An Old-Fashioned Applesauce Cake with Apple Butter Filling
This cake has an old-fashioned appeal. The applesauce lends moistness and flavor, the spices are prominent and the crumb is firm; the cake slices very easily. My Nana always said the applesauce should be hot; I don’t know why and she isn’t around to ask, so I just do what she taught me because it works. The combination of dark and golden raisins is a nice touch. Our Caramel Frosting works very nicely, as an alternate choice to the Cream Cheese Frosting.
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup toasted walnut halves, finely chopped
- ½ cup raisins
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups hot applesauce (see Tips)
- 1 cup apple butter
- Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Coat the insides of two 9-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine and aerate; toss in nuts and raisins, then set aside.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and beat until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl once or twice. Beat in spices.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down after each addition, allowing each egg to be absorbed before continuing. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternately with the applesauce. Begin and end with the flour mixture and beat briefly until smooth. Divide thick batter evenly in pans and smooth tops with offset spatula.
- Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs. Cool pans on racks for 10 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on racks to cool completely. Layers are ready to fill and frost. Alternatively, place layers on cardboards and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature and assemble within 24 hours.
- Fill with apple butter and frost with prepared frosting and decorate as desired. Cake may be served immediately or refrigerated overnight in covered container. Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Homemade applesauce works the best for color and flavor. If you want to use jarred, I like half unsweetened and half sweetened.
- We added some extra raisins and nuts on top for decor.
Image: Peter Muka