A partially-used jar of unsweetened applesauce has been in my refrigerator for quite some time…tempting me to bake something yummy. I’ve found applesauce to be a good ingredient for making whole grain baked goods moist and tender and when I spotted a recent recipe on one of my favorite blogs, budgetbytes.com, it helped me decide what to make.
The recipe featured on the blog was Anne Byrn’s 1917 Applesauce Cake and it intrigued me because it’s an old recipe, and the book it’s from features the history surrounding each recipe. A description from the post:
The recipes are arranged in chronological order from the mid 1600’s through the present and Anne discusses the changing culture of each era and how events shaped the use of ingredients and baking styles of the time.
This sounds like a book I need to check out!
Since I was using my freshly-milled whole grain wheat flour, I looked to my whole grain baking bible, Laurel’s Kitchen Bread Book. The book includes an adaptation for an applesauce quick bread. I also wanted to try this treat with less sugar than Anne Byrn’s version.
I blended these two recipes together to create my take on it:
- 100 gm granulated white sugar (1/2 c)
- 3 tbsp canola oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 c unsweetened applesauce
- 125 gm + 1 tbsp freshly-milled soft white wheat flour
- 125 gm freshly-milled hard white wheat flour
- 2 tsp baking poder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 c raisins
- preheat oven to 355°; grease and flour 8×8 pan
- toss raisins with the 1 tbsp flour
- in small bowl mix sugar, oil, and salt with a spoon; stir in applesauce
- in medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg
- pour liquid ingredients into flour mixture and stir; fold in the coated raisins
- spread into prepared pan and bake 42 min.
- cool about an hour, slice into 12 pieces
The baking time was a too short — the cake was rather soft and sticky when sliced. It didn’t have a typical, loose cake crumb. It was more like a dense and moist quick bread.
I also found this adaptation to be rather bland. I think that the Laurel’s Kitchen recipe assumes the use of sweetened applesauce, so by reducing the sugar by half of the amount from the 1917 recipe and using unsweetened applesauce it wasn’t sweet enough.
After tasting it, I wish I’d used some of my boiled cider. It would have helped the mild applesauce flavor, adding an intense and tart punch of apple. Increasing the sugar and using butter instead of oil would have likely also helped it.