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Bundt Cake of Endless Autumnal Substitution

Okay, remember a couple of weeks ago when I made my Applesauce Bundt Cake? (follow that link to the original recipe)

Well, I discovered something interesting the other day when I made it–or something like it–again.

The recipe takes 2 cups of applesauce; I only had one.  But I also had a cup or so of pumpkin puree from the pumpkin oatmeal breakfast cookies.  So I thought…well, it should work, right? Why wouldn’t it?

It would. It did. It was actually really really good, even made with 100% whole wheat flour instead of half white and half wheat like the original recipe.  My kids even love it.  So here’s the amended version:

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Some Kinda Fruit Sauce Cake

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl mix till smooth and maybe a little foamy:

  • 2 cups pureed or mashed fruit, such as applesauce, bananas, pumpkin, zucchini, pear sauce, peaches, or whatever
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar; if the fruit you are using is very sweet to begin with, substitute up to half a cup of powdered milk for an equal amount of the sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (or other flavoring of choice)

Add (just till mixed):

  • 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour (or combination of white and wheat in whatever proportions you choose)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • (and/or other spices in lieu of the above, as you see fit and have in your spice rack)
  • A cup or so of raisins, nuts, or other dried fruit

Mix well and bake for about an hour in a bundt pan or two loaf pans, 40 minutes in 2 square pans, or maybe 30 minutes for muffins.

I have not tried every combination or permutation of this, but I strongly suspect that, aside from the obviousness of other root veggies, almost any mashed or pureed fruit of which you happen to have two cups would work just fine, and give all kinds of delicious different variations (none of which, in the interest of full disclosure, I have actually tried):

  • peaches, and add 1/4 tsp cardamom to the spices (Trader Joes has a nice spiced peach sauce…though you’d then definitely want to diminish the sugar in the recipe)
  • all pumpkin, with some ginger added with the spices
  • banana, and maybe substitute 1/2 a cup of unsweetened cocoa for 1/2 cup of the sugar (although I already have a recipe for something very like this…)
  • what about pear sauce instead of applesauce? I think I might go with white flour for that one…
  • Or whatever weird combinations of fruits you have…that brown banana plus some applesauce and isn’t there still a half cup or so of pumpkin butter from breakfast the other day?…I find it hard to imagine much that could make this cake actually bad, you know?
  • UPDATE: re that previous comment? I tried it substituting nut butter for half the oil; the result was a little too dry, or maybe I overbaked it, and had a sort of funky taste…not enough nut to assert itself, just enough to make you go, “hungh?”–I’ll work on it. In the meantime…yeah, maybe not.

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Just pay attention to your proportions, and it should work just fine.

A note about flour type–I find that the more “autumn-y” the fruit combo I’m using is, and the more pronounced the spices, the less likely it is that my children will notice that I’ve used all whole wheat flour.  If I were doing something with, say, peaches and raspberries, I’d probably err more on the side of the white flour, whereas with applesauce and pumpkin I’d go for the wheat.  Again, it depends on your tastes and your situation.

If you don’t have or don’t wish to use a bundt pan, you could also do this in two loaf pans–or make a number of smaller loaves. As you wish…This is seriously good, and is a great way to turn some of those leftover dregs of Stuff in your fridge into a yummy snack or easy way to ingratiate yourself with your co-workers…

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Applesauce Bundt Cake

Okay, I made a bunch of really lovely applesauce…of course, then my kids decided they didn’t like it. Figures. So I have a quart of applesauce and only grownups to eat it.

So I made cake.  This is adapted from a recipe I found here, made a little more healthful…it’s really good!

Applesauce Spice Cake

Preheat oven to 350

In a large bowl mix:

  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (or 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup powdered milk)
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Add (just till mixed):

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Pour into greased bundt pan and bake about an hour, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

VERDICT: Really good! This is a keeper.

Yes, I CAN! (my first boiling water canning bath)

Today I was seriously productive. 

For starters, upstairs in the smaller of my two crockpots there’s a big pot of chicken noodle soup with mushrooms and vegetables.  And there’s a fresh baguette to go with it. 

Simultaneously, I filled the bigger crockpot with apple slices and spices and brown sugar, and turned it into applesauce over the course of a few low-maintenance hours.  Last month we visited the apple orchard and I brought home half a bushel of nice cheap “windfall” (i.e. heinously ugly) apples, just waiting for a day when I’d be home to transform them into spicy autumny goodness. My kids helped core and slice the apples with our cool little corer-peeler-slicer, and the crockpot did most of the rest of the work. (My “recipe”–which hardly even qualifies as a recipe, it’s so simple–is posted over at the Green Phone Booth.)

applesauceAfter taking a much-needed lunch break to watch a Criminal Minds rerun and drool over Thomas Gibson a little bit (sigh…), I dragged my daughter out to the store to get some mason jars.  I was a little surprised the grocery store didn’t have any at all, but the hardware store did, so we were good to go.  By the time we got back, the applesauce was done.   I washed and sterilized the jars and lids, filled ’em up, boiled them in the water bath, and took them out to cool.  I used a combination of this website and my birthday book Preserving the Harvestthe book had really good general instructions, and the website was applesauce-specific, so between the two of them I was all set.  And now I have preserved applesauce. I am very proud of myself.  (And disappointed that my giant-packed crockpot made only a total of 2 quarts–i.e. 4 pints–of applesauce.  Well, a little more, because the kids and I had some for a snack after school before actually canning it…) It was much less work than I thought it would be, even with my substandard supplies. I had only a big pot to boil things in, and I had to use a spatula and oven mitt to transfer things in and out of the boiling water, but it worked just fine.  I think I had always before felt threatened by the whole process and never wanted to Go There unless I had a giant amount of stuff to can (my whole cooking in quantity thing), but just doing this small project was pretty easy.  Next time I’ll just fill both crocks with apples and make twice as much applesauce, and can them in quart jars. (Except that I’ll need a taller pot to boil them in, because the tallest one I have is barely high enough to manage pints.)

Now upstairs the crockpot is in action again, this time hopefully to result in a bunch of holiday gift half pints of apple crockpot applesbutter for teachers and stuff.  I had to stuff it much fuller than I normally would, because I’d already sliced the rest of the half bushel of apples and honestly have nothing else to do with them–so I filled it once, let it cook on high for about an hour, and then mushed down what was there enough to get the rest of the apples in.   This will quietly cook all night, and in the morning I’ll attack it with the immersion blender.  And if there’s any leftover baguette come morning, it would probably be divine with a little fresh hot apple butter.  Or maybe we’ll eat oatmeal…

This planning a meal around a condiment is a fairly new thing for me, but I like it.