For The Cake
3 1/3 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 2/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
For The Frosting (optional)
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, to sprinkle over top of cake
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting top of cake if not making the frosting
1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Coat the sides and center tube of a 10-inch bundt pan with butter. Toss in flour and shake the pan to coat the tube surface and sides. Knock out the excess flour. Set aside.
2. Place a mesh sieve over a medium mixing bowl and add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Shake the contents into the bowl and set aside.
3. Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl. Stir them briefly with a fork to break them up slightly, then add the dark brown sugar. With the mixer on high speed, beat the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is very thick, about 6 minutes. Move the beaters around the bowl and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula several times while mixing. Reduce th mixer speed to medium and beat in the oil and vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the flour mixture alternately with the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Fold in the walnuts with a rubber spatula. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
4. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack. Remove the pan and let the cake cool completely. Either frost cake, or if desired, sift confectioners' sugar over cake.
To Make Frosting
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Frost cake. Sprinkle top of cake with chopped walnuts.
The baked cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 days, or refrigerated for up to 1 week. It may also be frozen for up to 3 months. Wrap the cooled cake (unfrosted) securely in plastic wrap, then place it in a freezer-strength recloseable jumbo-size plastic bag. Label the bag with a waterproof marker and freeze. Defrost the cake, in its wrapping, overnight in the refrigerator or at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.
Makes 12 servings.
Date: September 10, 2002