Richard Thomas’ Apple Spice Cake & Whiskey Frosting

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Moist, apple-and-nut-filled slices of spice cake taste even better spiked with whiskey frosting or sherry glaze. Actor Richard Thomas shared his recipe with the Chicago Tribune in 1973, the year after he won an Emmy for his portrayal of John-Boy Walton in The Waltons. Walton-esque in its old-fashioned stylings, Thomas’ spice cake is full of nuts & raisins and is moistened with applesauce. Slathered with whiskey frosting, it’ll take you all the way down home

Makes 8 to 10 servings

For the cake Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp each: cinnamon, soda
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • pinch salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups raisins
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 16-ounce jar chunky applesauce

For whiskey frosting Ingredients

  • 1/4 softened butter
  • 1 Tbsp whipping cream or milk
  • 1 16-ounce package confectioners sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tbsp bourbon whiskey


  1. Sift dry ingredients together. Combine nuts and raisins; stir in 1/2 cup of the flour mixture. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs–one at a time–beating thoroughly after each. Alternately add flour mixture and applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in raisin mixture. Spoon into greased 10-inch tube pan.
  2. Bake cake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes (or until toothpick inserted in center or cake comes out clean
  3. Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes. Remove from pan.
  4. Make frosting: Combine butter with whipping cream. Beat in about 1 cup confectioners sugar. Then beat in remaining sugar adding 3 to 4 Tbsp whiskey, or enough to make frosting of spreading consistency

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