Apple spice cake
In the fall the orchards are aglow with red, green, and golden globes. Apples have long been the mainstay of winter fruits because of their keeping ability and cooking versatility, and this cake's extra moistness makes it a keeper too!
For the cake...
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 cups finely diced peeled tart apples
1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1½ cups (packed) dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
½ cup buttermilk
½ cup applesauce
For the syrup...
1/3 cup Calvados or applejack
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
6 strips lemon zest (3 x ½ inches)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch tube pan or a 12-cup bundt pan.
  2. Using a fork, stir the flour, baking powder, spices, and baking soda together in a bowl.
  3. Combine the apples, raisins, and walnuts in another bowl, and add 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture.
  4. Toss to coat the fruit and nuts. Set aside.
  5. Combine the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl and cream until the mixture is light and creamy.
  6. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then stir in the buttermilk and applesauce.
  7. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beating just until blended. Then stir in the reserved fruits and nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  8. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, 1 hour. Let the cake cool, still in the pan, for 1 hour.
  9. Prepare the syrup: Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and heat just to a simmer.
  10. When the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and set it aside for 15 minutes.
  11. Unmold the cake and place it on a serving platter. Prick the cake all over with a wooden skewer.
  12. Remove the lemon zest from the syrup, and brush the top and sides of the cake until it has all been absorbed.
From The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.
Makes 12 portions.