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Friday, April 10, 2020

No Egg, No Milk Applesauce Cake With Apple Cider Sauce

This cake is one of those great dessert recipes for when supplies are limited. As the weeks pass, I am relying more and more on what is on the pantry for baking, for instance the applesauce that is in this cake. There's a delicious apple cider (or juice) sauce for topping this cake. I used frozen apple juice concentrate. I'll note, my recipe card says that you can also use orange juice for the sauce and then it becomes an applesauce cake with orange sauce. I made a couple of substitutions and will note those in parentheses.

Applesauce Cake

1  2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar (or white sugar with a spoonful of molasses added to the liquids)
1  1/2 teaspoons ground allspice (or cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg or any combination)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional, pecans would also be tasty)

Mix flour, sugar, spices, baking soda, salt, and nuts with a fork in an ungreased 8 X 8 X 2-inch baker. Stir together the liquid ingredients and incorporate with the dry in the pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees F, or until the top springs back when pressed lightly.


Meanwhile, make the sauce in a stainless steel saucepan.

Apple Cider Sauce

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup margarine or butter (I used 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil)
1/4 cup apple cider, apple juice, or orange juice
2 tablespoons heavy cream (I used milk)

--the recipe calls for cream. I found if I use milk, the particles separate. The following starch and water slurry mixed in helps pull the sauce back together.

1/2 teaspoon corn starch
1 tablespoon water

In a saucepan, heat the first four ingredients to  rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. If using milk and the solids separate, stir in a slurry of the starch and water and cook until slightly thickened. Note -- this is still a thin sauce.

Spoon the sauce over individual servings of the cake.

The cake recipe is one of those Depression Era recipes that assumed some folks may have had access to cheap apples (orchard drops or seconds) and foraged nuts, but little milk or eggs. The sauce would make this fancier than an everyday cake. In any case, my family thinks this is a very delicious cake and would never feel they are deprived or living through a Depression eating it.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!


  1. That sounds absolutely delicious! The one time I have no applesauce in the house, though, lol. Will have to see about adding some to the next pickup order. My Grandma used to make an applesauce cake that I loved, but it didn't have that delicious sounding sauce!

  2. Mmmm, that looks good - I bet it would be yummy with raisins in it! I love to look through old cook books, especially grange and church ones, the recipes in them are so interesting, simple, healthy (sometimes - haha), and wholesome. Simpler bad we can't go back once in a while.

    Have a great weekend and a blessed Easter.


  3. We are doing the same thing here, Lili. Getting creative! LOL I hope you are doing well. :)

  4. This sounds good and what a great pantry cake. But like Cat, I don't have applesauce either. I have had it on my list a time or two and forgot to pick it up. I'll have to remember it the next time I venture out to shop.

    I did shop yesterday during the early "senior citizens" time. I found it very, very unsettling as I donned my mask and made my way through the stores, taking all the precautions. It was my first time shopping in 3 weeks. Since January I have been eating down my pantry (which-given the state of things now probably wasn't the best timing, but I HAD to eat some of all our food)We, like others, continue to have food supply issues. There still was no toilet paper (SO thankful I had a big supply of this along with my foodstuffs), no napkins (glad I use cloth), no kleenex (down to last box, may be switching to handkerchiefs), no paper towels (glad I don't use these either). I was hoping to find a turkey breast for Easter but nope, out of those. I did find a ham and I felt like the actress in the Christmas movie finding the canned ham. I got some chicken and I still have shrimp in my freezer so not a huge variety in proteins, but enough to make it work.

    There was limited rice, beans, flour, baking powder, baking soda, yeast, some produce etc and it was just so unnerving to me. Many of the items left were the higher priced items. I kept thinking of all the people in the US who were already food insecure. I am so blessed to have the money to purchase what I could find, but just kept thinking about those with limited finances, limited access and then limited choices. I couldn't shake the thought of the real fear they must be feeling on families. Our schools here had been feeding students daily, but have now gone to 2 times/week with packed items to make it til the next pickup so multiple breakfast and lunch items. They have also scaled back drop off points, but I'm so glad that is still an option for people in my community thus far.

