There is a great crop of British apples this year and they have been making regular appearances in my organic vegetable box. As a result, I’ve ended up with quite a few of them stashed away in my fridge. As we were about to head to Canada for a visit with our son I needed to use them up so I decided to make applesauce.
Have you ever made crockpot applesauce before? I had always made my applesauce in a saucepan on the stove top before this. It’s the way my late Mom taught me. However I tried this recipe from Janelle at Comfy in the Kitchen last week and I am a total convert. The only change I made was to use mixed spice instead of cinnamon. Honestly, this is the best applesauce my husband and I have ever tasted and it was such a pleasure to make. The house smelled beautiful for hours and the applesauce was gorgeous hot or cold. Still, there’s only so much applesauce two people can eat.
Which leads me to my Applesauce Date and Walnut Loaf Cake. I made it three times last week and it was one of those recipes that just came together – I was happy with from the first time I made it. Everyone who tasted the cakes loved them and they are perfect any time of day. In fact I ate Date Walnut and Applesauce Cake for breakfast every day for a week and never got fed up with it. Perfect for unexpected guests, it was a real hit with a cup of tea one cold afternoon when friends dropped in. You can also double the recipe and make two cakes, one to keep and one to give away, perfect for this time of year when there’s lots of visiting going on.
The applesauce I made was very well spiced as I had used mixed spice, a popular spice blend in the UK and Europe. It’s not always easy to find in North America but you can make your own. This recipe from BBC Good Food is very good although I always leave out the mace. If you prefer to make your applesauce with just cinnamon or you are using store bought applesauce, leave out the cinnamon I call for in the cake recipe and add about a quarter teaspoon each of ginger and ground nutmeg to the cake to give it a bit more depth. If you make your applesauce with mixed spice like I do just add cinnamon as directed in my recipe.
This cake keeps well covered at room temperature for several days and the flavour gets even better as the days go by.
Date Walnut and Applesauce Loaf Cake
- ½ cup butter softened
- ¾ cup packed brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup applesauce
- 2 cups all purpose plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup dates stoned and chopped
- ½ cup walnut halves roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Grease or line a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
- Cream the butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer.
- Add the egg, vanilla and applesauce and beat until light and fluffy (about one minute).
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together into a large bowl.
- Add the dates and walnuts to the flour mixture, stirring to coat. (This prevents the dates from sticking together.)
- Remove the bowl from the electric mixer and thoroughly stir the flour, date and nut mixture into the creamed applesauce mixture using a wooden spoon.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake towards the end of baking to make sure it doesn't get too brown.You can cover the cake loosely with a bit of aluminum foil at this point to prevent over-browning if necessary. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 20 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.