About Deborah

Deborah
Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Cindy

Cindy
Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Jan

Jan
Jan is a serious home cook who loves to read recipes and then do her own thing. Her focus is ingredient driven comfort food, often with an Italian influence. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about food and travels (next trip to Italy: May/June of 2012) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Palma

Palma
Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Sandi

Sandi
Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Kim

Kim
Kim joins us after being our permanent sub on the Pomodori e Vino project. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think or The Amy Foundation.

About Jerry

Jerry
Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

Our Subs

About Beth

Beth
Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Amy

Amy
Amy is a teacher in suburban Boston with far too many cookbooks, her Grandmother's meat grinder and canning jars, and a new Wolf stove. She appreciates cuisines from around the world, with a particular fondness for French, Moroccan, Italian, Vietnamese, and Indian cooking. Tweaking her cooking and eating habits resulted long-lasting weight loss and health benefits, proving that living well still tastes good. An old hobby is knitting; and a newer one is canning preserves. Read more from Amy on her blog, Destination Anywhere.

« Chestnut & Porcini Risotto Spirals | Main | Chestnuts with Fennel »

Apple Spice Cake with Chestnuts

By Cindy Ruth

Chestnuts%2012-19-11.jpg

This week our featured ingredient is chestnuts. I've eaten chestnuts a few times, but I never enjoyed them very much. I thought the texture was rather mealy. I liked the flavor, so I figured that I just never had really good ones since most people seem to love them.

Chestnuts are hard to find here in Anchorage. I didn't want to have to mail order any, then I remembered that a few years ago on a visit to Tuscany, I brought back a couple of jars of chestnuts in syrup. I think I ate the first jar on top of ice cream, and for whatever reason never opened the second jar. I won't tell you how many years past expiration they were, because you'd think I was crazy to eat them. But internet searches led me to discover that sweet jams and fruits rarely go bad. They just might deteriorate in quality. So I tasted one, and it was delicious. No funny taste, and I ate the first one about 8 hours ago and I'm not sick yet.

The next decision was what to make. I decided to make apples one of my complimentary ingredients. I was trying to think about what I could make when something got me to thinking about those old-fashioned applesauce snack cakes. You know, the one where you mix everything together right in the pan you're going to be baking it in.

So since baking is somewhat of an art, I had to have a basic recipe to adapt from. A google search turned up a recipe from TreeTop. I skipped the allspice called for in the recipe, and instead used cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. I also skipped the lemon juice and used rum instead. And then most apple snack cakes have raisins. I don't remember whether this original recipe did or not, but I decided to instead use the drained, chopped chestnuts.

The cake turned out really good! Much better than I expected. I would by no means consider this a snack cake now. The rich spices and chestnuts and rum definitely elevate it above that. It would be perfect for any dinner party, plain with just a dusting of powdered sugar on top, or with a little lightly sweetened whipped cream.

If you don't happen to have any chestnuts in syrup that you brought back from Italy on hand, you could always just use raisins (I would prefer golden raisins) or any other dried fruit.

Apple Spice Cake with Chestnuts

1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
grating of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon rum
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2/3 cup apple juice
1/2 cup drained, chopped chestnuts in syrup

In an ungreased 8 or 9" square pan (I used a 10" round pan), combine flour, brown sugar, spices, and soda. Mix well with fork or whisk. Sprinkle with the chestnuts. In a separate bowl or large mixing cup, combine apple sauce, vanilla, rum, oil, egg, and apple juice. Mix thoroughly with fork or whisk. Add liquid ingredients to flour mixture in pan, and mix until all ingredients are combined. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 - 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (The original recipe called for baking for 40 minutes. I had to back mine for 60 minutes or even a little longer to get it cooked in the center.)
Chestnuts%202%2012-19-11.jpg

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Comments (1)

Deborah:

Cindy, It looks so moist and dense. Yummy.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 19, 2011 1:25 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Chestnut & Porcini Risotto Spirals.

The next post in this blog is Chestnuts with Fennel.

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