    I also thought about some Russian exchange students from 25 years ago. Some of the students were sponsored by people in my church back then when I lived in large, urban Charlotte, NC. Our friends took the students to one of our grocery stores and the students were dumb founded to gaze upon an entire aisle of bread. They asked my friend, incredulously, "It's like this all the time???" What a contrast these days and how blessed we have been in this country.

    We had our first death in our community yesterday and have had our first community spread cases so the virus has made it to my out of the way location as well. Everyone be safe and careful out there. In the midst of this angst and sadness and fear, may we look toward Easter and the faith of new life. Happy Easter virtual friends.

  5. I love applesauce cake! It's moist and tender and has those delicious spices in it. I, too, am out of applesauce, however. That's ok, I have plenty of other items to bake with. I was on the phone with my hairdresser yesterday (she works out of her house and she and I have become friends) to cancel my appointment for today, which is a double bummer, as she and I were going to have a baking day after she trimmed me up. We compared baking stories instead and she told me that she has a lot of yeast if I need it (I sorta feel like we would be doing a drug deal on her front porch, haha).

    Lynn, I'm sorry about the lack of grocery items in your area. Our school is also feeding students and has changed its pickup arrangements (in a few cases, they drop the food off). Michigan has been approved for federal funding for food for economically disadvantaged children.

    Here's a link for the music lovers out there. I have a friend in the Grand Rapids symphony (she isn't featured here) who shared this with me and I was in tears.

    Blessed Easter to you all.

  6. Oh, YUUUUMMMMMMMM, Lili! I love those snacky-cake recipes. Delicious, I'm sure! I used to visit a site (years and years ago) that had Depression-era recipes, and they were SO handy for pantry cooking!

    Lynn -- I was glad to see you here today, because you're the baking powder/soda discussion woman, right? :) I was busy a couple of days, and didn't look to see if Lili or anyone commented on the proportions of cream of tartar question. So, I'll just mention here, I looked more closely at my baking powder and baking soda, and I'm pretty sure that it's at least nine years old. My cream of tartar is a probably four years old; so that's how "old" my "old" is, for reference. LOLOL If it was me in your situation, I would start by using the proportions of c/t and soda recommended in the substitutions, and see how that works. If the result is fine, then you're fine, right? And you can use the least possible of your available resources. That's my thought, anyway.

    Like you, we're fortunate to be able to pay a little more for pricier items when we do shop; and I encourage DH to do so, because that leaves the more-economical stuff for folks who need to pay less. Obviously, since I'm using baking powder from 2011 (blushing), I'm thrifty with my raw materials; so we make the most of the pricier things, as well. Also, like you, protein is one of the trickier issues right now, because our freezer was fairly low. I'm just happy that I have been able to reinforce my bean inventory to pair with a pretty good grain stockpile for some complete proteins from carbs.

    And Lili, again, we needed a festive meal for a special occasion yesterday, from what we had on-hand. So we paired some 9-year-old cornmeal and 4-year-old hot dogs from the back of the freezer, with my 9-year-old baking powder/soda, into some killer corn dogs with a recipe I found on Delish (substituted half the cayenne pepper with 1/8 tsp nutmeg, my only substitution.) They were a thing of beauty, and very well-received! I was so fortunate DH had picked up some extra oil a week or so ago. Another good ration meal. :)

    Take good care, everyone! Sara

  7. Good job,Lili!! I would love to attempt this cake but also don't have applesauce or apples.

    Last night, I made an Amazon order, and upon checkout I saw a Discover card offer for $20 off $50 if I use my Discover card cash back points. I originally wanted to order a bathroom scale battery (however later found out batteries can't ship to Hawaii). While shopping, I noticed some very good pricing on bird food and treats that were cheaper than our local Wal-Mart. We have a parakeet and a cockatiel. Also stocked up on Reach dental floss (only cinnamon) at cheaper than Wal-Mart prices. With the additional Discover card discount the prices were absolute bargains. Being averse to in-store shopping, I think my new favorite hobby will be online shopping. The only drawback is the long shipping time since we don't have Amazon Prime. I have another $10 off 50 Discover card offer for my next shopping. Periodically Amazon will make these credit card linked offers. It helps to have some cash back points available to redeem on the credit card which I manage to do whenever there is a category spend 5% bonus, especially in the grocery category. The requirement is that you pay with points at least part of the order total and only Amazon shipped items qualify. I had to remove some items that were not Amazon shipped before the $20 came off. I haven't checked "americanexpress offers" lately but that has also been another source of discounts. I generally don't need to buy much, our needs are small, but these day with store access and scarcity being issues, I need to put my old online shopping hat back on.

