“Poor Anne got her hat and her twenty dollars and was passing out when she happened to glance through the open pantry door. On the table reposed a nut cake which she had baked that morning…a particularly toothsome concoction iced with pink icing and adorned with walnuts.“ – Anne of Avonlea, Chapter 2
Yummmm. That was my thought when I read this passage from one of my all-time favorite books. Anne Shirley has many baking catastrophes when we first meet her in Anne of Green Gables, but every now and then she creates some truly delicious “concoctions” and pregnant me started craving this particular nut cake as soon as I pictured it with pink icing and walnuts. So I became inspired to bake my own! I know it’s summer and this cake has more of an autumnal taste to it, but it’s delicious all the same!
I found this recipe by Martha Stewart for an Applesauce Cake that I tweaked a bit
Walnut Spice Cake
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup honey (I didn’t measure it out; I drizzled it)
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups applesauce
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Nonstick cooking spray
- For icing: 3 tablespoons melted butter, 2 cups confectioners’ sugar (add more or less, depending on your sweet-tooth), 4 tablespoons water, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, red food coloring. Side note: next time I make this icing I will probably use a butter cream icing instead.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
In another bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter, brown sugar, and honey until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Beat in applesauce. Fold in walnuts.
Generously coat a nonstick 9-inch tube pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into pan; smooth top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (but slightly wet), 60 to 70 minutes (I moved the pan to the bottom rack after 60 minutes so the middle of the cake would bake faster).
Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Turn out of pan onto a cutting board or baking sheet; invert cake onto rack, top side up. Cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, or top with icing and chopped walnuts, if desired.
- For Icing: Mix melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, water, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add 1-2 drops of red food coloring to get the pinkness you desire. Stir until blended. Pour over cake and sprinkle chopped walnuts on top. Tip: reheat icing just before pouring. Halfway around the cake I noticed that my icing wasn’t “dripping” enough.