Bake a spice cake for your favorite person

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Holidays can be celebrated in many special ways from luxe to homey, and there are many flavors that can be brought into play to complement loving feelings.

This caramel-glazed raisin cake is spiced with the warmth of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Baking it for a favorite person would be a tasty token of affection -- or more: Presenting it with a gift card or a kiss could clearly convey the cook's sentiments.

Caramel-Glazed Cinnamon Raisin Cake

(Preparation 15 minutes, cooking time 55 minutes)

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole-wheat flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/4 cup orange juice

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

For caramel glaze:

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons light cream

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Crystallized ginger, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10-inch tube pan.

In large mixer bowl, combine brown sugar, flours, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add milk, oil, orange juice, vanilla extract and eggs. Beat on low speed until ingredients are moistened. Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Fold in raisins and walnuts. Pour into pan.

Bake 55 minutes or until sides of cake are browned and pulled away from pan. Cool 20 minutes, turn out of pan and cool completely.

To prepare caramel glaze:

In medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, cream and salt. Bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cool slightly and whisk in confectioners' sugar and vanilla extract. Smooth over cake. Garnish with crystallized ginger, if desired.

Makes 12 servings.

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