Tuesday 15 November 2011

Applesauce Cocoa Cake

There is one fruit that you are going to see on this blog fairly often in the next few weeks, and that's the apple. I have a crateload of apples this autumn, thanks to my kindly neigbour. Mr M has an apple tree in his backyard, which, like his Evan's cherry tree, produces tons and tons of apples every year. This year he asked me to help him clear the tree. Little did I know that what he meant was, take all the apples home. Kay, Aditi and I, between us, picked every single apple off the tree, and we had a gigantic crateful. I spent days sorting through these apples.

First off, I picked out the nice, big red ones and put them in bowls for us to eat, plus shared them out with neighbours as well. Then I picked out the just ripening ones, peeled and cored them, then chopped them into pieces and sugar froze them for pies and crumbles.

I then put little not-so-red ones into two big cardboard boxes, layering well with newspapers, and cellared them, so we have fresh apples through winter. I made applesauce with about 10 kilos of apples (a HUGE amount of applesauce). And I still have one more large bagful to sort through... yes, that's a lot of apples! I've been using them up little by little, making cakes and cookies, and as some ripen up, we've been eating them too.

Applesauce Cocoa Cake

So I was extremely pleased when Chele chose apples as the special ingredient for We Should Cocoa this month. Not least because I had sent out a desperate appeal to grandmas (that's Aditi's grandma, not mine) and grandpas for apple recipes. Both of them came up trumps with several gorgeous looking recipes, including this one. I love the fact that this recipe is from the booklet 'Magic Recipes for the Electric Blender' and dated 1952. A true classic, indeed!

The applesauce in this recipe was made by me, using this recipe from Canadian Living. I modified it slightly, as I added some sugar (the apples were a bit on the tart side) and instead of using powdered cinnamon, I chucked in a few cinnamon sticks which I then removed once the sauce was made. I also did not puree the sauce as I wanted it chunky. I canned it using the traditional boiling water method.

I made a few modifications to the recipe, and instead of the coffee icing suggested by Grandma, I used a coffee glaze, which was a lighter sauce, and added a delicate pudding-like aspect to the cake. The cake itself was moist and dense, almost like a sticky toffee pudding. As my applesauce was chunky, there were little pieces of apple scattered through the cake, and the slight tart flavour was just delicious, adding a real contrast to the sweet stickiness of the rest of the cake. The cocoa added the chocolate flavour, but unlike my expectations, it did not overhwhelm the cake, just enhancing the fragrance and flavour with a touch of bitterness. All in all, this cake was a real success and this is a keeper of a recipe for sure. I am looking forward to the rest of the apples already!

On a side note, has any of you been utterly confused by the North American coffee cake? Most don't have coffee in them, and are actually cakes that are served with morning or afternoon coffee. Who knew? As it turned out, I was making a recipe for sour cherry coffee cake. I kept thinking that they must have missed out the coffee in the recipe, and so I added a slug of coffee to the recipe when making the cake. Not my greatest moment, I'll admit, hehe :-)

Cuppa Tea

(Printable Recipe)
Adapted from Magic Recipes for the Electric Blender, 1952, 1956

2 cups sifted cake flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ cup (375 ml) applesauce
2 eggs
½ cup shortening (or softened butter)

Coffee Glaze:

2 tbsp strong espresso coffee
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp water
1 cup icing sugar
Pinch salt


Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a bowl, sift together dry ingredients.

Place the applesauce, shortening or butter and the eggs in blender container (or use hand blender) and blend until smooth.

Pour over sifted dry ingredients and mix thoroughly, using a wooden spoon.

Pour into greased and floured (or wax paper lined) 9”x13” pan and bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes.

To make the coffee glaze, heat together the butter and water. Add this hot mixture to the icing sugar, along with the espresso. Whisk to a smooth sauce, and pour over the still warm cake.

Note: I took a small portion of the cake batter and poured it into mini bundt moulds for the pictures. The rest of the cake was baked in its tin.

Applesauce Cocoa Cake

This recipe is linked to Ren's fabulous blogging event, Simple and in Season.


  1. Super like Mich! The last pic is fantastic..looks really mouthwatering!

  2. Great vintage recipe. I like the coffee glaze idea. I have to admit - you've got an awful lot of apples.

  3. I do love a cake with a hole! This sounds so comforting.

  4. I'm in awe of your commitment to them apples! Love the recipe and looking forward to some more. I bought a tonne of dessert apples which my husband decided he didn't like so there's been lots of baking at no 41. Can highly recommend toffee apple muffins - yum!

  5. Lovely cake Michelle! Loved the idea of coffee glaze.

  6. What a delicious looking cake and great write up!

  7. Superb cake..loved it :)


  8. Looks so yum n fab ...lovely clicks

  9. Wow! That's a whole lot of apples to last through the season. I can't complain though. Apples are sweet, versatile and nutritious. You can never have enough of its versatility...I am looking forward to more apple-icious posts!

  10. Shireen, thank you so much. I get a chance to actually create a setting for the pictures when I don't have a husband and kid clamouring to eat dinner in the background :-)

    Phil, yes, I thought it was a lovely recipe. My MIL has tons of recipes that she's been passing on to me, and I am having so much fin recreating them. And yes, I have a lot of apples, I hate wasting anything though, so they're being made into anything I can get a recipe for.

    Sarah, yes, isn't it cute? I found those mini bundt moulds in the dollar store, and I love them!

    Nicola, haha, I didn't really have a choice with my apples. But that said, I am really glad not to have to buy apples for a bit, as they can be really expensive, and apparently they are sprayed to death here!

    Rinku, thank you so much. Its a pretty nice addition to a basically simple cake!

    Ansh, thanks, and yes, it certainly was a yummy cake. I hope you try it out.

    Madhavi, thank you. I love your site, and its quite inspirational.

    Priti, thank you. It took some effort, but I am quite pleased with the pictures. I don't actually make that much of an effort.

    MyFudo, yes, there are enough to last the winter I think. They taste just wonderful, like real apples, if you know what I mean? Fresh and crisp, just off the tree taste, that just can't be beaten.

  11. Just curious... what's sugar freezing? I've never heard of that before but it sounds like it could be useful. Also, as a kid, I always thought coffee cake had coffee in it too!

  12. Melissa, sugar freezing is just what it says. Freezing the fruit with a sprinkling of sugar. I normally cut my apples into bite sized pieces, douse them with a little lemon juice, and tuck them into a tupperware box, sprinkling sugar every so often. I also ocasionally add cinnamon to them as well.

    Sugar freezing works very well for soft fruit like cherries as well, especially if they are destined for pies.

  13. That looks a stunner of a cake. How wonderful to get such a bounteous harvest and I'm so impressed with the way you've been using and preserving them all. I made a batch of applesauce, but didn't water process it thinking it would keep well in the fridge - it didn't! thanks for your continued participation.


I love hearing back from my friends and readers. Please let me know how you liked this post, and if you would consider making this recipe, or have already made it. Please take a moment to post pictures on my Facebook page, if you do happen to take a couple :)

Please note, that due to the enormous amount of spam comments I've been getting, I am re-enabling comment moderation. Your comment will be visible on approval. Apologies in advance.