For the cake:
1 lb. golden raisins
1½ cup apple brandy (may substitute apple cider for 1 cup of the brandy)
2 to 3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
1¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil (or coconut oil, melted)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
¾ cup black walnuts, coarsely chopped
For mascarpone cream:
8 oz. mascarpone
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup brandy (can reduce to 1 Tbsp. brandy and 1 Tbsp. apple cider)
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
- For the cake: Two days before serving, combine the raisins and apple brandy in a medium bowl. Cover the bowl and let the raisins macerate at room temperature overnight.
- One day before serving: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the apples into eights and arrange them in a single layer in a small baking dish. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake until soft, about 30 minutes
- Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Generously grease a 9-to-12 Bundt pan with nonstick cooking oil spray.
- Transfer the apples to a blender, remove the center knob from the blender lid, and cover the opening with a clean kitchen towel to contain any spashups. Process to form a puree. Transfer 1 cup of the puree to a large bowl. (Reserve any remaining puree for another use.) Add the sugar, oil, and vanilla extract to the puree, and stir until well-incorporated.
- Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger, and stir into the apple mixture.
- Add the walnuts and half-and-half to the raisin-brandy mixture and stir to combine, then stir that mixture into the flour-apple mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the cake is firm on top, 40 to 50 minutes. (The cake will be sticky in the center.) Transfer the pan to a rack to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- For the mascarpone cream: Whisk together the mascarpone, brown sugar, and brandy until smooth. Add the cream and whisk until slightly thickened. The yield is about 3 cups.
- To serve, use a blunt knife to carefully loosen the sides and inner ring of the chilled cake. Place the Bundt pan in several inches of hot water for 5 minutes, then dry the outside of the pan. Invert the serving plate over the top of the pan, and hold plate and pan together securely while inverting them so that the cake falls onto the plate. (You might have to give it a little shake.) Serve a small amount of mascarpone cream with each slice of cake.