A taste of Fall

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 Hot Applesauce Cake

 

Back in the day, people exchanged recipes on recipe cards. Sometimes the recipe cards were just plain old index cards and sometimes they were decorated. There were no food blogs, not many cookbooks, and only Julia Child on television. Friends and family exchanged recipes that had been handed down for generations. We learned to cook from the masters, our grandmothers and mothers. Today we use the Internet to find a new recipe, or to revisit an old. We have thousands of cookbooks to peruse, many food shows on TV that entertain and educate us. Cooking and food have become entertainment instead of just a way feed our families. I’m not much for food competition shows. I find them stressful. Cooking to me is relaxing and a way to express creativity and love. We have so many new foods to explore and new techniques to try. No longer are the days of “If it’s Wednesday it must be spaghetti and meatballs”. Don’t forget meatloaf Mondays. Never forget.

After I had been married a while, I discovered cookbooks. This recipe is from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book. My mother made her own applesauce. I never knew you could buy it. So, in this recipe, I used homemade. It’s not required, but I think it makes a difference. It’s worth the small effort to make it.  To make applesauce, put some apples in a big pan, pour enough water to just cover the bottom of the pan, and simmer the apples until they are all cooked and mushy. I leave the skins on for coloring.I run the cooked apples through a food mill, turned by hand, then sweeten with some sugar, adding cinnamon to taste, and finishing with a pat of butter to smooth it all out. Delicious.

This recipe makes two 8 ½ X 4 ½ loaves of bread. Sometimes I make then in mini loaves for a great present. The cooking time is reduced to about 40 minutes for these. This recipe can also be baked in layer pans and frosted. I like to bake it in loaf pans to have with my morning coffee. It just doesn’t seem as bad as eating CAKE.

 

1 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. ground cloves

2 tsp. ground allspice

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ tsp. mace

2 cups hot applesauce

2 cups raisins

2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9” round cake pans or two 8 ½ X 4 ½ inch loaf pans.

Cream the shortening and slowly add the sugar, beating the mixture until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. Mix together, in a medium bowl, the flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, clovers, allspice, nutmeg, and mace, and then add to the creamed mixture along with the hot applesauce, raisins and walnuts. No fuss. Beat until the batter is well blended. I like to plump up my raisins by letting them sit in warm water for a few minutes. I drain the water and add the plump raisins to the mixture. Hard, dry raisins don’t even look appetizing.

Spread evenly in the prepared pans, and bake round layers for about 40 minutes, loaf pans for about one hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let layers cool in the pans for a bout 5 minutes, loaves about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. I like to run a knife along the perimeter of the pans, gently pushing it towards to center of the pan. This lets air get under the bread to help release it from the pan. This technique helps to prevent the bread from sticking to the bottom of the pan when you turn it out of the pan.

Whenever I bake this bread, I feel like Fall has visited my kitchen. I hope you feel the same way too. Celebrate Fall with this simple bread. It freezes very well, or you can give a loaf to a friend! I like to keep some mini loaves of this bread in the freezer in case company comes by.