Small amount of vegetable shortening and flour for preparing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup commercial applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1½ cups peeled, coarsely chopped Granny Smith apple (about 1 large)
1½ cups peeled, coarsely chopped Golden Delicious apple (about 1 large)
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped
Tip: See Toasting Nuts and Seeds. Use a citrus juicer for freshly squeezed juice. Use standard measuring cups and spoons or scales for accurate measuring.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare one 13x9x2 inch oblong pan; lightly grease the pan with shortening and dust with flour. Tip: to make baked cake easier to remove from pan, lightly grease the pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and then lightly grease the top of the parchment paper and dust the pan with flour.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon, sift or whisk together to mix. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the applesauce and vanilla together. Set aside
- Chop the apples and immediately sprinkle with lemon juice and stir to mix (the lemon juice helps prevent the apples from turning brown.) Set aside.
- Chop the dates; sprinkle the coarsely chopped dates with 1 teaspoon flour to keep the dates from sticking together. Set aside.
Tip: Since the dates get very sticky when chopping, sprinkle with the 1 teaspoon of flour before chopping to help cut down on the stickiness.
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Tip: To cream, start by placing the butter in the bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed begin by beating the butter about 1 minute until it is smooth and light in color.
With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the sugar to the butter, either one tablespoon at a time, or in a very slow steady stream, taking from 4 to 8 minutes to add all of the sugar, and beating until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated and the mixture is a light, or pale yellow color, with a fluffy texture. While adding the sugar, stop the mixer occasionally to scrape the mixture off the paddle and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula so the mixture blends evenly.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly mixed.
Tip: For each egg, crack the egg into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to thoroughly break up the egg before adding to the creamed mixture. Start with the mixer on low speed so the liquid from the egg doesn’t splatter, once the egg is partially mixed increase the speed to medium. Each egg should be fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next egg, taking about one minute to blend in each egg.
- With the mixer on low speed, add about one third of the flour mixture, mix just until the flour is almost completely blended. Scrape the bowl down, and add about one half of the applesauce mixture, blending just until mixed. Scrape the bowl down again and continue alternating with the flour mixture and applesauce mixture, ending with the last portion of the flour, and stirring just until blended.
- Add apples, dates and nuts. Using a balloon type whisk or large rubber spatula, gently fold into the batter to mix.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a long toothpick, wooden skewer, or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.
- This cake may be served directly from the pan, or remove and place on a serving plate. Serve warm or cool. If desired, serve with sweetened whipped cream.
Tip: Serve cake using a pretty cake plate and cake server for a delightful presentation.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light October 2006