I adore apples: fresh, baked, sauteed, and pressed into cider but applesauce was never my thing.I always viewed applesauce as baby food but one bite of thislight, moist cake made me realize that applesauce is meant for baking! (The recipe isfrom vegetarian cooking queen Crescent Dragonwagon, author of The Passionate Vegetarian; it's a must for anyone who loves fruits and vegetables.) The cake isunbelievably easy to make and it tastes even better the next day. Keep the recipe on hand when holiday guests arrive for a quick breakfast or afternoon treat. If you really want to gild the lily spoon a little whipped cream on top.

Sweet Harvest ApplesauceBundt Cake

1½ cups unbleached white all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour, plus
additional for the pan
1¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda

1/2teaspoon salt

1tsp. ground cinnamon
8 to 10 vigorous gratings of nutmeg (or two pinches ground nutmeg)
Dash of ground cloves
Dash of ground allspice
½ cup raisins
2 to 4 tbsp. walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional but it gives the cake a great crunch)
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1¼ cups unsweetened applesauce (chunky or smooth)
¼ cup mild vegetable oil (e.g, corn, canola, peanut)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar (for dusting)

Preheatoven to 350°F. Decide on the pan: a 9-inch bundt cake pan, an 8 x 4-inch loafpan, or three 5 x 2-inch loaf pans. Spray the pan(s) thoroughly with cookingspray. Dust each pan with a little flour, knock out the excess, and set aside.

Combinethe flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and allspice(if the baking powder and baking soda appear lumpy, sift them in, but the otherdry ingredients do not have to be sifted). Reserve 1 tbsp. of the flour mixtureand place it in a small bowl along with the raisins and, if using, the walnuts.Toss this mixture well and set both bowls aside.

Combinethe sugars with the egg, applesauce, oil and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon,beat the flour mixture together with the applesauce mixture. Stir in theraisins and walnuts and spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until thecake tests clean with a toothpick. The top will still appear a little glossyand feel sticky-tacky to the touch – 30 to 35 minutes for the large loaf orbundt cake pan, and 20 to 25 minutes for the small.

Removefrom the oven and let cool in the pan(s) on a wire rack about 10 minutes. Run aknife around the inner edges of the pan(s) and invert onto the rack with asharp rap. Let cool completely, then either tightly cover with plastic wrap forstorage in the refrigerator or freezer or place on a serving plate, dust with agenerous drift of confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Makesone 9-inch Bundt cake; Serves 12