Grandma’s Holiday Cake

Today I made my grandmother’s applesauce spice cake which she has been making forever, my whole life and before I was born. I am wondering to myself if it is not something that she modified during WWII to deal with rationing, because while it uses butter, it only uses one egg, no oil, not a ton of sugar and the applesauce and dried fruit really do most of the work. I won’t be able to ask her now, she’s kind of forgetful these days, but that’s my theory anyway. It is a cherished family recipe that makes an appearance on family birthdays and holidays. It is my father’s favorite cake of all time. I have many memories of sitting at Grandma’s Duncan Phyfe (?) dining table in the big room and kicking my feet in the big chair and eating my slice of applesauce cake. Sometimes, my grandpa would point at something over my shoulder and I would look and then my cake would disappear. He always gave it back.

Grandma’s Applesauce Cake and Mocha Icing Which Is Really The Point Of The Whole Thing

1 stick (1/4 c.) butter – room temp
1 cup sugar (I like brown)
1 c. applesauce
1 tsp. soda (which I dissolve in a little hot water)
1 egg
2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice, ground ginger and salt
1 c. golden raisins or currants or something dried fruit like

so you cream the butter and sugar, and then add your egg and your applesauce. I use homemade unsweetened applesauce, Gran used tinned. Whatever you prefer. Get it all uniform and mixed well, then you sift your dry ingredients and add those slowly, mixing well, then add the soda-dissolved-in-water and THEN add the fruit (which you should soak in boiling water for a few minutes and then drain before you add as this keeps the cake nice and moist) and then you mix that up and put the batter into a bundt cake pan and pop THAT sucker into a preheated 350 oven for around an hour give or take a little (when a knife comes out clean after you stick the cake) and then you let it cool.

the icing is easy and the best part.

2 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 stick of butter, very soft
4 TBS very strong, hot coffee
4 TBS cocoa powder (Gran uses Hershey, I use Droste or something way to expensive from a fancy store, whatever you like)

melt the cocoa in the coffee, cream the sugar and butter together and then add the cocoa/coffee mixture and mix well. Use the resulting heavenly creation to ice your now cool bundt cake.

Really, This is just the best cake ever.


About Maia Rainwood

Owner and Maker at Maia Rainwood Design. Wearable art for wise women, birth keepers, witches, and world-builders.
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2 Responses to Grandma’s Holiday Cake

  1. dan says:

    That sounds like a great cake. And that icing sounds delish. I might have to try that one. The coffee is intriguing.
    My grandmother had a cake she’d make occasionally. Very simple. Eggs, sugar, flour. No zip or anything. But very basic. She told me it was from the depression when she was living in Cuba (my family’s from there). Anyway, it was due to rations. I’m sure there are many basic cake recipes like that. At T-giving someone brought a vinegar pie, which he said was a Midwestern dish created from the depression when they couldn’t get ahold of lemons. Somehow the vinegar gave a fake lemon taste. Sort of odd pie.

  2. Will Pillage For Yarn says:

    Dan, I’ve heard of vinegar pie, but never tasted it! I like to imagine my grandma saving up stamps so she could make this cake, but of course it is pure make-believe because I really can’t ask her now. She is still alive but you never know which details she is going to remember.

    I am SO glad that I cadged all her “traditional” recipes from her a few years back – and then dispersed them to my cousins. Some family traditions should never be allowed to die out. I figure that was my service to the family after years of black-sheep-ness.

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