There are many old recipes for applesauce (or prune or peach or apricot) cake. Some of them use 2 or 3 eggs, some not any. This depended somewhat on the price of eggs, and in winter, when the hens were not laying, the cake was usually made without eggs. Prunes, plums, peaches, or apricots may be used as well as apples. If using fresh or dried fruit, simmer it, covered, in a little water until it is quite soft. If canned, no cooking is needed. Drain, and sieve or chop well before adding to the cake.
Total Timeunder 1 hour
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian
Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner, tea
Taste and Texturebuttery, fruity, spiced, sweet
Type of Dishcake, dessert
- ½ cup butter or lard
- 1 cup white sugar or firmly packed brown sugar (less if the fruit is sweetened)
- 1 egg
- 2 cups sifted all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 to 1¼ cups thick applesauce or other fruit (see headnote)
- ½ cup raisins or currants
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
Cream the butter or lard well and cream in the sugar very well (if using sweetened fruit, decrease the sugar by 1 or 2 tablespoons). Beat in the egg. Sift the flour with the other dry ingredients and add alternately with the fruit sauce. For a loaf cake use 1 cup sauce; for a sheet cake 1¼ cups. Turn into two 8 × 8 × 2-inch pans, an 11 × 14 × 2-inch sheet cake pan, or a 5 × 9 × 3-inch loaf pan. Grease the pan well or put greased paper in the bottom. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 35 minutes for layers, 45 minutes for a sheet cake, and 55 minutes for a loaf The cake is done if it springs back when pressed lightly in the center. Cool in the pan on a rack.
Applesauce cake is not usually frosted, although some people like to frost it with browned butter frosting with nuts or serve it topped with ice cream or whipped cream. The cake is better after the first day, and keeps well.
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1972 James A. Beard