This harvest cake is like a flash mob of autumn flavors – it comes from nowhere and demands your immediate attention! Dominated by cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice, with loads of shredded apple, copious amounts of crunchy walnuts, some golden raisins and maybe a little rum (sly grin). I can’t say it’s a light, delicate confection, because it isn’t.
In fact, I’d liken it more to a fruit cake than cake-cake, though it’s definitely not that dense. (And I’d recommend eating it within a few days rather than holding on to it for several months.)
This cake has heft and spice — and is ridiculously moist considering that there’s no fat added. No oil or butter, just buttermilk, applesauce and a few eggs.
This is one of those treats that transitions easily from morning to night. It goes equally well with a cup of coffee or tea for breakfast as it does with the last few sips of wine after dinner.
And because it’s so moist and flavorful, I think that frosting would be redundant.
A sprinkle of powdered sugar is all you need, but if you really want to dress it up, I’d recommend a dollop of freshly whipped heavy cream or a drizzle of creme anglaise.
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup applesauce
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons dark rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 apple peeled, cored, shredded
- powdered sugar optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan or 8x8 inch square baking pan. Spray pan liberally (bottom and sides) with vegetable spray. Place the parchment in the bottom of the pan and spray the parchment with vegetable spray. Set aside.
In a 2 cup glass measuring cup add the buttermilk, applesauce, egg, rum and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Whisk until well combined then stir in the liquid ingredients, shredded apple, walnuts and raisins. Stir several times to assure that dry ingredients are blended into the wet and that the solids are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack to room temperature and dust with powdered sugar if desired.