Take the chill out of an autumn day with the warm spices and full apple flavor of this surprisingly healthy cake.
How did we make this cake a little better for you? We lightened it up by using less canola oil than a typical cake recipe would. Instead, moisture comes from applesauce. (Bonus: more apple flavor!) A generous amount of tart Granny Smith apples also lend moisture and natural sweetness. We've combined a cup of whole-wheat flour with standard all-purpose flour too. Whole-wheat flour has more protein, fiber and nutrients but using too much of it would make the cake dense. This ratio is just right.
Finally, toasted pecans and raisins soaked in rum extract are worth the couple of extra steps -- they add both texture and flavor. (If you're not into the taste of rum, you can just soak the raisins in water.) Dollop on a little whipped topping for some cool, creamy contrast and you've got a perfect fall treat.
Apple Spice Cake
Yield: 16 servings
Vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 Tablespoon rum extract
1/3 cup water
3/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and 1/4-inch-diced (3 to 4 apples)
8-ounce container of frozen, fat-free whipped topping, thawed
Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with vegetable oil cooking spray.
Place pecans on a rimmed sheet pan and toast them in the preheated oven for about 5 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine rum extract, water and raisins. Microwave for 60 seconds.Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, honey, eggs, applesauce, canola oil, and vanilla. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes.
Sift the flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture, until just combined.
Drain raisins and discard liquid. With a rubber spatula, fold the raisins, pecans, and apples into the batter. Spread into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool, cut into squares, and serve warm or at room temperature topped with about 2 Tablespoons of fat-free whipped topping.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: 307 Calories; 8 grams Fat; 1 gram Saturated Fat; 43 mg Cholesterol; 99 mg Sodium; 56 grams Carbohydrates; 3 grams Fiber; 5 grams Protein