room temperature or cold.

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