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Chocolate Applesauce Cake

Chocolate Applesauce Cake
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 2006 ed.), pg. 79.

You will have to forgive me for veering slightly off track with this recipe. I normally make everything exactly as written. There is a popular recipe website that I refer to often and I always read the user reviews because they have helpful tips from people who have actually made the recipe. Often, however, a person will have changed so many ingredients that it no longer resembles the original recipe. It drives me nuts!

I made 2 changes for this and I feel they are slight ones. First, I decided to use chocolate chips instead of raisins. So many of Maida's recipe call for raisins but after all the holiday baking, I was sick of them. The second change made me wary but I decided to cut the sugar back and substitute applesauce. I do this on other non-Maida recipes and it works fine. This recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar (a lot!), so I used 1 1/4 cups of sugar and 3/4 cups applesauce. Of course, this is additional applesauce with the 2 cups already called for. In all, 2 3/4 cups applesauce. The recipe supplied below, however, is the original recipe as supplied in the book. Do with it what you will.

The results were spectacular. Like she says in the introduction, this is a very moist, pudding-like cake that slices beautifully. I've even made super thin slices from it and there is no crumbling or collapsing whatsoever. The cake has a mild chocolate-y flavor and it is not overly sweet. Now, if you use the 2 cups of sugar called for, perhaps it would be sweeter? Not sure - if you make it with all the sugar, let me know. It was sweet enough for me and you also get the slight kick from the cinnamon and nutmeg.

And, as for the chocolate chips, they provided occasional soft spots with chocolatey goodness. I liked it!

3 oz. raisins
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS. unsweetened cocoa (preferably Dutch process)
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups walnuts or pecans, in medium-sized pieces
Optional: Confectioners sugar for garnishing

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a plain tube pan that measures 10 inches across and line the bottom with parchment paper. (Note: I used a Bundt pan for this and did not line in, just sprayed it with a baking spray and heavily dusted it with bread crumbs. I had no issues with sticking).

Cover the raisins with boiling water and let them stand for about 5 minutes. (Or you can skip this step and use chocolate chips!)

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Cream the butter and add the sugar, beating well.  Add the eggs one at a time. Beat at high speed for one minute after adding the last egg.

Lower the speed and slowly add the sifted dry mixture in three additions, alternating it with the applesauce. The mixture will have a curdled look.

Remove from the mixer and stir in the nuts and the raisins. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 70-85 minutes. The cake will come away from the sides and spring back lightly when pressed when it is done. 

Cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack and carefully remove the cake from the pan and allow it to cool completely. 

Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, if desired.


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