Chocolate Applesauce Weekend Cake
2 cups sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 tsp. vanilla powder
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 3/4 cup flour (unbleached all-purpose)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (a high quality brand)
23 ounces unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. Cointreau
1/2 tsp. sea salt
I make this in either a full sized bundt pan or in small bundt pans. I am a little 'bundt' crazy- I have, let's see, my Grandmother's bundt pan that she used to make a cake called 'Harvey Wall-Banger Cake,' it is so seasoned that cakes just slide right out- I also have a fleur de lis bundt pan, six miniature bundt pans and a medium sized bundt pan with a geometric pattern. There are no support groups I am aware of, but if you hear of any, let me know. I eye the bundt pan designs in the Williams Sonoma catalog with ropes of drool...
So anyway, this either makes one full sized bundt cake, or, 6 small cakes plus one medium sized cake. Cooking time varies for each size, but we'll get to that at the end. Once you've chosen your pan, spray liberally with Pam (Pam is just great, isn't it?). We are going to coat the pan with sugar now that we've sprayed it, but there's a technique I've discovered that is helpful in avoiding pools of Pam and sugar, which kind of spoil the visual appeal of your cake. You might have noticed that once you spray the interior with Pam, it might start to pool at the lowest points. To get rid of these pools and remove them before you coat the interior of the pan with sugar, just turn the pan over and allow the excess to drain in either the sink or over the garbage can. Then, add sugar, a little less than 1/4 of a cup should do it. Shake to coat evenly and tap out excess, set aside.
Preheat your oven to 325. In a standing mixer, combine the butter and sugar until well mixed. Add the eggs and vanilla powder, mix until combined. Add the applesauce and mix just a little. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, ginger, cloves, cocoa powder and sea salt. Add to the wet mixture in 2-3 stages, using a spatula to scrape down the sides and to make sure the very bottom of the bowl is being included in the mixing (sometimes my Kitchen Aid seems to forget about the very bottom...). Add the Cointreau and mix.
Good work! Now, using a spatula, empty the contents of your mixing bowl into your greased and sugared pan. Smooth the top using the spatula and pop it in the oven! For a full sized bundt pan, bake for 2 hours (yes, really!), for a medium sized bundt pan, 1 hour, and for the small bundt shapes 45 minutes. When you remove from the oven, allow to rest for 15 minutes. Then, overturn onto a wire rack.
You may not be able to wait to try this cake until it's cooled, but I highly recommend waiting! This cake is better when you eat it the next day. It's incredibly dense and moist, even though it was baked for so long. Plus, since there's so much applesauce in it, you can count it as one of your fruit or vegetable servings... To store, just cover with plastic wrap.
Options! You may add 4-6 ounces of chopped bittersweet chocolate to the batter, this is a wonderful addition. You may also omit the sugar coating of the pan. The small bundt cakes in the picture do not have the sugar coating.