Saturday, January 31, 2009

Comparing apples ... to apples...

Every year at Christmas time my Grandmother used to make applesauce cake - oh, she would make it other times of the year too (it was always my requested birthday cake if she was visiting during January) but at Christmas, she would “beef it up” a little - dates instead of raisins, candied fruit, more nuts. When I was in college she would send me some sometimes. It still is one of my favorite cakes, and it is one of those cakes that the longer it sits, the better it gets. The first time I made it, I was sure there was a typo - no eggs! A frantic call to my Grandma assured me that no, there were no eggs in this cake. So if you have someone who is allergic to eggs, you could make it for them.

I used to make it this time of the year to give to friends as a “New Year’s Cake” - somehow the last couple of years the applesauce just hasn’t gotten made - and like my minister, Rev. Nan, I buy the nuts and the butter in anticipation of making these treats and end up at the end of the month with a freezer full of nuts and butter,

But a few weeks ago, I actually bought the apples that I would need for this precious cake - Jonagolds for texture - they cook up firm and sweet, some Pink Lady apples - they smelled so “appley” in the store, guessing that they would cook up “saucy” and of course I had to throw in a couple of Granny Smiths for their tart flavor. The apples had been sitting the kitchen counter since we brought them home - I decided the other evening that I’d better cook them up before they started to get mushy.

As I was peeling these apples, it occurred to me how much they could be likened to the people in our lives - I’m sure you know someone who stays “firm” under pressure - or someone who is just a little bit “saucy” - Oh, and I forgot, I added in the neglected Galas that had been languishing in the fruit drawer. Do you have any friends you haven’t talked to lately? Are they “languishing in your fruit drawers”?
And of course, the colors of the apples intrigued me as well - there must be every shade from green to yellow to pink to deep reds - how dull it would be if they were all the same color. Hmm - sort of like real life, these apples are, don’t you think?

So, I got the applesauce made and put into the fridge, and we had pork chops the next night, - can’t have pork chops without applesauce, then The Shepherd decided that it made a pretty good snack (and good for him since I hadn’t added any sugar to it) Before I knew it, the applesauce was almost all gone – well, heck. Last night we got more apples and this afternoon, more applesauce was made – but this time, I didn’t let the opportunity get away. You have to be careful when you try a bite of it right out of the oven because the raisins are hot, hot, hot. ( I speak from experience – ha, ha) Here’s the recipe – make sure your applesauce is fresh and hot

Grandma Billie’s Applesauce Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease & flour a 9x13 pan. Get a couple of pounds of your favorite cooking apples to make (at least) three cups – big chunks of apple are OK.

Mix in a large bowl:
2 cups (or if not juicy, add an extra 1/2 – 3/4 cup or so) fresh applesauce.
(have hot) Add:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into small chunks so it will melt
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

In a smaller bowl, sift together:
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or 1 tsp each cloves & nutmeg

After your butter is melted in the hot applesauce, add about ¾ of the dry ingredients to the applesauce mix and blend – with the last ¼ of the dry ingredients, add 2 cups of raisins and 2 cups of chopped walnuts.

Mixture will be very thick – pour into 9x13 baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick or bamboo skewer comes out clean. Cool –

Very moist and rich cake, doesn’t need frosting. Better in slices (like banana bread..) rather than big chunks. It gets better as it sits – keep in refrigerator or freezer.


vlb5757 said...

Thank you so much for sharing your applecake story. I have foods that my grandmother made that have stories and it means the world to me. I am going to have to try the cake! I am sure the picture does not do it justice.

Jennifer said...

You're lucky! All my grandmother ever made me were poptarts! She was a BAAADDDD cook! My Oma must've made us something, but I was too young for it to leave an impression. When we were older, she always offered liquor filled candies!! :)

Love YA!

Sharon said...

I love your analogies - thought provoking. I do have friend languishing in the fruit drawer.

I have never thought of blending apples to create a richer sauce. I'm with Vickie - gonna have to try your recipe. I like heavy moist cakes.

Franna said...

Oh, yum! Your applecake has me drooling. Thank you for the recipe!

I, too, love the analogies ...languishing, firm under pressure, many varieties, some sweet, some tart, some better with alcohol. ;-)
- Franna

Anonymous said...

thanks for popping over to my blog! great story about the applesauce cake... and i'm sure to snatch the recipe. look forward to reading more.


Corinne R. said...

Looks Yummy and I happen to have a pantry full of applesauce that I canned from my trees last fall :).

Kathy said...

I love your observations, Tina. Somehow I missed this post - must've been when Ralph commandeered the office. What wonderful anaolgies. And a recipe to boot!

Kathy said...

Geez...I can't spell worth beans today! Sorry 'bout that...