Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Archive Recipe: Applesauce Cake

One more apple recipe, please. This cake is sort of a re-run since it’s a simple variation on this cake. When I made that cake as a vehicle for this pumpkin applesauce, I wanted to prove to myself that it would be just as good as a simple applesauce cake and/or a simple pumpkin cake. Um, that original cake happened in 2011. Two thousand freakin’ eleven! That was three years ago! How is it possible that I went without making a simple applesauce cake for three years?

Well, now, with more than enough lovely homemade applesauce on hand, I had no excuses. This is, of course a good cake. Simple and delicious. Because the applesauce adds subtle flavor, I can taste the whole wheat in the whole wheat pastry flour I use to make this a little less, oh, I don’t know, junk food. I’m sure this would be good with all all-purpose flour if you prefer.

In addition to using un-pumpkined applesauce, I also reduced the pumpkin pie spice in my original test to mere cinnamon. Apples and cinnamon. Come on. Horse and carriage, here. I think you could add some things to this cake, like chopped apples, pecans or walnuts, or raisins, but if I went that route, I would definitely use a larger baking pan (say, a 9-inch square). As it is, the applesauce cake fills an entire 8-inch pan as it bakes.

While you could fiddle with streusels or drizzles or icings to top this cake, I really love the simple cream cheese frosting. I could eat it with a spoon all by itself. And since I’ve been stuffing apples into baked goods, I should probably eat a few apples all by themselves, too. I know there are all kinds of them out there among those pumpkins and Brussels sprouts.

Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from smitten kitchen

I think you could stir some additions like nuts or raisins or even chopped apple into this batter. If you do, however, you will very likely require a larger baking pan, such as a 9-inch pan. As it is, this cake totally fills an 8-inch pan when baking.

For the cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups unsweetened applesauce

For the frosting
5 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter or spray well with cooking spray an 8-inch (or 9-inch) square baking dish or pan. Set aside.

2. To make the cake, in a medium-size bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Whisk together until well-combined.  Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, beat together the whole stick of butter and brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy, about a minute or two. (Use a hand-held electric mixer or heavy-duty mixer if you can.) Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.  Beat in the 1 teaspoon vanilla and the applesauce.

4. Mix in the flour mixture a little at a time.  Stir until just combined.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out without any raw batter clinging to it.  (Since this is a moist cake, it may come out with some moist crumbs.) Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

6.  When the cake has cooled, prepare the frosting. In a medium-size bowl, combine the cream cheese 3 tablespoons butter, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla.  Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.  Sift in (please sift…I often forget and end up with lumpy frosting) the powdered sugar and cinnamon. Beat until smooth. Spread the frosting evenly over the cake.

Makes 9-12 servings. Store in the refrigerator.         

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