Robin Hood’s Applesauce Cake Recipe, a Proven Delight


Eastport’s Bobbie Lehigh wrote a few weeks ago saying, “I don’t have a great applesauce cake recipe.” She lost the Robin Hood Flour applesauce cake recipe she used to have and, she reported, “None of the cookbooks I live in has a recipe that looks a bit like him.”

Ruth Thurston at Machias and her daughter Elizabeth dug around the Robin Hood website and sent me a link to the applesauce cake recipe they found there. Now, I have to admit that turning to a company’s website isn’t the first thing I think of, the cause being my age. It stands to reason that the Canadian company Robin Hood Flour would have a website these days, and an applesauce cake recipe on it, specifically the one they had already printed on a wrapper.

So I tried the recipe. This is very good, definitely better by far than the one I’ve been using for years. And I will do it again.

Naturally, companies like Robin Hood really appreciate you reprinting their recipes exactly as they were written and giving them credit. The recipe you see below is just that.

But, you know, I tinker. The recipe called for “shortening”. I no longer use hydrogenated vegetable shortening at all if I can possibly help it. So I substituted the butter. When I got to the quarter teaspoon of cinnamon, I thought, is that all? I increased it to a teaspoon.

Since I make my own applesauce, it’s easy to go unsweetened. Of course, you can buy prepared unsweetened applesauce or make your own. I use my mom’s old Foley grinder to remove the skins I leave on so the sauce will be a little pink from the red skins of the apples. Without a vegetable mill, you can puree cooked apples through a sieve.

Because Robin Hood is owned by the same people who bring you Carnation Evaporated Milk, that’s what the frosting part of the recipe called for — fat-free, two percent, or regular. I thought, well, fat-free evapor wouldn’t make up for the hydrogenated vegetable oil, and I still buy store brand evaporated milk. You should do what you want about fat-free milk, skim or whole, branded or unbranded.

I thought the caramel sauce wasn’t as wonderful as the cake itself. I tinkered with it and threw a little vanilla extract on it, which helped. Try it as written and see what you think; personal taste being what it is, you might like it a lot.

God knows the web is full of recipes, thousands of them. Some have reviews from cooks who have tried them and this is helpful when deciding which one to use. Some of us have favorite cooking sites to turn to, so we look there for a recipe. All good. What I love is when one of the readers of this column tells me about a recipe they love and know works. It’s getting a recipe from a trusted friend.

Applesauce Cake with Caramel Glaze

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 egg

2 1/2 cups Robin Hood All Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons of yeast

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Caramel frosting

1/4 cup all-vegetable shortening

2 teaspoons Robin Hood All Purpose Flour

1 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup Carnation Regular, 2% or Fat Free Evaporated Milk

Walnut halves for garnish

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 1/2 or 9 inch springform pan. (I used a tube pan)

Beat shortening and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat the egg.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a separate large bowl.

Stir into shortening mixture alternately with applesauce, adding 3 dry ingredients and 2 applesauce.

Stir in raisins and nuts.

Pour into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for about 60 to 65 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 20 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Caramel frosting:

Melt the shortening over low heat in a saucepan. Stir in the flour for 1 minute.

Whisk in sugar and evaporated milk until melted and smooth. To boil.

Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until thickened. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Pour over the cake, letting the excess drip down the sides.

Garnish with walnut halves.

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