This week’s Guest Test is also a Guest Contribution! Thanks to Stephanie for sending this to Ruth who sent it on to me…
Boxed mix may have convenience and predictability, but I think that fancy cakes can be a lot of fun to make from scratch.
Of course, I don’t usually have to put in a layer of applesauce…
- 1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 1/2 cup canned applesauce
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- Shaved sweet chocolate
- Maraschino cherries
- Combine first 7 ingredients.
- Cream the butter in a bowl. Add the sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and mix thoroughly.
- Add the crumb mixture alternately with the milk. Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry and fold into sugar mixture.
- Pour into 2 waxed paper-lined and greased 8-inch cake pans. Bake in 325° oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool, then remove from pans. Cool on wire racks.
- Place the applesauce in a bowl. Whip the cream until stiff and fold in confectioners’ sugar. Fold 2/3 of the whipped cream into applesauce and spread between cake layers.
- Place remaining whipped cream in a pastry tube and pipe around edge and in center of cake. Garnish with chocolate and cherries.
This is from an actual cookbook. Graham crackers and applesauce and somehow turning that into “cake.”
But despite graham crackers being listed as the first ingredient, it’s a pretty familiar cake method. Butter, sugar, egg yolks…
… and graham crackers turned into flour.
It got a little lumpy and strange when adding the graham crumbs mixture, because of the walnuts.
What’s worse, it didn’t really rise at all during baking. And I was supposed to split these half-inch cakes in half… with a very long knife and a lot of care.
Luckily, that went well, and assembling everything was so easy I forgot to photograph anything between “slice the layers” and “oh look, it’s a cake.”
But we’ll always remember to photograph the tasting, of course.
And happily, this cake tasted as good as it looked.
Verdict: Tasty torte!
From the tasting notes:
Could have used a little bit more whipped cream. Even so, the filling was good and flavor nicely complemented by the spice cake layers. More chocolate in the center layer might have been nice, but it was tasty this way too. The applesauce was fairly obvious but nobody would guess graham crackers played such an important role.
Only a little reminiscent of the nut-flour (little or no actual flour) tortes my very Eastern-European parents made when I was young; if this were meant as a variant, I think the nuts would have been finely ground and there’d have been a cup or more of that nut flour. Fruit-based fillings, sometimes, but not applesauce: an Americanization?
Actually, there’s precedent in central/eastern European cooking for this kind of use of crumbs as well. Linzertorte uses not flour but fine bread crumbs (in addition to a smaller amount of nut flour). I haven’t made it in a long time, but perhaps I should more often.
And prune puree, or apricot.