It’s almost sinful to call something OLD FASHIONED today but I’ll gladly use that term to describe this sinfully delicious APPLESAUCE CAKE I made. What makes it so good? Attention to sticking to a tried and true formula that will spark all your memories of applesauce cakes of your youth. If you don’t have that shared history it’s time to make Applesauce cake memories of your own. As always I reach into that memory box of mine and pull down from it’s shelf the aroma of my mother’s Applesauce cake. This isn’t technically hers because I never knew how she made it. Mom had lots of apple cake recipes. Crisps, PanDowdies, Cobblers, Pies, Loaves, Cakes. Some were a blend of All purpose flour and other pantry staples, some were part of that BISQUICK family of cakes, others were simply using a commercial Spice Cake mix and adding apples. Her Applesauce cake, unlike mine, was made in those Round Tube Pans. Peppery, spicy, warm and aromatic, she sometimes added diced apples to applesauce batter and would glaze it. There’s an idea, a glazed one but I’d add diced crystallized ginger to the top. Back to the style that I make..it’s baked in a rectangular pan and cut into squares. It can be frosted, left plain, glazed, or a simple dusting of powdered sugar. Out here in Monmouth County New Jersey where I live we have a few really nice “farm” and gourmet markets with in house bakeries. One of them, Delicious Orchards of Colts Neck N.J. makes a delicious apple spice cake with a white icing on it that is just about one of my favorites. If you want to make homemade applesauce for this cake recipe I am giving you, this is the Delicious Orchards recipe:
- 16 to 18 Granny Smith, unpeeled, apples
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 TBS butter
- 1 TBS lemon juice
- Nutmeg and cinnamon (optional)
Quarter apples, remove core and cut each piece again. In a large saucepan, add apples and bring to a boil, stirring to prevent burning. Reduce heat and cook until apples are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If applesauce seems too thick, add more water; if too thin, cook longer to thicken. Put through a food mill or sieve and add butter. Gradually add sugar tasting for desired sweetness. Add lemon juice, 1/2 tsp. nutmeg and/or 1 tsp. cinnamon; taste and, if you like, add more. Makes approximately 2 quarts.
Or you can simply use your own or a good brand. My cake uses the spicy mix of my mom’s with the white icing of Delicious Orchards, but I do a basic Cream Cheese Icing. It’s awesome. I must tell you, I screwed up when making this. The crushed walnuts and the raisins get folded in after you have finished the batter. Well…even with the bag and box of the two ingredients RIGHT NEXT TO THE MIXER, I was so excited to get this cake made…um…they are still not in the cake. Still delicious. I wound up just sprinkling some of the crushed walnuts over the frosted cake. It’s a win-win regardless of including the fruit and nuts or not. Successful recipe anyway. I base my recipe off of the Land O’Lakes Applesauce cake recipe with a few changes. Ready to bake? Let’s go…preheat that oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 13 X 9 ” pan well, then lightly flour it.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar, I used Vanilla Sugar (see note on bottom)
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Paste or Extract
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup raisins dusted with some flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick butter (1/4 lb)
8 oz REAL Cream Cheese Not a spread, the bar type
3 cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 tbs. Vanilla Paste (or 1 1/2 tsp. extract) PLEASE USE THE REAL STUFF, NOT IMITATION
1/8 Tsp. salt
Add all the ingredients into the Mixer bowl for the cake EXCEPT the raisins and nuts. Mix on low till all is well blended scraping down on the sides. Then beat on High Speed stopping to again scrape down the sides until the batter is smooth. Now fold in the nuts and the raisins. The flour you shook the raisins up with helps to suspend the raisins in the batter and keep them from sinking to the bottom. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. The sides should have pulled away a bit from the pan and the center will be springy when done. Let this cool COMPLETELY on a rack for 3 hours. I hurried the process by sticking it out the window and right into the 30 inches of snow that came up to the sills of the kitchen windows. Chilled that cake RIGHT down. LOL…but one doesn’t always have a quick chill handy like that, so wait the 3 hours.
Can you smell that?? It’s spice heaven. NOW, onto the icing. While your cake is cooling or while you were baking it, add the butter and creamcheese to the mixing bowl and slowly cream the two. When they are blended start to slowly increase the beating to medium and slowly add in the sugar and the salt. Add the vanilla and beat on high until it’s completely blended and it of nice firm consistency. Place in a cool spot, covered until your cake is ready to frost.
Simply frost the top till it’s all covered. Crumble toasted walnuts over the top if you like.
I used the paste and you can see the Vanilla Beans in the frosting. Delicious. CHILL THE CAKE FOR 1 hour before serving. Then slice into squares and serve. It’s amazing.
So, here’s the note about Vanilla Sugar..I was in Central Europe this Summer and of course was picking up ideas and recipes. Almost all of their sweet baked items use Vanilla Sugar which is simply made by slipping a whole Vanilla bean into a canister of regular sugar. Let it sit for 5 days before you use it. Keeps for a long time and the vanilla essence is really great.
Now time for a glass of milk or a nice Black Coffee (only black for me thank you) and a square of my Applesauce Cake. Happy Cooking!!