Apple Sauce Cranberry Cake

This is my favorite baking book.  My mother gave it to my husband for Christmas one year when we were still dating.  I bake from it at least once a week.  After Martha, it’s my old standby for great recipes (A Little Warning: I have found several recipes that did not work out well the first time, and needed quite a bit of tweaking, so my book is full of notes and corrections.  If you’re not an experienced baker, this book may disappoint because your recipe may not rise or set or fit in the pan, or may be too spicy or runny!  That being said, the concepts are great, even if many of the proportions are wonky, and there may be an updated and revised edition – my copy is 10 years old.)

We attend a book study on Tuesday nights, and I always try to bake a dessert.  There are lots of little children, so I try to bake something I can rationalize as “nutritious” (pumpkin bread, banana cookies, etc).  This week, I made a seriously tweaked recipe, inspired by the Hot Apple Sauce Cake in Fannie Farmer.  My rationale for calling it a healthy dessert?  My version contains applesauce, cranberries, whole wheat flour, and walnuts (optional -I left them out this time due to nut allergies in some folks at the study).  Also, the frosting (not from Fannie Farmer) contains no refined sugar – only honey (I’ll post on that next time).  

Larksong’s Cranberry Applesauce Cake (inspired by a recipe in the Fannie Farmer Baking Book)

1 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking soda

2 teaspoons Penzeys Cassia  cinnamon

1/2 tsp Penzeys ground cloves

2 tsp Penzeys ground allspice

1/4 tsp Penzeys East India nutmeg

1/4 tsp Penzeys mace

2 cups hot unsweetened applesauce (I just microwave mine until steamy)

1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries or dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Honey Cream Cheese Frosting (in the next post)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two 8- or 9-inch round baking tins with parchment or wax paper.

2. Cream the shortening and sugar, beating until fluffy and smooth.  Add the eggs and beat well.  

3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flours, salt, soda, spices.  Slowly mix into the creamed mixture, alternating with the hot applesauce.  Fold in berries and nuts. 

4.  Pour evenly into the two pans.  Bake 9-inch layers about 40 min, 8-inch about 50 min, or until skewer comes out clean.  Let rest 5 minutes, then evert onto a cooling rack (please be careful, these cakes are very moist and tender from all of the applesauce).  Cool fully before frosting.

3 thoughts on “Apple Sauce Cranberry Cake”

  1. Pingback: Honey Cream Cheese Frosting at An Exaltation of Larks

  2. Pingback: Cranberry Upside-down Cake at An Exaltation of Larks

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