Cake Ladies Cookbook Review and Applesauce Spice Recipe

So my oven as you know has had a few issues lately (like ruening off in the middle of my whoopie pies).  But a few days later a repairman came to fix it.  Probably is when he came, it turned on no problem.  Isn’t that always the case?  He probably thought I was crazy.  So he left and we discussed a new part that I may need to be sure it doesn’t happen again.  As soon as he left, since the oven was working I got out Cake Ladies, Celebrating a Southern Tradition by Jodi Rhoden.  I had been reading the stories of these lovely southern women (chefs, cooks, moms, grandmas, etc) who loved to make cakes as part of their heritage.


We were heading to friends for a large playdate so I thought I’d make and bring the Applesauce Spice Cake from Lois Mims in Pine Apple, Alabama.  Lois’ story is about using her intuition to cook and not measuring or writing things down.  Luckily she estimated for this recipe to share in the book.  And luckily my oven remained working through the baking.


Pros:  Fun stories of real women living in the south and the importance of their baking to their family, community and history.  Lovely, inspiring pictures.   A cake for everyone and every occassion – even vegan cupcakes.

Cons: Each recipe is by a diffrent lady, thus some are not as consistent or exact (heaping teaspoons etc).  Not surprinsigly, many are time consuming recipes.

Applesauce Spice Cake

1 cup vegetable oil

4 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

2 cups self rising sugar divided

1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon

1 heaping teaspoon clove

1 cup applesauce

1 cup whole shelled walnuts, coarsely chopped*


3 tablespoons milk

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar*


Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350F.

Spray two 9 inch round cake pans with cooking spray and set aside.

Mix the Batter

Combine the oil, eggs, and sugars in a stand mixer.  Beat until light and fluffy and fully creamed.  Add 1 cup of the flour, and spices and beat until just combined.  Add applesauce and combine.  Then remaining flour.  Combine.  Add walnuts and fold in with a spatula.  Beat until just combined.

Bake the Cake

Divide the batter evenly between the two cake pans.  Place pans in oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean and the sides of the cake pull away from the sides of the pan.  Remove from oven and cool in pans on a rack for 5 minutes before inverting onto racks to cool completely.

Make the Glaze

In a separate bowl combine the milk and the powdered sugar.  Mix with a fork or whisk until no lumps of powdered sugar remain.

Assemble the Cake

When the layers are cool, place the first layer on a plate.  Drizzle 1/4 cup of the glaze overt the first layer to cover the surface.  Allow the glaze to drizzle down the sides a little.  Place the next layer on top of the first and repeat with remianing glaze.  Applesauce spice cake can be kept at room temperature covered for up to one week.

*Lois Kitchen Wisdom

“Way back yonder we didn’t have no mixer.  When my mama used to fix the cake we had to beat it 300 strokes every time.”

(Note: I substituted peacans since I didn’t have walnuts.   Also I sifted the powdered sugar for the glaze to be sure it was smooth)