Applesauce Oatmeal Cake with Orange Glaze


This is an old-fashioned cake that is just right for a chilly autumn evening or weekend dessert. It goes together pretty quickly, all in one saucepan, and the fragrance it will bring to your house–amazing!

As I’ve noted before, I like to keep orange juice concentrate in the freezer for recipes like this. The contrast of the orange glaze and the apple-y, cranberry filled cake gives a great depth to this really pretty simple dessert.
Applesauce Oatmeal Cake with Orange Glaze 
1 1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c old fashioned or quick oatmeal
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c butter
3/4 c brown sugar 
1 t vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg

2 T melted butter
2 T orange juice concentrate, thawed slightly
enough powdered sugar to make a very thin glaze–about 1 1/2 c at most

walnuts–about 3/4 to 1 cup, coarsely chopped or broken

1.  Pour the applesauce into a pan large enough to hold 5 to 6 cups of batter- quart and a half saucepan will be a good size. Heat the applesauce to just below boiling on medium high heat, stirring to be sure it does not stick on.  

2.  Stir in the oatmeal and dried cranberries and let the mixture cool, about 10 to 15 minutes. 

3.  Stir the butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and egg into the applesauce mixture. Sift the dry ingredients together and gently stir into the batter. Stir just until thoroughly mixed. 

4.  Pour into a 7 X 11  pan  that has been well-oiled or sprayed with cooking spray. Immediately put into oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes.

5.  While the cake is baking, mix the butter, orange juice concentrate, and powdered sugar. (Note that I just lightly rinsed the saucepan used for the cake batter; this is truly an easy clean up cake, with one pan for each step!)
As soon as the cake is done, remove it from the oven and spread the glaze evenly over the top, poking it in lightly with a cake. 

Sprinkle the walnuts evenly over the top. Serve warm or cold.
Microwave version:
Put the applesauce in a 2 quart mixing bowl in the microwave. Cover loosely (to avoid spatters) and heat until just below boiling, about 2 to 3 1/2 minutes. Proceed with the recipe as above.
A Larger Cake:
This recipe is easily doubled (just be sure to use a large enough pan!), using a 10 1/2 X 14 1/2 pan–or a 9 X 13 pan and about 6 to 8 cupcakes too. 


  I’ve been going through some of the oldest posts on this blog (has it really been ten years!), and I found an entry from 2011 that I had never published. It was for this same cake but had a different set of comments. Since it includes a favorite photo along with a little more background to the recipe, here is part of that earlier draft, from January 2011. The boys are just a bit bigger these days!

A few weeks ago, two of my grandchildren were here on a Saturday, so we made applesauce together. There is nothing like an old-fashioned food mill to get kids interested in working in the kitchen! The results were wonderful as usual, as homemade applesauce beats the purchased kind any time. Even so, there was still a good bit of applesauce to be used up when it came my turn to make some desserts for a morning coffee and Bible study. I went looking on-line for recipe ideas, but everything seemed to use only half a cup or so, and I really wanted to use up quite a bit more. So I went to a source that I use less and less, my three drawer recipe card file.

After I went away to college, I never lived near my parents again, so we spent a lot of vacations at their home, and they in turn visited often, no matter how far across the country we were. My Mom and I seemed to spend at least some part of each of these visits rummaging through both of our recipe files and cookbooks, copying especially good sounding recipes for later use. I guess it was natural then that I would be the one who inherited my Mom’s own overflowing recipe files. While I continue to whittle down my cookbook collection, these painstakingly hand-written and typed cards continue to hold their place of honor in my kitchen.

On that snowy afternoon last week, I pulled out the Cake section of Mom’s cards and rifled through the stack, remembering our conversations and her comments about some of the cards that she had inherited from her mother and grandmother. There were the cards in Grandma K’s backward slanting penmanship and a card or two with ingredients listed as a lump of butter and a teacup of milk, from my other Grandma and even Great-Grandma Mereness.

But it was the card for an Applesauce Oatmeal Cake that seemed to be just what I was looking for. Mom had typed it as she did with so many recipes, a feat I never could match. (For those of you too young to remember typewriters, getting a 3 X 5 card fed into the platen without being crooked and then typing it all the way down without going off any of the edges–that was truly a skill!)

Perhaps the most interesting thing on the card was the source. Mom always was careful to indicate where she had gotten a recipe, and this one listed me as the person from whom the recipe came, along with a 1976 date. Hmmm. I really did not remember the cake at all, so I went back to my own file of cake recipes. There, deep in the pack of little used cards, I found a clipping from The Sheboygan Press with no date and no comments about when I might have made it. (That was something else Mom did that I have learned to do–make a note next to any recipe I use, with the date of preparation and a comment as to how well it worked, how well it was received, etc.) The recipe was an exact match for the one in Mom’s recipes, so it had to be the source.

Now I was intrigued and definitely had to try it. I’m glad I did; this is a cake that is quick to make, not too sweet, and moist enough to last for a few days if it doesn’t get eaten right away. I made it twice (the second time doubling the recipe) and served it to several different groups of people, all of whom were quick to have seconds.

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