Agnes’s applesauce cake
Yield: 16 servings, or up to 30 thin slices
This recipe actually calls for “one box” – i.e., 2 ¾ cups – of raisins, but not everyone likes that many raisins. You may omit raisins and/or nuts, or substitute other dried fruits. Black walnuts, with their unusual, slightly-bitter taste, are wonderful in this.
This makes a very large cake – plenty to share at Christmas. It becomes moister after the first day.
- 2 ½ cups applesauce (regular or unsweetened)
- 4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup strawberry preserves (not sugar-free)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 ¼ cups (1 lb.) dark brown sugar, packed
- ¾ tsp. to 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¾ tsp. to 1 tsp. ground ginger
- ¼ tsp. ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, lightly spooned into cup and evened
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup coarsely-chopped walnuts, English or black
- 1 ½ to 2 ½ cups raisins
- 2 Tbsp. additional flour
- Preheat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease and flour a tube or Bundt pan.
- Heat the applesauce, stirring often enough to prevent sticking, to a warm but not hot temperature. Remove from heat source and stir in baking soda. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Mix oil, preserves, eggs, brown sugar, spices, and vanilla until well-combined.
- Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add flour mixture to batter in ¾-cup increments, alternating with applesauce. Begin and end with flour.
- Add walnuts, if using. Toss raisins with additional flour, to prevent raisins sinking to the bottom of the cake batter. Discard surplus flour and add raisins to batter. Stir well.
- Scrape batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top of the mixture. Bake for approximately 80-90 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool in pan for 15-20 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.
This is the cake that Gabe rhapsodizes over in GABE: Holidays with the Hometown Hero Book 3.
It tastes like Christmas to me, with its dark fruitiness and spices. It’s dense and rich, like a good pound cake, except with Christmassy flavor. It will accept a drizzle (about 2 tablespoons) of liquor nicely, or a basting with brandy or rum syrup, after it is cool.
Want to check out GABE? You can find him HERE.