Thursday, November 2, 2017

Somebody's Grandma's Spice Cake

I used pear sauce and carob in this revamp of an old family recipe, which happens to be completely vegan!


Well, holy crow it's been a while since I've been able to post! With the flurry of activity around here the past few weeks, cooking, baking and writing for the blog had to take a bit of a backseat, so here's hoping the worst of the craziness is past (except for exams... I have no control over those). In the past month, both my stepsister and stepsister-in-law had beautiful baby girls, we had Thanksgiving and Halloween, I got my exam schedule and started my term papers - all of which come with time constraints and stress! When I finally did get into the kitchen, I knew 100% it was going to be in order to make some comfort food.

I've written before about my mom's "black box" collection of recipe cards and cache of cookbooks - some gleaned from family and friends, others clipped from newspapers and magazines. Almost none of the handwritten cards have a source, but given the time it would have taken to compile the collection I'm confident that each one had special meaning.

This cake was simply titled "Nana's Applesauce Cake". Neither I, nor anyone I know in my family, have ever called our grandmothers "Nana", but apparently somewhere down the line there was such a woman making a spicy, dense, moist ring cake with applesauce. With a boatload of pureed, lightly sweetened pears in my freezer (left over from the days of Ruby Pears in a Golden Cage), I saw this cake as the perfect opportunity to use them up, and take a little twist on tradition as I went along. The neat thing about this recipe is that it was always a 100% vegan and part whole grain recipe - why, I don't know (except maybe economics played a factor), but they definitely don't have any negative impact on the flavour or texture of the cake. I did add a dash of vanilla, and cut down the sugar a bit, but I also decided to use carob in place of the cocoa in the original. Carob has a somewhat fruity flavour going for it, which I thought would work well with the fruit in the batter.

I tried to get a photo of it sliced when I took it to work, but (as with all staff rooms) good food simply doesn't linger! I do promise you though that the crumb is dark, moist and definitely indulgent, perfect for pairing with a cuppa on a cold Fall day.

Somebody's Grandma's Spice Cake

Somebody's Grandma's Spice Cake
Makes 1 large tube cake, 16 slices
6 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla
3 1⁄2 cups sweetened pear or applesauce
1⁄2 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp cloves
1 tbsp cinnamon
⅓ cup carob powder
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 ⅓ cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 ⅓ cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup raisins
½ cup diced dried apple
  1. Heat oven to 350F and grease a 12-cup tube pan.
  2. In a bowl, beat together oil, vanilla, applesauce, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, carob, salt and sugar.
  3. Add flours and baking soda, beating well.
  4. Mix in the dried fruit.
  5. Bake at 350 for about an hour or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Amount Per Serving
  • Calories: 260.1

  • Total Fat: 5.4 g
  • Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
  • Sodium: 3.7 mg
  • Total Carbs: 52.4 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 3.2 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g