An Easy Cake

I love that the town of Fossil invites everyone to lunch on Wednesdays at the community center. The home cooked food is so delicious that I almost always have seconds. And recently, even thirds on dessert! What on earth was in that cake, one of the best cakes I had ever eaten? The baker, Carla Hornbrook, just happened to have the recipe on hand and shared it with me. Surprise! The cake was made from Bisquick. Thank you, my dear Betty Crocker, for this simple-to-make cake.

Applesauce Spice Bar-Cake

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

⅔ cup packed brown sugar

¼ cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

2 cups Bisquick baking mix

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ cup chopped nuts

Heat oven to 350⁰. Grease a 13 x 9 x 2 baking dish. Beat applesauce, brown sugar, oil and eggs until all lumps disappear. Stir in baking mix, pumpkin pie spice and nuts. Bake about 25 minutes until knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool. Spread with browned butter glaze.

Browned Butter Glaze

¼ cup margarine or butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tbsp hot water

Heat the butter or margarine over medium low heat until golden brown; remove from heat. Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency.

Watching the butter brown fascinated me. I wasn’t sure when the butter was brown enough, so I just stood there and observed it. The butter started to make a lot of bubbles and as it cooked, the bubbles became smaller and smaller until they frothed into big, puffy foam and the butter tripled in volume. Then the foam gradually turned golden brown in big patches and the fragrance went from sweet to nutty. Also, I wasn’t sure whether or not to sift the powdered sugar. I discovered that sifting the sugar increased the volume by 50%. In other words, one cup of unsifted powdered sugar became one and a half cups. I added the vanilla last and let the mixture simmer a bit. This removed the alcohol taste in the vanilla. The bubbles got really big then!

Somehow, my bar-cake turned out differently than Carla’s. Mine had a more crumbly texture. Maybe that’s because I decreased the sugar to ½ cup since I don’t like things too sweet. Also I didn’t have pumpkin pie spice so I used a tablespoon of freshly ground Ceylon cinnamon which has a lovely hot, floral taste. I used a smaller baking dish. I liked my bar-cake just fine as did the folks I shared it with but Carla’s totally rocked. Thank you, Carla for sharing this delicious and simple recipe with us!


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