Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mom's Applesauce Cake 12/10/2011

batik furoshiki from Japan
No, this isn't applesauce cake. This is a gorgeous hand-painted batik furoshiki she bought the year we were in Japan. I've always loved it, from long before I ever tried to do any batik.

Her applesauce cake recipe was in her old hand-written cook book, with notes for instance on how she cooked the turkey each year when I was a kid. She knew right where it was on a shelf when I asked her, and I made the cake the first week I was there, when she could still enjoy it.

The unfamiliar ingredient in this recipe is cornstarch. What is cornstarch doing in a cake recipe? Well, I think it is like putting it in apple pie; the cake can have lots of applesauce in it, and be moist, without falling apart. This recipe is from long before things like carrot cake and zucchini bread.

In fact, her cookbook says her mother got the recipe from Mom's godmother Mrs Dorsey Ridge.

Mom's Applesauce Cake      ( from Mrs. Dorsey Ridge, approx 1920)

Put in large bowl, then sift together:

2 cup flour
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 Tablespoons powdered chocolate (or cocoa is ok)
1 T cornstarch
(pinch iodized sea salt?)  (Her recipe did not call for any, but it seemed a little bland last time.)

Add and mix in:

1 c nuts  (she used walnuts) optional
1 c raisins

Add and stir in:

1 1/2 - 2 c sweetened applesauce  (1 1/2 may be more like she made, she said.)
1/3 c oil or melted butter  (Or I substitute yogurt sometimes.)

Turn into a buttered loaf pan.
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour
until toothpick comes out clean.
Maybe cover with aluminum foil at the end, if it is getting too dark before the inside is done.

When I was a kid, she kept a canister of 6 times the dry ingredients mixed up. Then she could quickly take 3 cups of that mix to make a loaf.

Great toasted with butter for breakfast.

After Thanksgiving, when she was in the hospital bed, and had stopped eating solid food, I was heating in the microwave a piece of this cake I had made for my brothers' visit, and I heard her call loudly from the bedroom "Cut the bread! Cut the bread!"  I took a piece in there, and broke off a small corner to put in her mouth - and she smiled... so beatifically.

Dec 11, 2011
Just got the oven fixed, after more than a year when I couldn't bake. And the first thing I made, to take to the last day of class, was this applesauce cake. She always used to make it during the holidays, for my sister's and brothers' birthdays. 

Yesterday it was 2 years since she died. Just since the end of summer am I starting to get things done again.

July 13, 2013
I just made applesauce cake again last night. It's funny, I follow the recipe, but it isn't the same as her dense, dark cake. I even put in walnuts this time, like she did. Maybe it's the type of chocolate/cocoa. (I have Guittard, I think she had Hershey's in her cupboard.) And maybe she used her home-made applesauce. . .

The cake keeps well and stays moist.

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