Included in the Kitchn Round Up.
I am not exactly sure how I started thinking of a liquor soaked apple cake. I had already formed the basic framework for this cake, long before I stumbled on to the inspiration for the recipe; it had to have a lots of apples, nuts and ginger and most importantly it had to be soused.
When my heart desires something so spontaneously and urgently, I have to do it right away. It is a queer whimsical feeling – the urgency for the cake I mean.
I had immediately piled all the basic ingredients on the counter top, planned out my day, only to come back home too tired and too late to bake. So the next morning I jumped into it right away, before anything else distracted me.
The long awaited Thanksgiving is over. We have had a wonderful evening with friends, and way too much indulging. We had been planning a surprise trip for our girls, and it happened this weekend. We went for the Polar Express train ride. It is a magical experience, even though this was our second time. A short 2 hours winding drive away from home, amidst the far stretched horizons, farms and trees which are in all different colors, held us in awe and in harmony with nature. It was a couple of very relaxing days for us and unforgettable fun for the girls.
The Polar Express ride set us in the mood for the holidays; Santa’s hearty ” HO HO” as he handed over the precious bells to the starry eyed children, the loud and excited carols and music, the hot chocolate and the cookies and the dancing in the train cars conjured up to a dreamy holiday mood.
And holidays are all about baking. I cannot do without a well soused fruity cake during the winter holidays. Too many sweet memories of childhood wrap around me in warm embrace as I look back and see how we all got involved in making the batter in really really large bowls.
And this is probably the reason why I could not wait to bake a fruity boozy cake. Not exactly a fruit cake, but something equally spicy and full of fruits and nuts.
The flavors in this cake is subtle. The fragrance of the apple, spices and the ginger only gets prominent as it rests for a day.
But the highlight of the cake is the way it is soused; A and me fell in love with this cognac sauce and the tiny bites of the golden sugar they were rolled in.
Everything put together, this is definitely a winner!
Liquor Soaked Apple Walnut Ginger Cake
- flour to dust the nut (and more if using bundt pan(s))
- 1.5 sticks butter, (about 12 tablespoons) – softened, + more for greasing pan
- zest of one large orange
- 3 medium apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- 1.5 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
- 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup sugar – divided
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder (or any other spice you want to use)- Optional
- 1 teaspoon + 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup + 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
- 3/4 cup bourbon, Calvados, Cognac or brandy - I have used Cognac here
- turbinado/raw sugar or granulated sugar for sprinkling/rolling if using small bundt pan
Note: I have used less sugar in the batter as the cakes are rolled in the sugar after baking. Adjust sugar to your taste. The cake turns out not “too” sweet if not rolled in sugar later.
*Note:I have used about 8 mini bundt pans here. You can use one big 7-8 inch bundt pan, or any other cake pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch rectangular pan with butter, or butter and flour a 9-inch bundt pan (or multiple smaller bundt pans). Put apples in a blender or food processor and purée (do not stop when they are just coarsely grated); remove and set aside. Grate the ginger. Remove fibers if any and combine with the apples.
Dust the walnuts with some flour and set aside.
In food processor, combine 8 tablespoons butter with 3/4 cups sugar and pulse until combined. Add eggs one at a time and process further. Add apple purée and process until just combined.
In a large bowl, combine flour (all purpose and almond) and orange zest and rub in the zest with the flour with your finger tips. Add cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add about a third of flour mixture to apple mixture in food processor. Then, with motor running, add about half of milk; add another third of flour. Add the rest of the milk, then finally last of the flour. Process until batter just evens out. Stir in the flour dusted nuts.
Turn batter into prepared pan(s) and bake until set and the toothpick comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. When done, cool in pan for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine 3/4 cup liquor in a small pot with remaining butter and sugar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and liquid is slightly thickened and like a syrup, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. You may poke some holes in the cake with a fork and then pour over cake; let it sit for at least an hour before serving. (For bundt, let it sit for an hour, then unmold).
Once unmolded, sprinkle some turbinado/raw or granulated sugar on the top before serving or roll the mini cakes in the sugar.
Store at room temperature, covered with waxed paper, for up to 2 days.
Cooking Time: About 1 hour, plus one hour’s resting
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Serves: about 8-10