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Recipe: Pop's Northeastern Roasted Applesauce Cake
(Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Soy-free, Refined Sugar-free)
My father has an organic orchard in Western Massachusetts. He grows old-fashioned varieties of apples, pears and peaches, and during fall harvest, he has an over-abundance of fruit. He also raises honey bees, which produce masses of honey. Every year, he sends me a care package with a huge jar of honey and way more apples than my family can eat. So, I cook them!
Roasting apples to make applesauce caramelizes the fruit, giving it an amazing depth of flavor. Try this old-fashioned cake with an old-fashioned variety of apples, such as baldwins, roxbury russets, winesap, sops of wine or pippens, often available at farmers' markets in fall. Other times of year, use any firm baking apple to substitute, such as granny smith, crispin, or golden delicious.
For the Roasted Applesauce:
- 2 tsp. lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1 Tbsp. organic canola oil (try Spectrum)
- 2 Tbsp. brandy or apple cider
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cloves
- 3 large firm baking apples (see above)
For the Cake:
- 1 cup roasted applesauce (be sure to use a liquid measuring cup for this)
- 2/3 cup organic canola oil (ditto on the measuring cup)
- 3/4 cup honey (ditto again)
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 3/4 cup whole grain spelt flour (try Arrowhead Mills)
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8th tsp. salt
- 1 cup raisins
To make the applesauce, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using a medium baking dish (8"x11"), combine everything but the apples. Whisk until smooth. Peel, core, and slice apples into 8 pieces each. Add to baking dish and toss to coat in honey mixture. Make sure apples are in a single layer. Roast in middle of oven, turning apples once. Remove from oven and pour into bowl of a food processor. Pulse 30 times. You want the applesauce chunky, not smooth. Set aside. This can be made in advance.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9"x5"x3" loaf pan, sprinkle with a little spelt flour and tap out extra. Using an electric mixer set on medium, combine canola oil and honey. Add applesauce. Mix well. Add baking soda and mix will. It will foam up a bit. In a separate bowl, mix together spelt flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Add to liquid mixture. Mix well. Fold in raisins. Pour batter into loaf pan, gently smooth down top and bake in middle of oven for 1 hour. Let cool in pan on rack about 20 minutes before removing cake from pan.
Makes 10-12 servings.
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