- Molasses mixture:
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 cup dark molasses
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup (6-ounce package) dried apricots, julienned
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 8 Granny Smith, Braeburn, or pippin apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
- Cake layer:
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 large egg
- Whipped cream, for serving
To make the molasses mixture: In a tall 6-quart pan, bring the water and molasses to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. The mixture will foam up. Set aside to cool.
In a medium saucepan, blend the brown sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup apple cider, the butter, cinnamon, salt, and cloves. Cook over medium heat until clear and thickened. Stir in all but 1/4 cup of the plumped apricots. Stir in all but 3/4 cup of the apples. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish; set aside.
To make the cake layer: Sift the flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, pepper, and salt together into a medium bowl; set aside.
In a mixer bowl, using the mixer on high speed, cream the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg, beating until creamy. On low speed, alternately blend in the dry ingredients and the molasses mixture. The batter will be thin. Stir in the reserved apricots and apples. Pour the cake batter over the fruit layer in the baking dish. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted just into the cake layer comes out clean. Let cool slightly and serve with whipped cream.
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