I have an absolutely fantastic cookbook called Canning for a New Generation, by Liana Krissoff. I highly recommend it; she includes old classics (like raspberry preserves) and newer joys (like rhubarb & orange jam). The book is broken down into the four seasons, then further divided into vegetables and fruits. She also includes a ton of recipes that utilize local southern produce (like pickled greens). Nearly all of the recipes eschew modern shortcuts like powdered pectin in favor of more traditional methods. They may take longer to make, but they result in intense, bright flavors with wonderful texture.
As a librarian, I would normally be turned off by seasonal organization because it’s too tweaky as a taxonomy. (Alphabetical may not seem instinctual, but it translates clearly to most users.) However, it works well in this case. It allows the user to browse the recipes according to the seasonal freshness, rather than strict indexing. And if you need that index after all, just flip to the back of the book. The best of both worlds!
I bring all this up for two — no, wait, three — purposes. First, it’s the best canning book I’ve run across in a long time and I think you should go by a copy. Second, we’ve been canning applesauce according to her lovely, unvarnished recipe this autumn and it tastes amazing. Third, she also includes some fantastic recipes for using your newly canned goods and that’s the source of this latest batch of awesome.
This is a vegan-friendly applesauce cake is mildly sweet and studded with nuts and raisins. I almost hesitate to call it a cake; I don’t want you to think it’s a sugary evening dessert. It’s perfect for the afternoon, preferably with a cup of tea and a copy of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand while the little guy naps. It’s also ridiculously simple to make. Enjoy!
Spiced Applesauce Cake
(makes a 9″ square cake)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, compile all of the dry ingredients and mix together. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time, and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the contents of the bowl into a 9″ square cake pan, then smooth the top. Bake for 30-50 minutes; a toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean. Cool on a wire rack before serving.