Ginger-Cardamom and Cranberry Applesause Cake

I love picking apples at Old Stone Orchard in Adamsville, RI. This cake was inspired by their tart Granny Smith apples and sweeter McIntosh, which I combined to make a homemade chunky applesauce. You could also try Fuji apples or another of your favorite varieties. It’s worth making fresh applesauce for this cake—you can make it in advance to save time on the day of baking. For serving, the cake goes especially well with ginger ice cream, in my humble opinion.

By | November 21, 2017

Ingredients

Applesauce:
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 3 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup apple juice or fresh apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
Cake:
  • Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter for pan
  • 3–4 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light molasses
  • 1¾ cups homemade applesauce (see above)
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • ¾ cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional for garnish)
  • Ginger ice cream (optional for serving)

Preparation

For the applesauce, combine apples, ginger, apple juice/cider and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When apples are fork tender, stir in sugar, cardamom and salt and cook for an additional minute. Cook for 1 more minute, breaking up any large chunks of apples with a fork for a somewhat lumpy consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (Applesauce may be made 1 to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. There will be slightly more applesauce than is needed for the cake.)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease with softened butter, being sure to get into every crevice. Dust evenly with breadcrumbs and shake out the excess.

For the cake, sift together flour, ground ginger, cardamom, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer or stand-up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the sugar and oil over medium speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating the mixture after each addition. After eggs are fully incorporated, add in the molasses, applesauce and buttermilk. Mix on low speed just to combine. With a wooden spoon, fold in the crystallized ginger, pecans and dried cranberries. Remove bowl from mixer and add flour to the wet ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until evenly combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake, rotating occasionally, for 60 to 65 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer or cake tester in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, the cake is done. Transfer cake to a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a cake plate and cool completely.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve with ginger ice cream if desired.

About this recipe

WINE PAIRING: Oremus Late Harvest Tokaji, Hungary Grapes for this notable wine from Hungary’s northeast wine region are picked later in the season to allow for at least 50% of the grapes to be affected by “noble rot.” The wine is sweet, but not too sweet. The tart cranberries and applesauce in Jennifer’s spiced cake are buoyed by notes of citrus from the Tokaji, accompanied by its long, warming, honeyed finish.

—Marc Berry, Grapes & Grains Fine Wine, Spirits and Craft Beers, Barrington

Ingredients

Applesauce:
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 3 McIntosh apples, peeled, cored and cut into large chunks
  • 1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup apple juice or fresh apple cider
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Pinch of salt
Cake:
  • Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter for pan
  • 3–4 tablespoons fine dry breadcrumbs
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ cup light molasses
  • 1¾ cups homemade applesauce (see above)
  • ½ cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • ½ cup crystallized ginger, chopped
  • ¾ cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional for garnish)
  • Ginger ice cream (optional for serving)
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