Applesauce Cake With Bourbon Raisins

Score another big hit for barefoot contessa and her cookbook, Modern Comfort Food.

My husband asked me to make this cake as an option for Thanksgiving dessert, and, yeh, this is gonna be a go-to cake for sure.

Moist, rich, delicious, and nicely spiced (full disclosure, I added allspice to mine) and  pretty easy to toss together from scratch, except…

I did not have a deep enough nine inch

cake pan, and opted to use a nine inch spring form pan instead. Worked a treat!

I did place the spring from pan on a rack in a rimmed baking sheet because, leakage happens, but all was well.

•3/4 golden raisins
•2 tbsp good bourbon
•10 tbsp (1¼ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
•3/4 cup sugar
•3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
•2 tsp vanilla extract
•2 large eggs, at room temperature
•1-3/4 cup flour
•1-1/2 tsp baking soda
•1 tsp ground cinnamon
•1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
•1/4 tsp ground cloves
•1/4 tsp ground allspice
•1 tsp kosher salt
•1-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
•1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting:
•6 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
•6 tbsp (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
•1 tbsp good bourbon
•1/2 tsp vanilla extract
•2 cups + 2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

Note: because I was using a spring form pan, I lined the bottom with parchment paper and did not worry about buttering and flouring the pan. If you do have a nine inch by two inch deep cake pan, go by this trusty formula:


Combine one tablespoon of flour together with one tablespoon of solid shortening and one tablespoon of canola oil with a fork until you have a paste. Brush this evenly over the inside of your cake pan. Your cakes will pop out of the most complicated of pans with no trouble, and there will be no white flour splotches, either. Bonus!

OK, back to our cake!

Heat your oven to 350º.

Pour two tablespoons of the bourbon over the raisins in a ‘wave-safe bowl, then microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from the ‘wave and let rest for 20 minutes or so while you make the cake.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, spices and slat together in a bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter together with the sugar and the brown sugar on medium speed in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment for three minutes, until fluffy. Then add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time.

Continue to mix until smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, then slowly add the flour mixture. I added it by 1/4 cup scoops, and mixed just until it was smooth.

Fold in the bourbon soaked raisins, including any liquid from the bowl, and the chopped pecans and mix well.

Transfer the batter to your prepared cake pan of choice and bake.

Note: the contessa called for baking about 45 minutes, but my cake took 70 minutes in my spring form pan until a wooden skewer inserted in the center came out clean.

Also note: my spring form pan is 2-3/4 inches deep, and you can see how high this cake rose. Mebbe consider a cake pan deeper than two inches or wider than nine inches.

Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a rack while you make the frosting.

Beat the cream cheese, butter, bourbon, and vanilla in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth.

Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, again, I went with 1/4 cup scoops until you have a nice, thick, smooth frosting.

Scrape down the sides and stir well with a rubber spatula.

Transfer the cake to a cake plate and frost the top with the frosting.

If you like, some additional chopped pecans on top are just the thing!

Serve at room temperature.




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