Applesauce Spice Cake

When I reflect on my (f)unemployment of the past 7+ weeks, I realize that, in a way, it’s really been a win-win situation for not only myself, but all my friends. You might not understand what I mean, so let me explain. I used to have a job where I worked all the time, as did my coworkers, so I enjoyed bringing in treats for them. The extracurricular hours that went into this process were borderline excessive, but I didn’t want to stop. At the same time that my coworkers were getting delicious treats from me, I was getting guinea pigs to test my latest concoctions. However, I was also tired and cranky a lot.

Now that I don’t go into an office every day, it sometimes seems harder to find motivation to bake. The irony of the situation is that now I have plenty of time to make things and no one to eat it all. I’m certainly not baking for myself, and there is no longer a large group of people I see every day, so my sample audience is smaller.

Fortunately for me, it’s still football season so I have a captive test group once a week. One person I see every gameday is (affectionately called) Little Mike, a guy I grew up with and thus have known my entire life. There were 3 Mikes in my grade, and at the time he was the shortest… he is not anymore. I didn’t even give him the nickname, a teacher did! Anyways, he kindly hosts us every Sunday. When I recently commented that I travel all that way to his house every week- 50 miles round trip, mind you – for his 60″ TV and surround sound, and he expressed offense that I wasn’t solely there to see him. Well, I received this recipe from Gourmet via email from him one day after that, and the attached note simply read “Just sayin’…” Well I heard you, buddy.

Since I try to contribute something to Sunday Funday when I go to Mike’s place to watch the Giants, and it’s always the same people, I’m in the habit of making something new every time. I have a giant catalog of recipes still waiting to be tested, so it’s not usually hard to find something to bake for the day. However, I’m always open to suggestions from people. “Give the people what they want,” is what I say… (I have said once, in this post… You were there.) While they’ll happily nosh anything I bring, why not bring something I know they want?

So this spice cake sounded heavenly, and easy, and if Mike wanted it, he was gonna get it. The description says it’s perfect for October, but as someone who ate it in November I can attest that it’s great anytime in the fall, so you still have plenty of time to bake this, and you should. The only thing I changed from the original recipe is that I added some extra spice, because if “spice” is featured prominently in the title, you should be cashing in on it.

APPLESAUCE SPICE CAKE – Makes 16 servings

for the cake:

  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar – packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce (snack pack applesauce containers are 1/2 cup each, fyi)
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts (optional) – chopped and cooled

for the frosting:

  • 5oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Start by preheating the oven to 350ºF and putting a rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour an 8″ or 9″ square cake pan. (I used an 8″.)You can also toast the walnuts in the oven while it’s warming up.

Whisk together your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder and soda, and salt – in a small mixing bowl. In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Then add the eggs one at a time and mix until incorporated.

Then add applesauce and spices and mix until blended evenly. You can also add the spices to the dry mix, but for some reason I didn’t. Who knows what I was thinking, but pictures don’t lie.

Then mix in the flour on low and beat until just combined. Stir in the walnuts if you’re using them.

Spread the batter evenly in your cake pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. You might need the higher end of the range if you’re using an 8″ cake pan. Make sure to test with a toothpick for doneness!

While your cake is cooling, you can start on the frosting. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla on high speed until fluffy. Add cinnamon and powdered sugar and beat until it’s all mixed together. Make sure the cake has completely cooled before frosting.

Cut cake 4×4 or, for bigger pieces, 3×4 or 3×3 if you wish. There will be plenty for everyone, I assure you. And the reviews on this were all fantastic. One girl threatened to slap me, and others kept yelling “shut up.” I should probably start hanging out with a less violent, more articulate group of people, huh? In any event, this is a pretty badass seasonal treat, so in slap threats alone I’d rate it at Evil Level 3.

Enjoy!

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