Monday, October 10, 2011

Recipe for Applesauce Cake

Applesauce Cake based on a recipe from King Arthur Flour
Every autumn for the last several years, I’ve adopted a Favorite Apple Cake. I’ve baked the recipe over and over until family, friends and co-workers grow tired of it. Then, come the following autumn, a new Favorite Apple Cake arrives on the scene.

The 2011 favorite is about as humble and modest as they come. This Applesauce Cake has no extravagant ingredients or techniques, and leaves few dirty dishes to tell the tale. It’s from King Arthur Flour, which happens to be the source of many Favorite Apple Cakes. They do apples well up in New England.

The recipe calls for whole wheat flour and that’s what I used. I love whole grain baking, though I admit some sweets made that way can taste a little too healthy. Not so with this cake. The flour adds depth of flavor and takes well to the warm spices. Your skeptical friends will not know it’s made with whole wheat. Bake it and keep quiet.

The full cup of applesauce ensures it won’t be dry and crumbly. This cake stays moist for days and its flavor develops more fully with time — that is, if you can keep it on hand that long.

Frosting is not required, but if you do want a little something special on top, a sugar glaze would be nice or, wow, even a chocolate ganache. I love chocolate with spice cake.

I was in the mood for something old-fashioned to go with a homespun cake, so I dug into some mid-twentieth century cookbooks. I landed on a boiled icing, which I flavored with molasses. The bittersweet note of molasses was perfect for the cake. The texture went a tad sugary on me, so I need to make the recipe again to see wherein the err occurred.

But I love the name, “boiled icing.” So vintage. “Boiled” is not a very pretty word and I’m certain it would never make it past a marketing committee today.

Whatever kind of icing you choose, I do hope you like this cake. Perhaps it will be your new favorite, too.

Applesauce Cake
adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 c brown sugar

1/2 c butter
2 large eggs
1 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 t baking powder

1 t cinnamon

1/2 t ground cloves

1 3/4 c whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur)

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 c raisins, or golden raisins, or currants

1/2 c chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs and beat well.

Add the dry ingredients alternately with the applesauce to the creamed mixture. Fold in the raisins and chopped nuts. Stir just until mixed. Pour the batter into a lightly greased 9-inch round cake pan (or spoon into lightly greased muffin tins or cakelet pans). Bake until a cake tester comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and, after 10 minutes, turn cake out of the pan onto a rack to cool completely. Sift confectioners’ sugar over the top, if you like, or frost as desired.


  1. This is why I love to look at cookbooks. I don't really cook and I never seem to have time to bake anymore. It's the yummy pictures that always entice me. If the cookbook doesn't have color photos I'm just not interested. Your photos are so beautiful and look delicious!


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