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Chocolate applesauce cake

For more than 50 years, this has been my favorite cake. My mother first started making it when I was in grade school. I’ve had it as a birthday cake more times than I’d care to count. But since today is Thanksgiving and tomorrow is my birthday, that seemed like occasion enough to make a particularly sinful version of the cake.

I’ve found that this cake loves to have nutmeg, or cherries, or both, in the icing. So to the plain white icing (butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and soy milk) I added nutmeg. I also threw in some chocolate-covered cherry cordials and let the mixer chop the cherries and chocolate into the icing.

The remarkable thing about the cake itself is that it contains no eggs. The only liquid ingredient is applesauce. This makes a dense, hearty cake that stays moist for a long time and keeps well. My recipe is written in pencil on a very old piece of notebook paper. Here is the bare bones recipe. Experienced cooks will know what to do with it.

Cream together 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of butter (I use olive oil instead of butter). Add half a cup of cocoa and mix well. Then add 1 and 1/2 cups of applesauce and mix again. In a separate bowl, sift together two cups plain flour, 2 teaspoons of baking soda, some cinnamon, and some nutmeg. Fold the flour mixture into the other ingredients.

Put the batter into two 9-inch cake pans that have been buttered and dusted with flour. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes, until a toothpick stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Many years ago, in Sausalito across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, I won a Valentine’s Day chocolate contest with this cake. For the icing on that cake, I chopped lots of maraschino cherries into the icing and made the icing pink.

It’s also a vegan cake if you substitute olive oil for the butter. I’ve never tried it, but you probably could substitute coconut oil for the butter in the icing.


  1. Quetal wrote:

    Happy Birthday

    Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm | Permalink
  2. David L.M. Marcum wrote:

    Happy Birthday!

    Friday, November 26, 2010 at 12:17 am | Permalink
  3. Trish wrote:

    Happy birthday

    Saturday, November 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

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