This spiced vegan friendly applesauce cake is tender, moist, and studded with raisins. Made healthier with oat flour and maple sugar, it’s an afternoon treat you can feel good about.
I’m excited to announce that I recently became a member of a community of like-minded health focused bloggers called The Recipe Redux. Started by registered dietitians, The Recipe Redux was founded on the belief that healthier eating should always taste delicious. Each month a challenge is posted and members post the resulting recipe on the 21st or 22nd of each month. At the bottom of this post you’ll be able to see what some of the other members have come up with this month!
This month’s challenge was: go through your pantry, cupboards, freezer, or fridge; what ‘treasures’ have you found? Pick an ingredient/spice/condiment that’s been hanging out for a while and give it the attention it needs. Share a healthy recipe made using your new-found pantry prize.
I was excited when I read this challenge because, folks, I am an ingredient hoarder. Be it seasonal ingredients I’ve stashed away in the freezer, interesting / health foods, or foods / ingredients I can’t find in Sweden and bring back with me from trips, I like to tuck them away, know that they’re there, and never use them. So when this challenge was released it wasn’t hard to find an ingredient that needed love. It was, in fact, hard to choose between the various baggies of pulps and purées I’ve got stashed in the freezer, the myriad of alternate sugars and flours I’ve got in the cupboard, or something from the treasure box (okay, shoe box) of specialty baking ingredients I’ve got stuffed at the top of the kitchen cupboard.
Hard as it was to choose, I did indeed settle, and quite quickly, on an ingredient that deserves some love: frozen applesauce. And that lead me instantly to a recipe I’ve been intending to share for perhaps as long as I’ve had this blog – my Grandmother’s applesauce cake.
This cake has been made in my family for as long as I can remember. I don’t know where the recipe came from originally, but it was my grandmother who made it, and my mother has made it ever since. It just tastes like home. My grandmother, by my memory, was a tremendous cook. But she passed away in 1986, when I was just seven, and the recipe is nothing if not a product of the times; made with margarine, you know, because butter was bad, and loooooaded with white sugar and flour. It is a recipe that well deserved a makeover.
I didn’t have to look deeply into my cupboard to figure out how I might do that. A bag of oat flour to replace part of the all-purpose. A reduced amount of maple sugar would replace the refined white sugar. And though this recipe has never contained an egg, the dregs of a baggie of ground flax was just begging to be used as a binder.
The result is a tender and deeply moist applesauce cake that is every bit as tasty as the original recipe. My father and brother, fervent traditionalists, may not approve of these changes, but I’m fairly certain they wouldn’t notice were they served a slice. Perfect as an afternoon treat with a cup of tea, I hope you’ll love this cake as much as I do.
Does an Apple a day keep the doctor away? Well, they’re definitely good for your heart. Apples boast well-documented cardiovascular benefits. These benefits are associated with the water-soluble fiber (pectin) content, and the polyphenol mixture in most apples. Both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol are decreased through regular intake of apples. Another health benefit of apple consumption is blood sugar regulation. This occurs in a number of ways, including reduction of glucose absorption, slowing down of carbohydrate digestion, stimulating the pancreas to produce more insulin, and stimulating insulin receptors so that more sugar flows out of our bloodstream and into our cells. Apples also appear to have anti-cancer benefits when it comes to breast, colon, and lung cancer. Apples are a good source of fiber (both soluble in the form of pectin, and insoluble), and vitamin C. The nutrients in apples are concentrated skin, so buy organic, give them a good wash, and keep the skin on whenever possible.
- 1 cup thin apple sauce
- 2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
- ½ cup (113g) room temperature butter or vegan substitute
- ¾ cup maple sugar, or alternative (see notes)
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat your oven to 180°C / 350°F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 9 square baking tin with parchment paper, and butter the sides.
- In a small bowl, combine the ground flax and the applesauce and set aside while you're preparing the other ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, sift the oat and all purpose flours, baking soda, cloves, nutmeg, and salt together.
- In a large bowl, us an electric mixer to cream the butter (or vegan alternative) together with the maple syrup until it's light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
- Add the applesauce mixture to the butter mixture, and use the electric mixer to mix it in well.
- Add the dry mix to the wet, using a wooded spoon or spatula to gently stir it together until just combined, then stir the raisins through.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan, and place in the preheated oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire wrack. Slice into squares, and serve.
-Maple sugar is made from dehydrated maple syrup. It has a texture similar to sucanat, but is much finer than coconut sugar. I've seen it popping up in natural food stores, but if you can't find it you could instead use sucanat or a comparable amount of brown or white sugar. I haven't tried it with coconut sugar, but suspect that would also work.
-You can make your own oat flour by whirling rolled oats in a food processor or blender until you achieve a fine crumb.
-The raisins are optional, but awesome.