For the most part, the recipes on this blog are ones I’ve developed myself, yet I have many favourites that come from cookbooks and other sources, whether references I’ve been turning to for years or new discoveries.
And let’s face it, sometimes when company is coming I don’t always have the time or energy to develop a new recipe, let alone clean the house and prepare all the food. There’s only so much a girl can do!
For my mid-week Christmas coffee mingle this year, I made two coffee cakes. I developed a new cranberry orange version of my favourite sour cream coffee cake (coming soon), but the other was an applesauce spice cake that I found in The Martha Stewart Cookbook, which was a Christmas gift back in 1995. (Woah! I just realized that’s 20 years ago. How’d that happen?) I made this cake many times over the years, mostly during my winter Sunday afternoon baking blitzes, but since I started creating my own recipes for the blog I’ve been using my cookbooks less and less. Maybe it’s time I introduced my readers to some of these old favourites in gratitude for how they helped teach and inspire me to create my own recipes.
This cake is spiced with cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg, resulting in a heady fragrance and flavour. Then three full cups of dried fruit and nuts are added to the batter, which also contains warm applesauce. I switch up the dried fruit a bit, depending on what I have on hand. Martha’s recipe called for raisins and currants, but I used dried tart cranberries (sweetened only with apple juice) in place of the currants.
The cake is dense and satisfying, the perfect snack for a winter afternoon when you’re storm-stayed near the fireplace with a good book and a cup of coffee. Or for when a dozen friends drop by to celebrate the season one December morning.
Just one tip … if the timer dings and you decide the cake needs a few more minutes in the oven, don’t reset the timer for three hours instead of three minutes. Yup, I did that. Fortunately not too much time went by before I realized my error. The cake pictured in this post admittedly is a bit on the dry side, but I’m just happy I didn’t incinerate it! (Nothing a little slather of butter couldn’t take care of.)
You can find the recipe on Martha Stewart’s website, here.