Mo's Applesauce Cake Recipe

By admin |

Recipe by Lindsay Hunt

This cake marries three of my interests: heirloom recipes, baking, and when baking, increasing the use of whole-grain flours.  There’s no need to explain my love for baking, my weekly devotion to sharing my baked goods is evidence enough.  It’s the connection to my past and my goal for a healthier future that draw me to this cake.

This is my great-grandmother Mo’s recipe.  Though I never met her, I know we would have been friends.  As an avid baker, I am drawn to anyone who produced a good recipe, and this one is great.  Subtly spiced, punctuated with walnuts and juicy raisins, the cake is perfect with earl grey tea or a cup of coffee.

While I’m always game for a delicious cookie or cake no matter the ingredients, I want to change how I’m making and eating baked goods.  Though I consider myself a healthy person, I have a strong sweet tooth and eat baked goods on a regular basis.  This is not going to change, nor do I believe it should.

Indulging in homemade baked goods is nothing to feel guilty about, it’s the white flour that makes me question how many slices of cake I’m eating.  Flours such as amaranth, oat, or barley have seen growing popularity with the increase of gluten intolerence and allergies.  I wanted to tweak Mo’s recipe to fit my goal of eating more whole-grain flours, while retaining the delicious cake she made so many years ago.

I love the nutty taste of buckwheat, and thought it would enhance the cake’s flavor.  The barley flour gives an earthy taste, and expands the nutritional profile.  Both flours pair well with the applesauce and spices.  If whole-grain flours aren’t available where you live, make Mo’s original version with 3 cups all-purpose flour.


1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter

2 cups sugar

2 cups thick, unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup barley flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 3/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup raisins

1 tsp vanilla


Photo. Lindsay Hunt

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and angel food cake pan and set aside.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

3. Fold in the applesauce until just combined. (Mixture will appear curdled.)

4. Sift together dry ingredients.

5. Remove 1/4 cup from the dry ingredient mixture and toss with pecans and raisins.

6. Fold flour mixture into batter.

7. Add vanilla, mix to combine. Add nuts and raisins.

8. Bake for one and a half hours, or until a cake tester inserted between the tube and the edge of the pan comes out clean.