    Have a great weekend,

  8. Merci pour cette recette vraiment excellente ! Ce gâteau, très économique et facile à faire, ressemble à un "pain d'épices". Il a été vraiment très apprécié par chaque membre de ma famille.
    Je vous remercie aussi pour tous vos autres conseils sur la frugalité et sur l'intérêt de mener une existence simple. Votre style de vie , qui vous permet de tirer le meilleur parti des choses, nous encourage à être nous aussi plus positif .

    Je vous souhaite, ainsi qu'à votre famille, une joyeuse fête de Pâques !

  9. Well Sara, you are clearly a girl after my heart! I went back and looked at dates and my baking powder/soda are all in the 2 1/2 to 3 year range "old" so you've got me beat by a long shot! My c/t is in an unmarked container from my mother so no idea how old it is. If yours is working for you, as it is for others(and certainly it is!) I'm going to be trying this. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. And if it works, I'll feel vindicated that I just didn't throw everything out. I have really enjoyed everyone's responses re: this topic. I've learned so much!

    I had added to our dried bean inventory also and was glad that I could buy some brown rice (white was gone)for meatless options also, though have to be careful due to DH's dietary needs.

    And YHF, I hadn't realized you were in HI! Wow. A bit of a jog from me here on the East coast :)

  10. Hee, hee, Lynn! I figured that it was time to try and pin down how "old" we were talking about, so we could have an intelligent discussion about this. :) I'm fortunate to have a nice, cool pantry, so storage conditions are good (though I'm not sure what conditions make bp/bs lose effectiveness, honestly.) My DH has always high expectations for his meals, but even HE was impressed with how fat and fluffy the corn dogs were.

    Perhaps you've also heard the experts who say that you ought to replace herbs and spices every 1-3 years, too? I've had serious bad experiences with past-date food products, so I'm very careful; but if you are able to keep them cool, dry and dark, I think a lot of herbs/spices and other dry pantry ingredients actually work "well enough" for a lot longer than is "optimum".

    I buy a lot of ingredients at restaurant-supply-type stores, but freeze as much as I can, and try to rotate and package properly, so I don't waste much. I hate to waste anything, but I also feel better if I'm usually (not so much right now, unfortunately, but better than most people I know, so I'm blessed!) well-stocked with basic ingredients and things that make basic ingredients taste good. And even "old" herbs and spices will make your rice and beans or quick bread or pasta dish taste yummier. I also try to keep things like raisins and colored sugar crystals for making plain baked goods nicer. You don't use these things in any great amount, but if you have them, they give you more options. And like Kris with her sneaky yeast exchange -- Hi, Kris, we were typing at the same time, love that story! -- now I'm happy to be in a position to carefully share a little of these items with some of the neighbors, to improve their ration cooking, too.

    I hope that your baking powder/soda/cream of tartar adventures work out fine!

    And we have some dietary things we must meet here, too, which does make things trickier, but thank Heaven we are doing okay with that so far. Best to you with your DH's needs!


  11. Hi Cat,
    Since I can get applesauce shipped to my house from (when they have any), this is one of our primary "fruits" these days. So, I'm doing what I can with it.

  12. Hi Belinda,
    Thanks for checking in with me. I was on your site yesterday and was trying to leave a comment, but something is not working for me. Google seems to "forget" who I am about half of the time on all sites, so I've not been able to leave comments anywhere. But I did want to thank you for the heads up on Dollar Tree reopening online orders and shipping. I really appreciated that!

    I'm pretty sure my computer has a virus, hence the problems leaving comments on any site. I'm working on fixing it, but as I have no knowledge of these things, this is slow-going at best.
    Have a good weekend!

  13. Hi Shelby,
    I bet you're right about how good this could be with raisins! They'd add enough sweetness that maybe the sugar could be cut to 2/3 cup in this recipe.

    Have a lovely Easter weekend, yourself, Shelby.

