Tipsy Chestnut Cake

2 Cups All Purpose Flour

3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Five-Spice Powder

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

3/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

2 Cups (10 Ounces) Very Coarsely Chopped Roasted Chestnuts

3/4 Cup Dry Red Wine (Such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Pinot Noir)

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Crimson Wine Syrup:

1/4 Cup Dark Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed

1/3 Cup Dry Red Wine

Pinch Salt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease and flour an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, five-spice powder, baking powder and soda, and salt. Make sure all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined and distributed throughout before adding in the chopped chestnuts. Toss to coat with the flour to prevent the pieces from sinking to the bottom of you cake while baking, and set aside.

Mix the red wine, applesauce, and vanilla in a separate bowl before introducing those wet goods into the bowl of dry goods. Use a wide spatula to bring the two together, stirring just enough to combine without over-mixing. It's perfectly fine to leave a few lumps remaining. Transfer the batter to your prepared loaf pan and smooth out the top before sliding it into the center of your oven. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes, until deeply browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the red wine syrup by simply adding the wine, brown sugar, and salt into a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook just until the sugar has dissolved if you'd like the wine to retain a bit of its alcoholic bite, or allow it to simmer for 5 - 10 minutes to lessen its boozy punch.

Once the cake is baked but still warm, poke it numerous times with a skewer to allow the syrup to penetrate deep into the crumb, and pour the hot syrup all over. Let cool completely before removing from the pan. Although the cake tastes best the next day after soaking a bit, it's quite delicious to slice and serve as soon as it's cool.

Makes 8 - 10 Servings

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.BitterSweetBlog.com