This post is all Rochester, from the Applehood and Motherpie cookbook After-School Applesauce Cake recipe to the essential ingredient that will have everyone asking for the recipe, this is pure hometown comfort food at it’s finest. I have already gushed on and on about Applehood and Motherpie, so I will spare you that, but I did promise to share some of my favorite recipes from the 33 year old cookbook.
So I am kicking off my favorites with After-School Applesauce Cake, but this is kind of a Upstate New York twofer. This recipe introduced me to Fee Brother’s, Inc. Aromatic Bitters, bitters made right here in Rochester on Portland Ave. Check out the link to Fee brother’s history page, it is non-affiliate, I included it because it turns out Fee Brothers have a long (read longer than I want to type) and pretty interesting history here in Rochester .
I was perusing the bitters selection at Wegman’s when I happened upon Fee Brother’s aromatic bitters. Bitters made right here in Rochester? Of course I bought it! I was really intrigued by what the actual flavor was because the bottle was somewhat vague reading only “A few dashes add a savory zest to a huge variety of drinks and foods. This highly aromatic product is blended from the finest ingredients from around the world” so when I got home I opened the bottle up right way and took a sniff. This little bottle packs a punch! The smell was similar to atomic fireballs and apples, and just lingering off in the distance is a note of citrus. Before I even ever made After-School Applesauce Cake after smelling the bitters it was clear to me that this is what makes this cake so special, there is a ton of flavor here. I have my suspicions that this cake would be bland and mediocre at best without the addition of the bitters, JUST DON’T DO IT! If you are not sure about purchasing a whole bottle for one recipe I think it keeps indefinitely, and between you and me I can not wait to try a splash of this in apple pie, it might be my new secret ingredient
The cake mixes up fast, perfect for an after-school treat, I used cinnamon flavored Motts, because I was out of my homemade stuff, another reminder of my food storage fail. I made no adaptations to the recipe, other than baking it in a round springform pan, as it seems my 8 inch square Pyrex pan has gone A.W.O.L. Like Crazy Cake this cake uses no eggs, but it still works and rises beautifully.
The first bite of this After-school Applesauce cake was so familiar. I thought I was trying a new recipe, but I was really unknowingly revisiting an old friend. A cake I had at friend’s houses, church pot-lucks and picnics of my youth, hometown comfort food pure and simple. The flavor is unmistakably familiar, and I was thrilled to be reintroduced to it. I am really curious if anyone else recognizes this recipe.
After-School Applesauce Cake
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 3/4 cups flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1/2 tsp orange extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp aromatic bitters
- 1 cup cup raisins tossed with 1 tablespoon flour to coat
- 1/2 cup butter softened
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar
FOR THE CAKE:
Preheat oven to 350 °F degrees.
Cream butter and brown sugar together, set aside.
Sift flour and baking powder together.
Mix applesauce, with orange extract, cloves, cinnamon, and bitters
Gradually and alternately add flour and applesauce mixtures to creamed butter and sugar mixture. Mix well after addition. Fold in the floured raisins.
Pour batter into an 8-inch greased pan and bake for 45 minutes.
FOR THE CARAMEL FROSTING:
Melt butter and add brown sugar, boil and stir for 1 minute or until slightly thick. Cool briefly. Add milk, beat until smooth. Add sugar, beat until mixture has a spreadable consistency. Spread on cooled cake.