Saturday, November 10, 2012

Homey, Heritage Comfort Food--Applesauce Spice Cake

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.
This homey cake, a favorite comfort food in my family, is a hit whenever I bake it. Individual pieces freeze well in a well-sealed container (handy for our household since it is a large cake and we try not to eat too many sweets). I will include the recipe for the cream cheese frosting, as pictured, although we also like it simply dusted with a bit of powdered sugar rather than frosted. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup chopped nuts; we like it better without them. And, yes, for readers with long memories, I have posted this recipe before, but it has been awhile, so thought new readers might like hearing about it. For some reason, it pulled the original comments along when I posted it again--I decided to leave them in.
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 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. you made me crave for a cake! yum!
    bibingka known as sticky rice delicacy in the Philippines definitely connect me to my ancestors. my beloved granny (now my angel) used to cook it for the whole family and it's really delicious!

  2. I LOVE cake!! I think I shall have to give this a try one of these days. Here is the bad thing though. I rarely make cake at home? Why? Because when I bake at home, cakes specifically, I can eat the whole 11 x 13 size pan myself. In two days if I manage to put the brakes on myself, one if I'm myself run amok!

  3. Wish I could have tried your Grandma's sticky rice delicacy, Cher; I love the versions I've tried. Thank you for checking in with your food memories.

    Haven't seen your Crimson Leaves name for awhile, but I think you are still Sherry, right? Your response gave me a chuckle. Why do you think I bake this cake only when we have company to help eat it and then freeze all but two remaining pieces? It takes a bit longer to nuke a frozen piece, which sometimes slows me down a bit.

  4. I'm glad you posted this recipe again. It sounds like a good one. Borscht and potato pancakes are comfort foods that instantly make me think of home and family. They were two of my dad's favorites, and I can distinctly remember his sigh of satisfaction and praise for my mom's cooking.

  5. Hi, Anne! Thanks for stopping by; would love to have you here in town for a visit and a piece of cake.

    You have brought your memories alive with your expressive description, W2W. I appreciate your visit and response.

  6. Yumm. Reminds me of the applesauce cake my mom used to make. She would put a brown sugar frosting something like caramel on it. She also made a similar one with grated orange peel in it and then put the juice of the orange mixed with sugar on top. Memories .. made me smile.

  7. Oh my, everyone is making me hungry today with all these fantastic recipes. :)

    Thanks for your lovely comment Mary. I see you are as busy as ever.

  8. Jo, my mother also used to make a caramel frosting, which she used on a homemade version of yellow cake we called "Sunshine Cake". Happy for your memories and smiles; thanks for stopping in.

    Yes, Joan, I am busy, but at this semi-retirement point, I stay only as busy as I want to be (mostly :). It seems as though we all like to see recipes; I call cooking and baking my "second art form"--and mean it! It's a basic art form very central in all human cultures.

  9. Hi Mary,
    I just wanted to let you know I tried your recipe and it was a HUGH hit! Everyone loved it and kept coming back for more. Thanks for posting it! Told my mom to try it too.

  10. Wow, what fun!--I am so pleased to hear that, Anne! It seems to be one of those recipes that always comes out well, so am glad it worked well for you, too.

  11. I like to make cups Cakes alot and cand apples with caramel on them. Happy thanksgiving.

  12. Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Cupcakes and caramel apples are yummy.

  13. Oh my I do love applesauce spice cake. It been a long time.... my mom used to make it. :)

    1. Great to hear from you, TB! Glad the post triggered some yummy memories for you.