Back when my children refused all things chunky we ate a lot of applesauce. They liked it with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top, and who was I to refuse? Apples and cinnamon are a taste sensation!

In the fall I made “cinnamon cake,” an applesauce cake with just the slightest hint of spice. It was usually pronounced edible, although not as good as plain vanilla cake… (And I could forget about using chopped apples or toasted nuts!)

Today we are living proof that grown-up kids develop grown-up tastes, and I no longer have to hide my ingredients and think up creative names for our food! But we still love applesauce…

This is a cake you want when the weather feels like fall and nothing will do but warm spice and soft crumb. The freshly toasted nuts and caramel sauce are a bonus, but not at all necessary.

Gather Up:
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups applesauce
½ cups toasted chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts

For Caramel Glaze:
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

Beat butter, brown sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, scraping down bowl several times, about 3 minutes.

Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Beat in applesauce.

At low speed mix in flour mixture until just combined.

Fold in nuts gently if using.

Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 40 – 45 minutes.

Cool in pan 15 minutes then turn onto rack to cool completely.

To make glaze, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add brown sugar and milk. Boil over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool and thicken slightly. Pour over cake and pass extra sauce for serving.

Adapted from a recipe on gourmet.com.