Sunday, November 8, 2020

Ina Garten's Applesauce Cake with Bourbon Raisins {Perfect for your Holiday Table}!


Dear Ina,

I am obsessed with your latest cookbook, Modern Comfort Food. In my opinion, it is your greatest work. Your best cookbook. I have bookmarked almost every single recipe in it. A few weeks ago I tried your Kielbasa with Mustard Dip and I have made it four times since then. It has become an all-time favorite. I tell everyone I know about it.

Last week I tried your Seared Salmon with Red Pepper Aioli and Emily's English Roasted Potatoes which were also a hit. If I could get quality salmon easily I would've made that one again as well. 

Today I made your Applesauce Cake with Bourbon Raisins and Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting. All of your desserts in the book look delicious, but this one was calling my name the most! I am crazy about cream cheese frosting and your picture in the cookbook made this look so irresistible.

Ina, I don't have the words to tell you how very delicious this cake is. It's absolutely MINDBLOWING. I knew it before I even took a bite. When I saw the luscious bourbon cream cheese frosting dripping over the moist flavorful apple cake I just knew. I took a bite and it was total perfection. It was a good thing I was alone with my slice of cake because I snarfed it down with wild abandon. It was not lady-like whatsoever. 

The cake was still slightly warm, with the perfect balance of flavors and incredibly moist. The bourbon was spot on, just a hint of flavor really. The Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting was luscious and dreamy. I think this was, hands down, the best cake I've ever made. I immediately took half to a friend and her family so they could share in the joy.

If there was a mountaintop here in Kentucky, you would find me at the top screaming about how wonderful this cake is. I think EVERYONE should make it a part of the holiday dessert table, from now until the end of time.

Yours Truly, 



Applesauce Cake with Bourbon Raisins

Adapted from Modern Comfort Food

by Ina Garten

Serves 8

3/4 cup golden raisins

2 tablespoons good bourbon, such as Maker's Mark

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for the pan

1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg*

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves*

1 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

12 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows*

Whole pecan halves, for decorating


Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Modern Comfort Food

by Ina Garten

Frosts One 9-Inch Round Cake

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoon good bourbon, such as Maker's Mark

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted

*Note: 1/2 pound confectioners' sugar is equal to 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x2 inch round cake pan, line with parchment paper,then butter and flour the pan. Tap out the excess flour.

To Make The Cake: Combine the raisins and bourbon in a small bowl, cover, and microwave for 30 seconds. Set aside for 15 minutes.

Place the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on medium, add the vanilla and the eggs, one at a time, and mix until smooth.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter, mixing just until combined. Stir in the applesauce. Fold in the raisins (including the liquid) and chopped pecans with a rubber spatula and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

To Bake The Cake: Bake for 40 to 45minutes, until the top springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool for 30 minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack, rounded side up, and cool completely. Spread the Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting on just the top of the cake (not the sides!) and artfully place the pecan halves on top. Serve at room temperature.

To Make The Frosting: Place the cream cheese, butter, bourbon, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, slowly add the sugar and mix well. Scrape down the sides and stir well with a rubber spatula.

Barrel of Apples @ IHCC


  1. I heard your call from the mountaintop. In fact, it really doesn't take much convincing that it'd make a great holiday dessert. Thanks, Kim.

  2. Ina is my queen. I was going to put this on my Christmas list, but I ordered it before I even finished reading your blog post. This cake!!!!!

  3. You had me at cream cheese frosting! Oh, and Ina, obviously.

  4. I just have to get this book. I am loving your review and what you have made so far.

    Also, I want to thank you for your kind words about Instagram (you weren't dumped, I dumped Instagram). I started blog posting again, missed it. Will let you know if I get that Ina book!


Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment! At the moment I am having a huge problem with spam so I've had to add comment moderation and close off comments to anonymous users. I apologize for the trouble and hope to return my comments to normal shortly.