I’ll Be Home for Christmas [Spanish Spice Cake]

I can’t believe it has almost been three months since I first came to Spain, and a whole year since I started this little blog. (Something about time flying?) In one week, I’ll be home in Ottawa for a quick visit over the holidays. I am having a great time here, but am excited to be with my family and friends at home in snowy Canada!

My puppy at home on a frozen pond -- picture by tomshap :)
My puppy at home on a frozen pond — picture by TShap :)

Before I left for Huelva, my mum planned a really lovely send off. There was a band, an awesome mix of my friends and family, and of course, great food. The food was Spanish themed (but of course) and alongside the pitchers of sangria, Spanish meats, olives, and tapas there was a great spread of desserts. My wonderful mother organized everything and I basically showed up and enjoyed myself. So I did as I was told, and stayed out of the kitchen; the only thing I made was this Spanish Spice Cake.SONY DSC

A few days before the party, my mum was trying to think of what Spanish things she could include on the dessert table. As she was falling asleep, she suddenly remembered a “Spanish” cake that my nana used to buy from A&P when she was a kid. The next morning she googled “Spanish cake A&P” and that is how we came up with this recipe! It’s dark and moist, with a good touch of cocoa. This would fit in perfectly as a holiday dessert with the warm spices that are featured here (Also, cakes like this are the best “air freshners’. Cake in the oven? Best smell to welcome guests with.).

Dunlop enjoying some of the party decorations the next morning.
Dunlop enjoying some of the party decorations the next morning.

Aside from the people, one of the things I miss most about home is my time in the kitchen. The kitchen is in the centre of our home, and the area is opens up into the family room, so the kitchen is where everyone gathers to chat and relax (and cook, obviously). I made this cake during one of my last evenings in Ottawa while one of my best friends sat chatting with me at the counter and sipping on tea. I love that easy feeling of getting stuff done in the kitchen surrounded by your favourite people — I guess it’s what I would call my happy place. Looking forward to being with them back in that kitchen in just a few days! I may or may not have been singing “I’ll Be Home From Christmas” a ridiculous amount this weekend…

Spanish Spice Cake (recipe adapted from cooks.com)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups brown sugar
3/4 cups white sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
5 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ginger
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup applesauce
1 cup plain yogurt
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups raisins
Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, or mini chocolate chips.

Put the raisins in a bowl of warm water for about 15 minutes, until they get plump.
In a large bowl, mix together all the drink ingredients. Stir in the oil, butter, applesauce, yogurt, and eggs, until well combined.
Drain raisins and stir into the batter. Add nuts or chocolate chips if you’re including them.
Pour into a greased 9×13 pan, or this will make 3 small loaves as I did.
Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes.

Apparently the original A&P cake is topped with a buttercream frosting, but we thought ours was tasty without. Delicious with your morning coffee or tea, and the spices intensify after the cake has sat for a few days so left overs are tasty, too!

Spanish Spice Cake at the centre of the dessert table!
Spanish Spice Cake at the centre of the dessert table!

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