Jan 4, 2013

Walnut Raisin Snack Cake with Dulce de Leche

The idea of dried fruit soaked in booze reminds me of my paternal grandmother making our family´s treasured recipe for plum pudding, a recipe brought from Ireland by my great (or was it great-great?) grandmother. The funny thing is that  was my mother´s side of the family, but turns out my father´s side kept the tradition alive.
Anyway, that´s not this cake of course, that one took days to make, a large part seeding raisins, because, according to those who had tasted the original recipe make by the original baker, it tasted differently with `those new raisins with no seeds´.

A snack cake is always handy. It can be served with coffee or tea, left on the counter to snack on it during the day, or embellished with a dollop of something sweet and silky like dulce de leche and call it a dessert. Any way you eat it it feels somewhat wholesome, almost like it has some kind of whole wheat flour in it, which it doesn´t.
The flavors are all there and it depends of how much spices you add to it. I grate a lot of fresh nutmeg into the batter, just because I love it. And using my deep smelling vietnamese cinnamon did make a difference. But it´s not crucial.
It has quite a lot of raisins and walnuts in relation to the amount of batter. It´s definitely a fruit and nut cake, which I think are terribly underrated and good to consume year round.

a bit adapted from Maida Heatter´s Book of Great Dessert, by Maida Heatter

Makes 8 servings

2 cups raisins
1/3 cup cognac
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 Tbs cornstarch
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
A few gratings fresh nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 ½ cups (230g) applesauce, I used this recipe
2 cups (200g) walnut pieces, toasted and very coarsely chopped

Powdered sugar, to dust
Dulce de leche, to serve

Soak raisins in cognac for at least 6 hours or overnight. Turn mixture occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a baking tray, distribute walnuts evenly and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool and reserve.
Spray or butter a 9x13 inch baking pan and dust with fine, dry breadcrumbs.
Sift flour, cornstarch, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cocoa in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl beat butter until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating well until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Beginning with dry ingredients, add them in three additions, alternating with applesauce in two additions. Mix only to incorporate.
Add raisins with any liquid and walnuts and mix without beating. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until top springs back when lightly touched and a tester comes out clean. Don´t overbake it.
Let cool on wire rack and serve dusted with powdered sugar and a dollop of dulce de leche.


  1. The cake looks irresistible, esp. that one drizzled with dulce de leche.

  2. I'm utterly drooling over this!!! booze soaked cake with dulce-de-luce - OH MY !!! what a perfect way to start the New Year!!
    Mary x

  3. OMG! That looks so good, I want to lick my computer screen!

  4. The cake itself sounds delicious! Adding dulce de leche is a bonus not to be missed! Thanks Pau!!!

  5. I totally agree with you, Paula - one should always have a snack cake lying around. Especially one packed with as much flavour and yummy ingredients as this one! I need to run out and buy some dulce de leche. I'm too scared to make it at home - maybe that should go on my culinary bucket list for 2013. I love how your family's traditional recipe is so old, seedless raisins weren't invented yet!

  6. This cake would be dangerous sitting on my kitchen counter...it looks and sounds wonderful.

  7. Another outstanding cake, Paula...and that dripping dulce de leche is killing me! I want to swoop in with my finger!!!

  8. This looks fantastic! Just a beautiful…love the dulce de leche running over the top…yummy!!

  9. Oh, the glaze....yum! I could wax poetic about a great cake glaze...

  10. I would have liked this along with the cup of tea I just drank! Looks great!

  11. Snack cake? More like the cake that would not stop calling my name until I ate every single crumb.

  12. Anytime a recipe by Maida Heateer appears I listen! Her recipes and directions are foolproof. I will agree the swoop of dulce de leche is seductive! A voluptuous cake for the New year!

  13. This cake wouldn't stay long in my home.. :D It sounds just irresistible!

  14. This cake looks wonderful! I love baking with alcohol and I love baking with dried fruit but I've never combined the two. I will have to try that soon.

  15. i loooooooove boozy fruit in cakes!! boozy prunes in a brownie are one of my things.
    'snacking cake' - it's a term i've only heard of in american books/recipes - it's not a phrase we use in australia.


Your comments make my day! Thanks for taking the time to leave a note.