Monday, November 2, 2009

Savoring--Homey, Heritage Comfort Food--Applesauce Spice Cake Recipe

It has been awhile since I have posted a recipe, so today will share my great-grandmother's applesauce spice cake recipe. In its original form, it called for "butter the size of an egg" and, interestingly, 1, 2, or 3 eggs. Apparently, our frugal ancestors used three eggs for a "company" meal, but fewer when baking for the family. Since their eggs were smaller than today's standard large eggs, we have settled on two eggs as the perfect number.
I apologize for the lack of a weekend post. We had a full weekend planned already, when we were saddened by the sudden death of my dear friend's father on Thursday. So, we set aside tasks that could be postponed to be there for our friends.
This homey cake, a favorite comfort food in my family, is one of the dishes I brought to the reception at my friend's house after Sunday's funeral. I will include the recipe for the cream cheese frosting, as pictured. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup chopped nuts; we like it better without them.
Heritage Applesauce Spice Cake
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups applesauce (a 15 ounce jar works)
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup raisins
Cream butter & sugar together. Add eggs and mix well, stirring vigorously until fluffy. Sift dry ingredients into a small bowl (I actually don't bother sifting). Add raisins to flour mixture and sir in to coat with flour (this keeps them from sinking to the bottom).
Add dry ingredients alternately with applesauce to the butter mixture in two or three batches, mixing thoroughly each time.
Turn into a greased 9 x 13 x 2 pan and bake 35 - 40 minutes at 325 degrees F until a toothpick comes out clean (or nearly clean--do not overbake). This recipe also makes nice cupcakes; bake them only about 25-30 minutes.
Cream Cheese Frosting
3 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use low fat neufchatel).
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash salt
2 1/2 cups (or as much of this amount as needed for good frosting consistency) sifted confectioner's sugar (I whisk it in a bowl instead of sifting).
Cream butter and cream cheese together well. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add confectioner's sugar, blending well. If mixture becomes too thick, you can add a few drops of milk.
Question of the day: What recipes or foods connect you to your ancestors and to good family memories?


  1. That looks divine, Mary! Interesting question too...Recently another friend was talking about how in the midwest it is so common to see people putting sliced bread on the table with their dinners. I've never done this, nor did my mom, but I remember my dad's mom always had a plate of sliced bread on her dinner table. My dad had been in the army and one of his favorite meals was SOS (I'll leave that translation up to you) so we had that alot growing up, as well as Spam (which I confess I still like). Of course, being from the midwest, a meal isn't a meal without meat and potatoes! I am so sorry to hear of your friend's loss too.

  2. Autumn, thank you for thinking of my friend and her loss. Your comments about food are very interesting and indicate another variable in our memories about food--regional background. Thank you for the insight.

  3. Sounds very sinful to me.... Come add all the eggs you can; they are a natural food. We are going to try these. Thanks.

  4. ... and thank you for pulling me back to yours! Your great grandma's recipe sounds fabulous and homey and perfect for the season. I will try it!

  5. Killer combo, food and art! Thanks for stopping by so I could follow you back to your wonderful blog. I'm going to make my rounds and then take my time languishing and catching up on your past posts!

  6. Bill, I'm glad you plan to try this recipe--you will like it, I suspect. And it's only moderately sinful :>)

    It's great to hear from you, Beverly. Thank yo for your visit and for commenting so kindly.

    Hi, Megha! Always lovely to hear from you. Wish we could sit down to tea and cake together right now.

    Cool comment, Sheila. I very much appreciate your visit, your generous words, and your interest.

  7. Oh that spice cake..... I closed my eyes and drew a deep breath -almost could smell the freshly baked aroma.

  8. I can't wait to bake this and share it with friends.
    Best to you on your upcoming show!

  9. I'm glad the spice cake provided pleasure, troutbirder. Just think how it will smell for real when you bake it :>). Thanks a bunch for your fun comment.

    Great to hear from you, Susan! Thank you for your good wishes for my show--and hope you enjoy the cake. If you enter "recipe" in the search box at the top of the blog, you will find a few other recipes, including one for easy lemon (or lime) ice cream.

  10. Mary, I love this recipe and it will be baked here soon.

  11. That's cool, Peggy. I am sure you will like it! Thanks for stopping in.