Gluten-Free Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts
This sweet, dense cake with apples, cherries and nuts – not to mention the raisins and spices that flavor it – has been a holiday favorite of ours as long as I can remember. When I started cooking gluten-free, it was among the first cakes I tried to adapt. My Aunt Mac could probably have told the difference, but this recipe of hers converted very well. In fact, when I bake it for a general crowd, it disappears fast.
With the maraschino cherries, you’ll have bright color in the slices, which is especially nice around the holidays. I have never substituted any other type of cherries, but if you try it, be sure to allow for the syrup as well, since that contains a significant proportion of the liquid and the sweetener in this gluten-free recipe.
Gluten Free Applesauce Cake with Cherries and Walnuts
1/2 Cup Shortening, like Crisco or Earth Balance
1 Cup Sugar, or half as much agave nectar or honey
1 Ex-large Egg
1/2 Cup Applesauce, chunky or smooth
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 Teaspoons Hot Water, approx.
1 1/2 Cups Gluten-free Flour Mix, like Bob’s Red Mill
1 1/2 Teaspoons Xanthan Gum
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder, gluten-free, like Rumsford
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon, ground
1 Teaspoon Allspice, ground
4 Ounces Maraschino Cherries, with Syrup (about a dozen cherries with syrup to cover — stems removed)
1/2 Cup Raisins, optional, plumped in hot water for 5-10 minutes, then drained
1/2 Cup Walnuts, optional, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, or if using a glass pan 325 degrees F.
If using raisins, put them in a bowl or measuring pitcher and cover with hot water to plump. Drain them well before adding to batter.
Oil and line a 9×4-inch loaf pan or oil a small Bundt pan or stem pan.
Remove stems from cherries, if needed, and cut in half (scissors make this easy).
Chop the nuts.
Cream shortening and sugar until light in texture; beat in eggs.
Stir in applesauce.
Dissolve baking soda in a little hot water — 1-2 teaspoons or so — and stir into the batter in the mixing bowl.
Stir together the flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder and spices.
Add to batter and beat on low until just mixed, scraping bowl often.
Stir in cherries and syrup, drained raisins and walnuts.
Bake in greased pan at 350 degrees F. (325 degrees F. for a glass pan) for 1 hour, or until done.
While this frugal recipe is popular with people who have no food allergies, it is gluten-free (contains no wheat, barley or rye flour) so it is safe for those with gluten sensitivity, gluten intolerance or celiac (coeliac) disease. It is also casein-free, dairy-free and lactose-free. The raisins and nuts are optional, so you can easily make it nut-free.
As always, be sure you always check all your ingredients each time you buy them to make sure that nothing contains any gluten.
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