My LO was supposed to be a Thanksgiving baby, due to arrive on November 21st. But he had very different plans. I actually went into labor on Halloween, the day after Sandy passed through when we still had no power, and I didn't end up delivering until 2 days later courtesy of an emergency c-section. Toss in coming home to 4 downed trees on our property after a week in the hospital, and it has been a very busy month!
Autumn is normally my favorite baking season, but this year, the season almost entirely passed me by, between the last few tiring months of my pregnancy, working at my two jobs until the last minute, and all of the events around my LO making his debut. Because he was so young, we just had a quiet Thanksgiving dinner at our house, with my parents and my FIL. And my parents cooked the whole thing and carted it to my house. Turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cornbread pudding, veggies and cranberry sauce. Seriously, they are amazing.
But for the first time in a long time, I really really really felt like baking something. After all, it was Thanksgiving. And I hadn't had the energy to bake anything in forever. But I had to stick with things that I already had all the ingredients for, because at the time, I was still not allowed to drive after the c-section. Luckily I keep myself pretty well stocked in fall baking staples such as spices, etc. And I also had applesauce, because I was craving it late in my pregnancy. And that's when I remembered a recipe I had seen on Smitten Kitchen's website for a Spiced Applesauce Cake. I already had all of the ingredients, it featured one of my two favorite autumn baking ingredients, and it made an 8x8" cake -- a perfect size for an intimate dinner for five. I just adjusted the spices to suit my tastes, and in no time at all, I had a lovely and easy holiday cake from scratch.
Then add the flour mixture slowly and mix until just combined, and then stir in any nuts (I like pecans, the original recipe called for walnuts). At this stage, the batter will look lumpy and curdled, which is how it should look.
Spread the batter into a sprayed pan and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes, until golden.
Once the cake is cooled, you can add frosting. There is a lovely homemade icing recipe on Smitten Kitchen's site, but I have to admit that I cut a corner here and used cream cheese frosting from a tub (Betty Crocker brand). And you know what? It was still delicious. So don't be afraid to save yourself some time.
This cake got great reviews from the attendees of my humble first Thanksgiving dinner post-birth. The texture was great, the prep was easy, the taste was pure autumn. All in all, a great little Fall cake, all the taste of an apple spice cake with a fraction of the work.
My son approves!
Applesauce Spice Cake
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (about 13 ounces or 365 grams) unsweetened applesauce
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup toasted and cooled pecans or other nuts, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F
- Combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt and spices) together and set them aside
- Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until nice and fluffy, a few minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
- Add the applesauce, mix to combine
- Add the flour mixture slowly and mix until just combined, and then stir in any nuts
- Spread the batter into a sprayed pan and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes, until golden.
- Frost when cooled