The Joy of Baking. Hmmm. Well, I'm okay at it, but ultimately I've never been too serious, having always possessed a talent for insolence which makes me innately distrustful of any recipe that is too precise or bossy. And baking is like that, isn't it- hinging, as it does, on complicated chemistry between fat and flour. Yet there's nothing quite like a good slice of cake is there?
Enter Apple Sauce Bread, a marvel gifted to me by my wonderful mother-in-law, Lisa, who is a stunningly good baker, possessing all of the patience and attention to detail that I have never acquired in my 28 long years. After Isaac and I got married, I knew I had officially been inducted into the clan when one day I received a flurry of carefully scribed index cards bearing the family recipes, chief among which was the famous ASB. This isn't a bread, it's a cake, but Mama Lyles calls it that, and while I do make one tiny adjustment to her recipe by adding a few raisins to the mix, I'm not as heretical as to start messing with the title.
This is a dream. It's substantial though light, not too sweet and warm with nutmeg and all-spice. Most crucially, it's a cinch to put together, and perfection spread with butter and a cup of coffee in the morning.
On Sunday, because I was sick and it was brutally cold and I felt myself imminently on the cusp of going a little Britney circa 2007, I defaulted to Apple Sauce Bread. As ever, it saved the day. I baked, and Isaac took photos.
See the end of the post for the full recipe.
The recipe, in full below, makes two 4x8 loaf cakes (one is not enough, making an heir and a spare essential- FYI it freezes beautifully if you want to save one for later).
Note: I've put the measurements in American cups and converted to grams for Europeans.
Mama Lyles's Famous Apple Sauce Bread
- 3 and a 1/2 cups of flour (430 grams)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 2 tsp all spice
- 1 cup of butter (230 grams)
- 2 cups of granulated (caster) sugar (400 grams)
- 2 large eggs, well beaten
- 2 cups of unsweetened apple sauce (500 grams)
- A handful of raisins (optional)
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit/180 celsius. With a little butter, grease your cake pans.
1) In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
2) Add eggs, then apple sauce.
3) In a separate bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves baking soda and salt.
4) Tip dry ingredients into the wet. Add raisins if you're using. Stir together.
5) Bake for an hour, depending on your oven. Check after 40 minutes for done-ness.
6) Turn it out immediately. Let cool. Slice, Enjoy.
The hugest of thanks to Texan master baker and my sweet mother-in-law, Lisa, for so generously allowing me to share this recipe. I had to marry her only son to get it, so you guys are getting a sweet deal. Love you Mama Lyles.