Apple Spice Cake

  It is a very rainy day today, so wanted to bake something. The recipe for Fresh Apple Spice Cake is from Ina Garten’s new cookbook, Make it Ahead. I have all of her cookbooks and find the recipes are always right on for directions and timing.
 This was no exception and everyone enjoyed it. I served it with some frozen yogurt and did not drizzle with the hot caramel sauce she suggested, but I’ll bet that would be good also.
 Don’t be spooked by the long recipe list. It uses ingredients that most of us have on hand. If you are not using the Kosher salt called for, cut back on the amount. Kosher is larger grained and you will have too much if you use the same amount of fine table salt. Notice that this is a spice cake in case your family doesn't like spices.
Fresh Apple Spice Cake
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup rum (or ½ tsp of rum flavoring and the rest water to make ½ cup)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar lightly packed (I used light brown)
3 extra large eggs (I used 3 large)
¾ cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ pounds Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, cored and ¼ inch diced
Vanilla ice cream, and Caramel sauce to serve
 Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch baking pan.
 Place the pecans on a sheet pan and toast in oven for 5 minutes, set aside. Combine the rum and raisins in a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 60 seconds, set aside.

 In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla and orange zest on medium speed for 3 minutes. Sift or stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, spices into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, just until combined. Drain the raisins, discarding any liquid left. With a rubber spatula, fold in raisins, pecans, and apples. Spread into greased and floured pan. Smooth top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center come out clean. Set aside to cool, cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of warm caramel sauce if desired.

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