spiced applesauce cake, as promised

A while back I posted my time-tested, well-loved and ever favorite recipe for cinnamon apple cake so you wouldn't think I needed another apple cake in my repertoire.  Au contraire, today's recipe combines a few desserts I love into one cute little everyday cake:  pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting, spice cake and apple cake.  It's similar to pumpkin cake in two ways:  one, it's very moist and it's tender moistness only improves with time chilling in the fridge and two, it has cream cheese frosting which is always delicious.  It's similar to spice cake in the addition of ginger and cloves along with the cinnamon.  It's similar to apple cake because, hello; there are apples in it.

The recipe calls for unsweetened apple sauce which I whipped up earlier in the day because I had those pretty Arkansas Black apples from my Michigan trip.  For the record, they are not sauce apples because they really hold their shape well when cooked but my batches of applesauce I made in the early fall were sweetened so I gave it a go.  You, indeed, do not need to make applesauce from scratch to make this cake.  Unsweetened applesauce is very easy to find at the grocery and will get you from hungry for dessert to eating cake a lot sooner.

One other optional change I made in the recipe was substituting a 1/2 cup of oat flour (ground oats from the bulk bins at Whole Foods) for 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour.  Usually I might use half white whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour, but I thought the oats and apples would be delicious.  I was not wrong.  Yummm.

I made this cake on Tuesday and I'll be enjoying a nice little piece of it with a cup of tea while Sara and I watch Grey's Anatomy tonight.  Enjoy!

the finished product

Spiced Applesauce Cake

2 C all-purpose flour (or 1 1/2 C all-purpose flour and 1/2 C oat flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 C tightly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce

5 ounces 1/3 less-fat cream cheese, room temperature
3 T unsalted butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 C powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan (cooking spray or the baker's spray with flour).

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients until blended (flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves).   In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla at medium speed until light in color and fluffy (if you are me, you test it every now and then and recall the joys of the butter and sugar sandwiches - no lie- your babysitter used to feed you for a snack).  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in applesauce.  At low speed, add the flour mixture and beat until just combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.  Run a knife around the edges to loosen and invert cake onto the wire rack.  Cool completely.  (Okay, I did this, but honestly you could leave it in the pan especially if you have a nice baking pan with a lid so you can easily cover and store the frosted cake).

When cool, make the frosting.  Beat together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla on medium-high until fluffy.  Add the powdered sugar and cinnamon and beat at low speed until well-blended.  Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.


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