Mother-in-Law Cake (Applesauce Cake)

In 1969, my husband and I were graduate students at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York. We often ate this wonderful applesauce cake at the home of our friends Arlyn and Leslie Kerr.The recipe comes from Leslie's mother, and thus Arlyn called it Mother-in-Law Cake. Our oldest daughter, Leah, is quite allergic to all nuts, so I started making this recipe in two batches, one with and one without nuts. Gradually, Leah started asking only for the frosting - her favorite part of the cake.


Use only unsweetened Dutch cocoa, pure maple syrup, and fresh eggs.

Preheat oven to 350°.

Spray a 9-inch bundt pan or two 3-inch by 8-inch loaf pans with vegetable oil spray.

Mix all the dry ingredients. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the shortening with the cocoa and spices; gradually add sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing just to incorporate them after each addition. At low speed, add the flour mixture, alternating with applesauce. Fold in the raisins, walnuts, and dates. Bake in a greased bundt pan or two loaf pans for 55-60 minutes. Frost with Maple Butter frosting .

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