Monday, December 20, 2010

Applesauce Cake

So here we are in the final run-up to Christmas and snowed in. London is suffering sub-zero temps and 4 inches of snow (which is a paralyzing amount in the UK!) with more predicted each day up to Christmas.

So, stuck at home I wanted something comforting and reminiscent of my childhood. Voila - Applesauce cake.

I had an assortment of apples that had seen better days but were still edible which I made into applesauce. Very simple to do - peel and core apples, cut into bite-size pieces. Dump apples in saucepan with 1 star anise, 1 clove, 1 cardamom, and a piece of cinnamon stick(bark). Add about 1/2 cup of water, pop on the lid, and let it simmer gently until the apple pieces are falling apart when stirred with a spoon. Fish out the spices and discard, then bring the sauce to a low boil and stir while watching carefully to boil off any remaining excess liquid. When the sauce looks nice and thick, take it off the heat, let cool.  No sugar needed, and it's ready to be eaten as-is or used in recipes.

Applesauce Cake -

¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs
2¾ cups  flour
1½ tsp salt
1½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp nutmeg - freshly grated!!!
¾ tsp cinnamon
2 cups applesauce
¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). If you have a fan oven - be careful and adjust it per your experience*

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Blend in eggs.
Sift together dry ingredients. Add to creamed mixture, alternating with applesauce, beating after each addition.

If you like, stir in ¾ cup chopped nuts before pouring batter into pans.

Pour into two buttered 8-by 4-inch loaf pans or large bundt or round spring-form pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until done. (Start checking at the 45 minute mark.)

Remove and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pans and putting on rack to cool completely.

Sugar Glaze:

Combine ½ cup sifted icing/confectioners sugar with 1 tbsp water to start, then stir and add drops of rum or brandy or more water as needed.. Stir until the sugar glaze is thin enough to pour but thick enough to coat the spoon and stick a bit   Pour over cake.

*note: I really hate fan ovens for baking. You can't trust them, their temperature always needs adjusting from whatever your recipe requires, that adjustment is not consistent, and fan ovens will sabotage your baking when you least expect it.