I love the earthiness of old-fashioned cakes but I often wish they had more flavor. Apples and raisins are great together in a cake but I thought some bourbon would give it more depth, so I infused the raisins with bourbon before adding them to the batter. A splash of bourbon in the cream cheese frosting didn’t hurt either.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 × 2-inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pan. Tap out the excess flour.
- Combine the raisins and bourbon in a small bowl, cover, and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- Place the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on medium, add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing just until combined. Stir in the applesauce. Fold in the raisins (including the liquid) and chopped pecans with a rubber spatula and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, rounded side up, and cool completely. Spread the Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting on just the top of the cake (not the sides!) and artfully place the pecan halves on top. Serve at room temperature.
- Make ahead: Bake the cake, cool it, wrap it well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. Frost the cake just before serving.
- Place the cream cheese, butter, bourbon, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar and mix well. Scrape down the sides and stir well with a rubber spatula.
Recipe courtesy of MODERN COMFORT FOOD. Copyright © 2020 by Ina Garten. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House.