When it’s so cold outside that a hot oven is no longer effective in raising the temperature, bake something with spices in it. Cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg give a sense of comfort and warmth in this recipe for spiced applesauce cake. Served with a hot mug of spiced whatever, preferably heavily spiked with alcohol, it makes winter a bit more tolerable.
I’ve given up on trying to get used to Chicago winters. Coming from a country where the mercury never dips below 60ºF*, cold weather is never agreeable to my tropical-minded self. When I first stepped off the plane (or the boat, if you’re trying to get fresh with me), the first thing I got wasn’t a hug from relatives I haven’t seen in years. The sudden switch from humid to freezing dry climates caused a gushing nosebleed instead. I thought I was going to drop dead.
I should’ve taken massive blood loss as a sign to move south, but in the meantime, I’ll keep baking stuff until the springtime cometh.
*unless you live on a mountaintop
recipe adapted from Wayne Gisslen’s Professional Baking
Applesauce Spice Cake
with Lemon Icing (optional)
makes one 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch cake
For the Applesauce Spice Cake:
Ingredients Volume Ounces Grams cake flour 1 1/4 cup 5.6 158 baking powder 2/3 tsp baking soda 1/3 tsp cinnamon, ground 1/2 tsp cloves, ground 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground 1/8 tsp whole milk 1/3 cup 2.8 79 applesauce 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp 5.0 142 unsalted butter 9 tbsp 4.4 126 brown sugar 2/3 cup packed 5.6 158 salt 1/8 tsp large eggs, lightly beaten 2
For the Lemon Icing (optional):
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar (3.5 ounces / 100 grams)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tablespoon hot water
- Have all of the applesauce spice cake ingredients at room temperature before continuing.
- A bleached low-protein or soft flour is a suitable substitute for cake flour.
Applesauce Spice Cake Instructions:
Preheat Oven 350ºF / 177ºC Prepare an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan Use nonstick spray or softened butter to grease the bottom and sides of the loaf pan. Mix Dry Ingredients Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in a container with a tight lid. Cover and shake until thoroughly mixed. Mix Wet Ingredients In a separate container, mix together the milk and applesauce until well-blended. Mix (Creaming Method) Beat the butter until smooth. Add the brown sugar and salt. Cream until light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, mixing to incorporation after each addition. Alternate between one-third of the spiced flour (dry ingredients) and one-half of the applesauce-milk mixture (wet ingredients). Mix only to incorporation after each addition. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Pan Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan. Place the cake pan on a cookie sheet or sheet pan. Bake 350ºF / 177ºC for 60 to 65 minutes, until the sides pull away from the pan and a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Cool completely at room temperature.
Needs a little dressing up. But not too much.
Ice (optional) Using a rubber spatula, mix the lemon icing ingredients gently until smooth. While the icing is still warm, drizzle over the top of the cake. Use a squeeze bottle for cleaner lines.