Growing up, fall was announced in two ways. The first, of course, was school. But the sweeter second was when my mother started making applesauce cake. She always made it for Rosh Hashanah along with honey cake and sponge cake, but how we four kids pleaded for it more often! I have no idea why my siblings and I re-named this “Bubblegum Cake” when what I taste today as an adult has no resemblance to any such flavor. Instead, I now appreciate the fragrant combination of spices, not-too-sweet taste and gentle texture. By the way, the original recipe called for mace, which is made from the outside shell of the nutmeg. But nobody today has ground mace in our cupboards, so allspice or nutmeg work well instead.
- 1¾ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose mix, sifted
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon allspice or nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup shortening or softened butter or margarine
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ cup raisins (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of an 8-inch square cake pan (sides need not be greased) and line with wax or parchment paper to fit pan. Sift together the dry ingredients and spices in a medium bowl. Measure butter, eggs and sugar into a large bowl. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Add raisins if using and applesauce. Mix at low speed for 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix at low speed for 1 minute, until blended thoroughly. Scoop into pan and smooth. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until top springs back when touched and cooked through.