Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spiced Applesauce Breakfast Cake

I'm just starting out honestly, with "breakfast cake."  I know there's a fine line between bread and cake - (banana bread and carrot cake?) and this is a non-dessert cake.  It's not a bread.  It's also not super sweet.  It's breakfast cake, but you can have it for dessert if you want.

I was looking to make applesauce cake for two reasons:
1. I had too many apples, and am not interested in things like crisps, crumbles, pies, tarts; and
2. When I was a teenager, there was this orchard/farm market by the mall and they made amazing applesauce cake.

So working off the idea that cake can be made of applesauce - and not just in the swap-the-oil-for-applesauce-in-the-Duncan-Hines-mix-way - and that I needed to use some apples, I went to work.

Except, it's hard for me with desserts.  I don't like really sweet things.  Also, I have no idea how that applesauce cake I grew up with was made.

But it worked.  A very lightly sweet cake (dust it with powdered sugar and you get a bit more sweet in every bite) that's not really CAKE in the plan-your-other-meals-to-account-for-it way.

Step one: Applesauce
I used to make applesauce by simmering apples and pushing them through a fine sieve. It was tedious, but fairly direct.  Apples, heat, sauce.  I am now the proud owner of a food processor, so it was much less time consuming, but I made applesauce all the time when I didn't have a food processor, so don't let that get in your way.  This is what food mills are for, if you have one of those.

I had four apples to start with.  These were Fujis from Bird in Hand, PA.  If I had five apples, that would be ok too.  I wanted a cup and a half of sauce and came up just short.

Apples were quartered, cored, and the skins were scored.  Then dropped in near-boiling water (disregard the temperature in the photo).  Simmer until soft, 20-30 minutes.

Run under cool water and drain. Peel skins.

Puree (or mill, or push through a sieve).

I came up just shy of a cup and a half (that's a cup-and-a-half measuring cup).  Apple size is going to vary.

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease and flour a pan. Or just flour, you know your own pans.

I went with a brownie pan. 

I took a stick of butter, a quarter cup sugar and a half cup brown sugar and creamed them together.

I beat an egg into the mix, and added the applesauce.  Since I was a bit short on sauce, I added some cider too.

I sifted some flour (half whole wheat, half AP) with baking soda and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves).

And slowly incorporated it into the wet ingredients, stirring gently.

Once your dry goods are wet, it's go time.   Spread the batter into your pan, and pop it in the oven.  Set a timer for 30 minutes, but expect it'll take 45.

After 30 minutes, do a toothpick test.  You want it moist, but not raw.  Let it cool, then turn it out and maybe very liberally apply powdered sugar, since it's really not a sweet cake on its own.

With tea I'd call it breakfast, with milk I'd call it dessert.  If I was all alone on the couch I might call it dinner.

This is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.  

Become a member-owner (like me!) by filling out the application here.

Spiced Applesauce Breakfast Cake
Moist, barely sweet and nearly good for you.

  • 4-5 apples
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup, 4 oz) butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour (I mixed AP and whole wheat)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' or powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup (use to fill in for missing applesauce) apple cider (optional)
Core and quarter apples, and simmer until soft (20-30 mins). Peel and puree - either in a food processor, food mill, or through a fine mesh sieve. Or start with some applesauce and go right to step 2. 

Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in egg. Mix in applesauce and optional apple cider. 

Sift dry ingredients (except the confectioners'/powdered sugar) together. Sift again into wet ingredients. Fold in, stirring gently. 

Spread mixture into a buttered and floured brownie pan. Bake at 350 for 30 min to 45, testing with a toothpick.

Let cool, turn out the cake and dust with confectioners' or powdered sugar.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 10-20 servings

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