Spiced Apple Cake with Cinnamon Cider Glaze

Spiced Apple CakeCake Walk

This week I am full-on geeking out.

“Why?” you might ask.
“Because Halloween is Monday,” she said.
“Why would that cause you to geek out?”
“Because I was a history major, and my main focus was Celtic history.”

Still confused? (Buckle up. It’s about to get nerdy…)

The modern day celebration of Halloween has it’s roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which celebrated the end of the summer and the harvest season. The Celts believed that during the festival of Samhain, the spirits of their ancestors would walk amongst the living. Villagers would make offerings of food and wine in order to make contact with the spirits of loved ones who had passed away.

With the good comes the bad. So, for those spirits who were not welcome, the villagers would wear disguises so that they would not be recognized. And the costumed villagers would then lure the evil spirits away with a parade.

As Christianity spread across Europe, the harvest holidays (including Samhain) were basically absorbed into a Christian celebration called the Feast of All Saints and All Souls. So, the food and wine offerings were replaced with soul cakes, which were spice cakes that were baked and given to the poor. They would in turn pray for the souls of the departed as thanks for receiving the cakes.

The concept of Halloween arrived on American shores with the Irish Immigrants in the mid-19th century. Halloween, as we know it, complete with peanut butter cups, Trick-or-Treating, and rubber masks, didn’t really come about until the 1950s. (If you’ve made it this far, thank you. My kids would be rolling their eyes and writhing in pain right now.)

This Friday, my daughter’s school is having their Fall Fest carnival with games, pie eating contests, and the most popular attraction of all…the Cake Walk.

The Cake Walk is basically musical chairs with Devil’s Food. Families donate a cake and the kids walk around in a circle to Halloween-themed music. When the music stops, you find a number. And, if your number is called, you win the cake of your choice. Yee Haw!

Since there is a cake decorating contest to go with it, most people bring Halloween-themed cakes. I, however, will be going the super-traditional spice cake route, as only a card-carrying history nerd can. It will probably be picked last.

Spiced Apple Cake with Cinnamon Cider Glaze
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons apple pie spice (This can also be made by combining equal parts cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup applesauce, preferably homemade
3 cups peeled and cored apples, cut into 1/2″ chunk (about 2 large apples)
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10″, 10- to 15-cup capacity tube or bundt pan.

Beat together the first six ingredients until light and fluffy (about 4 to 5 minutes).

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. The the batter should be fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.

Beat in half the flour, then a 1/4 cup of the applesauce. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then repeat with the remaining flour and applesauce.

Fold in the apples and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (about 55 to 60 minutes).

Remove the cake from the oven, and cool for 10 minutes before turning out of the pan.

Glaze with Cinnamon Cider Glaze when completely cooled.

Cinnamon Cider Glaze
This is not optional and so good. We currently have the Boiled Cider on the shelf
It is also adapted from King Arthur Flours

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon boiled cider
3 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream
A pinch or two of salt, to taste

Sift the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon into a medium-sized bowl.

Add the boiled cider along with 3 tablespoons of the cream. Whisk the mixture until smooth.

Slowly—Whisk in more cream, until the glaze has the texture of molasses.

Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.

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