Saturday, November 12, 2011
applesauce spice cake
When I asked my dad what desserts he ate growing up, he said – without a moment's hesitation – applesauce cake. And he always made the icing while his mother made the rest of dinner.
This was quite something, as my dad has a notoriously bad memory for what happened when he was growing up or, really, any time in the first thirty or forty years of his life.
Apples, he said, grew in their yard and they were free and they kept, so they ate them a lot. Applesauce cake, apple pie, apple roly-poly, plain old applesauce . . . they ate a lot of apples.
(In fact, dad also tells the story of how eventually his mother decided she didn't like applesauce. But she had to eat it throughout her life. Even when she was dying, people kept making her applesauce because they thought it would be an easy thing to eat, little realizing it was the last thing she wanted.)
So, it was only fitting that when dad came to visit us last weekend, what should he bring but apples? Two kinds: wind falls and Bramley's Seedling, which dad says are the best cooking apples out there. Add those to the box of Cox's Orange Pippin apples friends brought us the weekend before and I decided there was nothing for it but to make applesauce cake.
This is a humble little cake. It is not excessively sweet or moist or modern. But somehow, it's just right. I found myself eating one bite and thinking, "Hmmn, that's pretty good." And before I was done chewing I had the next bite ready to pop in. Suddenly, I was done a whole piece of cake and I had hardly noticed.
You may look at the recipe and be alarmed about the nuts and raisins. (Do you, like me, sometimes find raisins to be an interloper in cake?) Stay calm. The raisins are chopped and somehow they just meld right into the dough and make it good. Seriously, won't you try it just once with the raisins, for me?
By the way, this recipe comes via my great aunt Marjorie (my grandmother's sister) from what looks like a church cookbook. The original author is Mrs. L. Faulkner on Lulu Island, B.C. Thank you, Mrs. L. Faulkner.
Last November: west african peanut soup via Winnipeg
applesauce spice cake
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. chopped raisins
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
2 c. sifted cake flour
56 g. (1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. + 2 tsp.) pure oat flour
56 g. (1/2 c.) sweet white sorghum flour
56 g. (1/3 c.) sweet rice flour
56 g. (1/3 c. + 1 tbsp.) tapioca starch
56 g. (1/3 c. + 1 tbsp.) potato starch
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease 8" x 8" cake pan.
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and mix. Stir in the nuts and raisins. Set aside.
Stir the flour(s), salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon together. Alternate between adding this mixture and the applesauce to the butter mixture. Pour into pan.
Bake about 30 minutes, until your cake poker comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack.
3 tbsp. butter
1 1/2 c. icing or powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
(about) 2 tbsp. milk
Cream the butter and icing sugar together. Beat in the vanilla. Add the milk a bit at a time until you get the consistency you'd like. Spread over cooled cake.