This cake is a variation on my recipes for pumpkin/banana/zucchini bread. But the maple syrup and applesauce lend it extra richness and flavor. And, when I made it, I used leftover walnuts which I'd tossed with cinnamon and sugar for another recipe. The way that the sugar granules got stuck in the walnuts' crevices amped this cake up to another level. —Cara Eisenpress
Toss the walnuts with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, baking powder, and raisins. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the egg with the sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, applesauce, and vegetable oil until thick.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet just until well blended. Stir in the apples and the nuts (making sure to scrape out all the sugar with the nuts).
Pour into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, until a knife inserted into the middle comes out without any batter stuck on it. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and let stand on a rack. If you can stand not to devour it, this cake keeps well for 5 days to a week.
I'm the founder, editor, and head chef at the blog Big Girls, Small Kitchen (www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com), a site dedicated to easy-to-execute recipes and stories from a quarter-life kitchen. I'm also the author of In the Small Kitchen published in 2011.