This cake is a fall and winter workhorse. It is soft, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and dark rum, sweet with apples and raisins, and ever so slightly spicy with parsnip. You can make it a night ahead; it holds well. Serve it as Christmas breakfast, with tea or coffee, or as a hostess gift. Make it just because you feel like it. The apple cider in the glaze isn’t too pronounced; if you want it to be more so, you can boil-concentrate three tablespoons worth with warming spices if you like. (Or, instead of the apple cider, try some of the raisin liquid in the glaze.) Any remaining raisin liquid should definitely be repurposed into a cocktail. Feel free to increase the amount of raisins, or to add toasted walnuts. If you don’t have golden baker's sugar, substitute 2/3 cup light brown sugar and 2/3 cup white sugar instead. —Cristina Sciarra
Test Kitchen Notes
Delicious! I have already eaten half the cake! The texture is amazing -- super tender without being too fragile. The flavor is spiced and autumn-y with a hint of booze. I grated the apple and parsnip superfine, and they are not even identifiable in the texture. I cannot wait to make this again. —Katherine
8 to 10
plus 3 tablespoons apple cider, divided
vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
unsalted butter, at room temperature, + more for greasing the pan
Add the raisins, 1/3 cup of the apple cider, the rum, and the vanilla bean, scraped, both seeds and pod, to a small bowl or container. Cover the bowl or close the lid on the container and allow it to sit overnight. (Alternatively, you could simmer all those ingredients together for about 20 minutes. Just allow the liquid and the raisins to cool before adding them to the cake.)
Heat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch diameter Bundt pan.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and the sugar for 3 to 4 minutes, until the sugar fully melts into the butter and fluffs up. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing as you go. Sift together the flour, the baking powder, the ground cinnamon, the nutmeg, and the salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing the batter on low speed, just until everything is incorporated.
Meanwhile, peel and core the apple. Peel the parsnip. Shred both. You can use a box grater, but I like to use the shredding disk of my food processor. Add the shredded apple and the parsnip to the batter.
Drain the raisins but reserve the raisin liquid. Add the raisins to the batter, along with 2 tablespoons of the raisin liquid. Mix on low speed, just until combined. (Any leftover raisin liquid should be put toward a cocktail or hot toddy for the cook.)
Spoon the batter into the greased Bundt pan and move the pan into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Out of the oven, allow the cake to cool for at least 1 hour.
While the cake is cooling, make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar with the remaining 3 tablespoons apple cider and the lemon juice. (Or, substitute some of the remaining raisin liquid for the apple cider.)
Take the cake out of the pan and move it to a plate. Pour the glaze all over the top. Covered, this cake is good for up to 2 days.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.