My parents have several fruit trees in their backyard, and they are always more than happy to share that beautifully flawed home-grown fruit. We always end up with more apples than we know what to do with, so I end up going on a baking spree and sharing some with friends as well. It has been an especially good year for their apple trees. Right now, the boughs are bending under the weight of all of those sweet, delicious apples.
I decided to make a batch of applesauce from the first bunch of Golden Delicious apples. Applesauce is really easy to make and freezes well too. Plus, you get to control exactly what goes into it. I have always wondered why commercial applesauce contains corn syrup, have you? Depending on the sweetness of your apples, you may be able to completely eliminate the sugar called for in the recipe.
If you decide to make the applesauce, I hope you set aside enough for the applesauce cake. It is moist and delicious and makes your kitchen smell heavenly. A slice of this cake is just the thing to enjoy with a cup of coffee, as the weather slowly turns to autumn.
Applesauce (from www.simplyrecipes.com)
3-4 pounds of peeled, cored and quartered apples (use a good baking apple, such as: Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Fuji, Jonathan, McIntosh, or Gravenstein)
4 strips of organic lemon peel
Juice from that same organic lemon (3-4 Tablespoons)
1 cinnamon stick
up to ¼ cup of dark brown sugar (depending on level of sweetness desired, can be left out entirely)
up to ¼ cup raw sugar (depending on level of sweetness desired, can be left out entirely)
1 cup water
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Put all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer 20-30 minutes. Remove from heat. Remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Mash with potato masher. If you like an even smoother consistency, use your immersion (stick) blender, or food mill.
Applesauce is ready to be served, either hot or cold, and it freezes really easily as well.
Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze (from www.food52.com)
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour (I like to use ½ whole wheat pastry flour/½ all-purpose flour)
1-½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
½ cup raw sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 ½ cups applesauce, preferably homemade (you can reduce amount of sugar called for, if applesauce is sweetened)
2/3 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¾ - 1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper, cinnamon, ginger and allspice. Set aside. Beat eggs with both sugars in large bowl. Mix in applesauce, oil and vanilla. Fold in flour mixture with spatula, just until combined – don’t over mix. Pour batter into pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into middle comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out and cool completely.
For the glaze:
Keep cake on cooling rack. Place some wax paper/tinfoil under cooling rack.
Place butter, sugar, cream and salt in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Bring to a full, rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute exactly then remove from heat. Let cool a few minutes, then gradually whisk in enough confectioner’s sugar to make a thick, pourable consistency. If it becomes too thick, thin with a bit of cream. Immediately pour over cake evenly and slowly, let