  14. Sara, yes I have heard those experts advocating tossing spices every 3 years. But like you, I hate food waste so I don't do that. I'm careful about dates on meats, but spices? Not so much. For instance I have a bottle (a glass bottle so you know it is old) of dill. It isn't as pungent when the bottle is opened, but when I use it on seafood dishes, it still provides a dill taste. So I'm right there with you.Ditto to the sanding sugars,sprinkles,pearls, etc that I use infrequently but really "up my game" for baking. I wouldn't think of tossing them. They were too expensive (though bought on sale of course!) and look and do just fine on my sugar cookies despite the passing of time.

    I too am thankful, that despite me using up much of my pantry and freezer, that I still have the basics like sugar, flours and spices, though some are clearly "old"!If I run out of something and want it, there's a good chance there is a recipe out there somewhere for it!

    Have a great weekend all.

  15. Hi Lynn,
    I'm sorry that the virus has reached your community. I've been praying that some smaller communities might be spared, as you'e mentioned before the limited medical resources in your town. The food insecurity feels very real for so many of us right now. I've been forced to spend more for basic groceries than usual, too. And there are so many out-of-stock situations on everything. For the most part, it isn't that there just isn't enough supply out there, but that we now have a nation of households who are purchasing everything they need from grocery stores, instead of using supplies at work (like toilet paper during the day) or eating out and using foods that are directed to the commercial market. This combined with everyone feeling the need to stock up is depleting quantities found in grocery stores. I think this will improve in the next month.

    But, I agree, this is especially hard for families who were already struggling to put healthy food on the table every day. Where one of my daughters is a substitute teacher, not only did the children of need receive breakfast and lunch, they also took home a bag of food for the weekends. This was one of the primary reasons our school district did not want to close.

    I think this pandemic has exposed our countries greatest weaknesses and food insecurity is one of them.

    I'm glad you found a ham! We're not doing a big Easter dinner this weekend, but are waiting until our son and his wife can also be with us, maybe in May. My ham is in the freezer, bought at Christmas. So, at least I've got that covered. I hope you have a lovely Easter!

  16. Hi Kris,
    That's nice to know you could get some yeast if you need it. I love your description of the drug deal feeling.
    Thank you for the music link. I'll check that out.
    Have a wonderful Easter, Kris.

  17. Hi Sara,
    Good job on those corn dogs! They sound tasty.

    Speaking of old spices and such, here's my confession. When my brother-in-law and his family moved away from our area, almost 22 years ago, my sister-in-law gave me all of her spices, etc. In the box was a small bottle of cream of tartar. Yep, that bottle is the cream of tartar that I use in making snickerdoodles and the occasional recipe where I need a dry baking powder (can't use vinegar/soda combo). And yes, the cream of tartar still works, crazy as that sounds. I agree, I've used spices and herbs long past their expiry. They lose some of their flavor with age, but not completely.

    Have a great weekend, Sara!

  18. Bonjour, Véro.
    Merci pour les mots très gentils.
    Je vous souhaite, ainsi qu'à votre famille, une joyeuse fête de Pâques, également!

  19. Hi YHF,
    Good job on getting those bargains!
    I, too, have become an online-stalking shopper. I keep a list of the items I'm looking for and check my stores that are currently delivering for free on a daily basis. You really have to jump when you find an item or offer, though. not just because the item.will be gone if you wait, but I've found that estimated shipping times have gotten longer as this pandemic has gone on. And that trend could continue as more folks turn to online to find those items out of stock in their stores. I've also found that more and more stores are putting limits on items, which makes it hard to meet that minimum spend for free shipping.

    Have a great weekend, YHF!

  20. Lili, I totally agree with you re: the reasons for the shortages. I have heard people say that people are greedy and hoarding,and there may be some people who have done this (like the guy with all the sanitizer :( But by and large people have found themselves needing to provide 3 meals/day to all the family members-and it all has to come from the store without school lunches, limited/no restaurants, etc. Plus we have been told to limit trips (and want to!) so everyone is buying more. My daughter and her husband live and work in the DC area. She said they've NEVER had this much food before or have cooked so much,now with both of them working from home.Same for my son.

    I'll add that our schools have done the same re: weekend meals. In addition to the breakfasts and lunches we continue to provide for the week, we are also providing food and snacks for the weekend. I'm relieved that can continue.

