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~ Old-Fashioned Applesauce and Spice Bundt Cake ~

IMG_4035There's nothing like the aroma of a spice cake baking on the eve of the Fall season.  We can all agree that an applesauce and spice cake is even better.  A one-bowl cake that can be mixed in minutes with just the aid of a whisk and a rubber spatula is better yet.  This recipe appeared in our local newspaper 20+ years ago (it was that long ago because we lived in another house).  It was our local Grange Fair's baking contest winner.  It touted a gingerbread-like texture containing all the flavors of Fall (cinnamon, ginger and cloves), and, it was so spot-on, I made no changes to it, except for one substitution:  Please Pass My Homemade Crockpot Applesauce.  As for the addition of a drizzly caramel-apple flavored glaze, 'twas my idea* and it came later, but is not a requisite to enjoying this delightful cake with your AM coffee, in your lunchbox, or after dinner.

* The original recipe called for a dusting of Confectioners' sugar, and, that is all the cake needs. 

This cake is simple, straightforward, no nonsense & on point.

IMG_4016Bundt cakes are perhaps my favorite cakes to bake.  Even the words "bundt cake" sound warm and inviting.  Simply saying "bundt cake" evokes happy, fond memories from kinder, gentler times. I'm not saying that humble sheet cakes and grandiose layer cakes don't have a place in this food world -- they do and they're delicious.  I'm merely suggesting that bundt cakes have more gravitational pull (haha) than other cakes -- even an unembellished bundt cake will pull more people to the dessert buffet than the other cakes.  That said, a 13" x 9" x 2" pan will work fine.  

Don't' have a bundt pan?  A 13" x 9" x 2" pan will work just fine.

IMG_3957For the cake:

2 1/2  cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1  teaspoon salt

2  teaspoons baking soda

1  teaspoon baking powder

2  teaspoons ground cinnamon

1  teaspoon ground ginger

1/2  teaspoons ground cloves

3/4  cup sugar

3/4  cup dark brown sugar

2  cups applesauce, preferably homemade

6  tablespoons vegetable oil

2  teaspoons pure apple extract

1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2  large eggs

no-stick spray, for preparing bundt pan

IMG_3997For the (optional but highly recommended) drizzly caramel-apple drizzle:

1 1/2  cups Confectioners' sugar

1  tablespoon caramel flavoring

1  teaspoon pure apple extract

3-4  tablespoons whole milk, 3 tablespoons will be needed, add the rest, in small increments, if necessary, to control consistency

IMG_3959 IMG_3959 IMG_3959 IMG_3959 IMG_3959 IMG_3959~Step 1.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the unbleached flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Add and whisk in the ground spices (cinnamon, ginger and cloves), followed by both the granulated and brown sugars.  Using the whisk, push the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl to form a large empty well in the center.

IMG_3972 IMG_3972 IMG_3972 IMG_3972 IMG_3972 IMG_3972~Step 2.  Into the well, place the applesauce, oil, both extracts and eggs.  Starting in the center of the well, whisk so as to beat the eggs and blend the wet ingredients.  Using wider strokes, gradually whisk in all of the flour and spice mixture.  Whisk until a thick smooth batter forms, 1-1 1/2 minutes.  Using a large rubber spatula transfer/dollop the batter into the bottom of a 10" bund pan that has been sprayed with no-stick.

IMG_3988 IMG_3988~ Step 3.  Bake on center rack of preheated 325º oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in several spots throughout the deepest part of the center comes out clean,  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool, in pan, 20-30 minutes, prior to inverting cake out onto rack to cool completely, about 1 1/2-2 hours.

IMG_4000 2 IMG_4000 2 IMG_4000 2 IMG_4000 2 IMG_4000 2 IMG_4000 2~Step 4.  To prepare the glaze, in a 2-cup measuring container, stir together the Confectioners' sugar, extracts and 3 tablespoons of milk.  Add additional milk, if and as necessary, by teaspoonfuls until a smooth, drizzly consistency is reached.  Cover with plastic wrap and set glaze aside for about 15 minutes -- this will ensure an extremely smooth glaze.  If you have a plastic squeeze bottle, transfer the glaze to it.  To glaze the cake, using a back and forth motion, slowly drizzle the glaze over the surface of the cake.

Allow the glaze to "dry" (harden up a bit -- about 2 hours):

IMG_4022Slice, serve & savor the first taste of Fall:

IMG_4042Old-Fashioned Applesauce and Spice Bundt Cake: Recipe yields 1, 10" bundt cake, and, depending on how thick or thin you slice it, 16-20 servings.

Special Equipment List: whisk; large rubber spatula; 1, standard-size 12-cup bundt pan; cake tester or toothpick; wire cooling rack; 2-cup measuring container; spoon; plastic wrap; plastic squeeze bottle (optional)

6a0120a8551282970b022ad373eeb6200cCook's Note: Spice is always nice, but, let's all admit, when the cool weather hits, the aroma of spices baking in the oven or braising on the stovetop simply smell better -- they go from smelling mouth-wateringly good to ethereal.  As for my ~ Apple Candied Pecan & Cheesecake Bundt Cake ~, tender, calories-be-damned.  In this cake you'll find a batter loaded with diced tart apples and candied pecans sandwiched between two slightly-sweet cream cheese, cheesecake-esque layers.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2019)


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