Top | Still Life with Menu Cookbook
(recipe, Mollie Katzen)
This is a moist, dark cake. If you choose to add the spices, the flavor will take on an air of mystery. It is almost a spice cake, understatedly chocolate, with a touch of orange, and all the luxurious qualities of an applesauce-nut cake.
This recipe is minimally sweet, so if you prefer a sweeter dessert, you can increase the sugar to 2 cups or use sweetened applesauce.
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) soft butter
- 1½ cups brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ½ tsp. grated orange rind
- 3 cups unbleached white flour
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
- ½ tsp. allspice (optional)
- ¼ tsp. nutmeg (optional)
- 1 cup finely ground walnuts (use a food processor fitted with a steel blade or a blender, with brief spurts)
- 1½ cups unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup yogurt or sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a standard-sized tube pan.
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
- Stir in the vanilla and orange rind. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients (including the optional spices or not). Stir them into the ground walnuts.
- In a third bowl, whisk together the applesauce and yogurt or sour cream until well blended.
- Add the dry mixture and the applesauce mixture alternately to the butter mixture (dry-wet-dry-wet). Stir just enough to blend after each addition.
- Turn the batter into the prepared tube pan. Bake 45 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees. The cake is done when a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean.