Early Bird

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Still dark, and raining hard
on a cold May morning

and yet the early bird
is out there chirping,

chirping its sweet-sour
wooden-pulley notes,

pleased, it would seem,
to be given work,

hauling the heavy
bucket of dawn

up from the darkness,
note over note,

and letting us drink.

-Ted Kooser, "The Early Bird"

The first week of May in Toronto was very cold ... and very wet. We got more rain in four days than we usually do all month. And although I didn't pull my winter coat out again (it's May, for heaven's sake!) I saw more than a few of them on the streets this week.

When I heard the weather forecast for the weekend was more rain, I knew comfort food was in the offing. Apple recipes are usually the domain of the fall, but a cold, wet spring demands the reassurance only a spiced applesauce cake can bring.

In the end, the weather forecast was wrong (insert your favourite weatherman joke here), and we enjoyed sun most of the day. But this lovely cake is a treat no matter what the weather.

Spiced Applesauce Cake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting
(slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

For frosting

5 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup conectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a non-stick 8” or 9” square cake pan.

Make cake: Whisk together flour, baking pwder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Beat butter, brown sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer at high speed for 2 – 3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in applesauce. Mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Spread batter evenly in pan and bake about 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Run a knife around edge of cake to loosen, then invert onto a plate. Cool completely before frosting.

Make frosting: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add butter and vanilla, and beat until fluffy. Add confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon, then beat at medium speed until incorporated.

Spread frosting over top of cooled cake.


Jemi Fraser said...

I know my whole family will LOVE this! Can't wait :) Thanks for the recipe!!!

Natalie Aguirre said...

This is another one that my husband would have loved. It was rainy and cold in Michigan this week too. Thankfully warmer, dryer weather arrived today.

That Girl said...

It's been raining in Southern California too!

Angie's Recipes said...

Our spring over here isn't better either...everywhere I see is G.R.E.Y!!! The cake looks super yum!

Katerina said...

Our spring is quite warm here and temperatures are above 20's C. This cake is packed with flavors! I love cinnamon and I am sure I would love this!

grace said...

this is definitely worthy of being served and eaten any time of year, but the weather lately certainly calls for it! i think i can honestly say that apple desserts are my favorite, and this looks fantastic!

Monica said...

Sounds like everything worked out better than planned...a delicious cake and good weather. : ) Hope you have a great Mother's Day, Beth!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

Lovely cake Beth, I bet your kitchen smelled amazing.

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

I made apple bread last week---we had the same forecast and obviously both needed some yummy comfort food!!

Kitchen Riffs said...

I haven't had spiced applesauce cake in years! You've got me craving it now. Of course. :-) Looks really good -- thanks.

Unknown said...

What a comforting looking cake and my son loves applesauce so I make it quite often. And I am still wearing my winter jacket, in MAY!!!! I think that never happened before. :(

Unknown said...

What a beautiful and delicious looking cake, Beth! It's dark, snowy and cold here too.


Gloria Baker said...

Love this cake Beth and love the frosting !!!

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

I have always felt the world needs more apple cakes! This looks delicious! (And we are ridiculously wet here too!)

handmade by amalia said...

I wish I had a slice of that for my morning coffee.

Pam said...

Perfect poem and perfect cake! It was so chilly rainy here in Chicago area, but today it was 90°! Tomorrow it will probably snow. :-) Your cake looks delicious and I love all the good spices!

Romance Book Haven said...

Oh my! Such a yummy cake! And loved the poem!

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