Wishing you all love, peace, cookies and cake
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9- to 10-inch (about 12-cup) bundt pan. If your pan is not nonstick, dust the interior of the pan with flour, then tap out the excess. Do not place the pan on a baking sheet – you want the oven’s heat to come up through the bundt’s open core.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt and keep nearby.
Working in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed, for 3 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth, thick and pale. Add the eggs one at a time and beat for about 1 minute after each addition; you’ll have a light and fluffy batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the apple butter – don’t worry if it curdles the batter. Still on low, add the grated apples and mix to completely blend. Add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the batter, then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the nuts and raisins.
Turn the batter into the pan, level the top of the batter and slide the pan into the oven. Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 5 minutes before unmolding and allowing the cake to come to room temperature.
To make the icing: The cake is fine served with just a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, but it’s even nicer with a simple confectioners’ sugar icing. Put the sugar in a small bowl and stir in a squirt two of either the orange or lemon juice. Keep adding the juice, a little at a time, until you have an icing that falls easily from the tip of a spoon. Drizzle the icing over the top of the cake, letting it slide down the curves of the cake in whatever pattern it makes. Set the cake aside until the icing dries, a matter of minutes.
Serving: If you have the time, don’t ice or dust the cake, instead, wrap it well in plastic film and let it sit at room temperature overnight. This little rest will give the flavors time to fully blend. If you can’t wait – and waiting is hard, since the fragrance of this cake is so alluring – either ice or dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, cut the cake into slices about 1/4-inch thick and serve, figuring two slices per person, as is, with cream or ice cream, or, better yet, with homemade applesauce.
Storing: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 4 days at room temperature and for up to 2 months in the freezer.