Pipi’s Pasture: Memories of Mom’s applesauce cake
In my last column I wrote about the memories that “came up” when I found Mom’s recipe for “Three Hour Rolls.” At the same time, I found “Applesauce Cake,” in Mom’s handwriting. Both recipes had been tucked into a notebook of ideas for a cookbook that my sisters and I hope to write one day soon.
Anyway, this recipe brought up memories, too.
In the years that my siblings were growing up on the ranch, our Grandpa Osborn, who lived “just over the hill on Deer Creek,” had an orchard of fruit trees on the ranch that he and Grandma owned. Although there were a variety of fruit trees in the orchard, apples were the most abundant because they did well at that climate. We had apple trees in our orchard, too, so in late summer and fall there were plenty of them for canning.
In those days the women made use of all the homegrown produce as possible so Mom canned lots of apples. Mom sliced up apples and turned them into apple pie mixes, ready for the oven, and pickled apples. Nothing went to waste so even bruised apples were turned into jams, jellies, juice and applesauce. One thing was for sure — there was plenty of canned applesauce to make cake and cookies.
Applesauce cake was one of Mom’s favorite recipes (ours, too) because it was easy to make and delicious. Mom used it to make little frosted cakes as Christmas gifts for relatives and neighbors. I can remember her decorating the cake tops with cut-up candies cherries. One of my childhood Christmas memories was delivering those cakes around the neighborhood.
Mom’s applesauce cake recipe could also be used to make fruitcake. To do that Mom mixed up the basic cake recipe and then added dates and other candied fruits.
Following is Mom’s basic applesauce cake recipe so that you can make it, too. Note the “lard” ingredient. Lard was commonly used in cooking when I was growing up; in fact, ranchers produced their own lard from the hogs they fed. You can use shortening as a substitute.
Mom’s Applesauce Cake
1 cup sugar
½ cup lard
1 ½ cups applesauce
2/3 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons cocoa
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 cup nut meats
1 cup raisins
Cream sugar and lard. Add applesauce and soda that has been dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water. Then sift dry ingredients together and add them to the mixture. Last add the raisins and nuts (may omit). Bake in loaf pan or 9-inch square pan in moderate oven. (Note: I think about 350 degrees.) May add dates, etc. Makes a good fruit cake.
From the kitchen of Judy Osborn
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