    It will just be my husband and me for Easter, so no real big dinner-just a Sunday dinner. What is becoming increasingly difficult for me is not seeing my family. My husband and I both have very elderly mothers (89 and 93) 200+ miles away. We go at least monthly to spend time with them. We were getting ready to visit when we were locked down so it's been about 7 weeks since our last trip. With the silent symptoms/high contagion of this virus we don't dare put them at risk although we (I) have only been to the grocery store twice and the pharmacy drive through 3 times during our quarantine. We were planning a trip to DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival which of course didn't happen so we haven't seen our daughter since Christmas or our son since January. I'm thankful that everyone is so far healthy and that we have technology to keep in touch, but I miss the hugs! However considering the many lives lost, I am very grateful for health thus far, and so sad for all of the grieving families. I do hope that things will continue to improve in your state since y'all were affected early on.

    I agree that this has exposed weaknesses in our country. And as awful as this has been and continues to be, I do think there are some lessons to be learned for all of us. I will say, the acts of kindness (such as all the handmade masks) have been uplifting during these dark times. Everyone stay safe.

    PS Had to chuckle at the age of your cream of tartar. I think you take the cake:)

  21. A couple of years ago, I read, "The Best Cook in the World" by Rick Bragg and really enjoyed it. I think you might also find it interesting. Rick talks about trying to learn some of his mother's recipes as she is aging and shares them in the context of his family's history. They really had no money and had to stretch ingredients, but had good food. A lesson for all of us.

  22. I also hang onto spices way out of date. My mom used to tell me worms would be in them, but I've never seen any. I really don't think that would happen.

    Have you been able to find soy milk at Dollar Tree? I used to buy it there all the time and haven't been able to find it for the past several months.

    That applesauce cake with the sauce looks so delicious! I will be trying that one.

  23. LOL, Lynn. Nice to meet you. I post my comment in the wee hours, often before 3 am, so I can see why you are surprised. I have insomnia that is so bad. I get up after 3 to 4 hours sleep, stay up for about 3 to 4 hours, then take a 1 to 2 hour morning nap. Sometimes I also take an afternoon nap too. Being retired has made the insomnia worse. Not complaining, but I know how bad this is for my general health and for fighting this virus.

    What helps these days is making face masks. I think we're going to need them for awhile, especially after the lockdown, and I don't know how many times a mask can be washed and still be effective, so I think I should keep making. I am not completely satisfied with my pattern, and constantly make changes. I also don't have a good mix of fabrics that offer both protection and breathability.


  24. YHF, for me, not sleeping is maddening, so I'm glad you've found a way to compensate for the lack of continuous sleep.

    Making masks is on my list. I must confess, I have a new sewing machine that I've not broken in yet. It replaced an old one that I had had repaired multiple times, but this new one is a bit intimidating to me! I've got to get over it. Once I learn to use it I know I will enjoy it, though haven't done much sewing since my children grew up. I keep looking at all the different mask patterns. I need to stop looking and-like Nike says-just do it!Aloha :)

  25. Lynn, I don't adjust to new sewing machines as well, so you are not alone. I let my purchased warranty lapse, that's how long. And when I finally decided to use the machine, of course I had a computerized error and the machine locked. We managed to unlock it (google), but apparently didn't reassemble the parts correctly. I didn't want to send it out for repair (would probably cost more than the machine), so I bought two other sewing machines from thrift stores that weren't computerized, each costing less than $30. None of my machines work perfectly, so I do a rotation. When one is not working well, I use the next machine. So far that's how I've been sewing blankets and now masks.

    Have a good day, and Aloha!!

  26. Hi Live and Learn,
    I'll look into that book. I love reading cookbooks that have something of a story format. Thank you for he suggestion.

  27. Hi Ruthie,
    I haven't seen soy milk at Dollar Tree in about 9 months. I specifically looked several months ago and didn't find any there. I've been using store-brand soy milk when I can find a good sale or coupon.
    I've seen webby stuff on the outside of flour packages, but nothing in a spice jar that would indicate larvae of some sort. I'm guessing that's what your mom meant. It could be that years ago, spices were handled differently at packaging plants and maybe some did have small insect eggs from time to time.

    I hope you are recovering well from your surgery. Enjoy the applesauce cake when you bake it.


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