Friday, December 31, 2010

More Adventures in Baking: Applesauce Spice Cake

I'm not much of a baker. I don't have the world's biggest sweet tooth, but I think it has more to do with the precision required for baking and the inability to adjust seasonings during the baking process. You don't know if you won't like the recipe until it's done and out of the oven!

Thankfully there are a bunch of web sites and blogs out there for people to comment on what's good and bad about certain recipes, often offering ideas on how to tweak to your taste. That was the case for this applesauce cake.

I started looking for apple cake recipes back when our CSA was giving us 20 apples a week, and we were struggling to keep up. However, I was surprised to find that most apple cake recipes didn't have many or sometimes any cut apples in them! I'm guessing that cooks prefer the consistent consistency of applesauce rather than wrestling with the water and sugar contents of different varieties of apples. Anyway, now that I don't have piles of apples to consume or give away, I was tempted to try one of the recipes I came across during my apple cake recipe hunt.

Based on the comments from other cooks, I decided to do away with the icing since it sounded unnecessary and a bit of a pain. I had to do a good bit of googling before figuring out some substitutions. First, I forgot to take the butter out to soften an hour before I started, but I picked up a great tip from Simply Recipes to put the butter between two sheets of wax paper and roll/beat it soft with a rolling pin. It was warm and soft in no time! The original recipe called for turbinado sugar and rum., but I didn't have either of them. Thankfully the internet quickly found light brown sugar and rum flavoring to be appropriate substitutes.

The cake isn't very sweet, but I love the spice flavors in it. I'm going to attribute that to my efforts with the nutmeg! I went out and bought whole nutmeg for the first time rather than substituting ground nutmeg from the jar. It was kind of fun to grate the nutmeg seed, but it'll probably take me a lifetime to go through the whole jar of nutmeg seeds I bought. I better start looking for more recipes that call for nutmeg!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Applesauce Spice Cake
adapted from Fernando's Hideway in Grenadines via Gourmet Magazine via epicurious

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon rum flavor
1 large egg
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
Confectioners sugar

Place oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter pan and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a bowl.

Beat together sugar, butter, and rum flavoring with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until combined well, then add egg and beat until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes with a stand mixer or 5 to 6 minutes with a handheld.

Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing until combined well. Add applesauce and mix until combined well. Spread batter evenly in 10-inch springform pan and bake until a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.

Cool cake in pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove side of pan and cool completely. Sift confectioners sugar over cake before serving.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes

1 comment:

  1. I totally understand about the baking thing. I don't have much of a sweet tooth either, but it's really more that I'm not into precision in cooking. You could try the apple cranberry pie that Brandon made from Cook's Illustrated. He used something like 5 gigantic apples, and it was incredibly tasty (and not that sweet, probably because of the tart cranberries).