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$500 Winner: Sweet Category

Judith Arp | Wise County EC

This fragrant cake is dense with apples, coconut, pecans and golden raisins. A sweet buttermilk sauce, drizzled over the cake while it’s still warm, ensures a moist texture. “We have a family get-together every October,” Arp says. “This cake is always requested and always a big hit.”

3 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups canola oil
1/3 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups peeled and chopped Granny Smith apples
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 cup Texas pecans, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, or coat with nonstick spray.

2. CAKE: Whisk together eggs, sugar, canola oil and orange juice in a large mixing bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, making sure not to over-mix. Stir in the apples, coconut, pecans, raisins and vanilla.

4. Pour the batter mixture into the prepared pan and bake 1 hour 20 minutes, or until the cake is firm and springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan on a rack.

5. SAUCE: Heat butter, buttermilk, sugar and baking soda in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring occasionally, and then remove from heat and cool 5 minutes.

6. Slowly and carefully, pour the warm sauce over the cake in the pan. Allow the cake to stand and absorb sauce at least 1 hour before inverting and removing from the pan. Wrapped in plastic, this cake will keep up to 3 days.

Serves 8–10.