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My grandparents moved to town when my brother was born. I loved it, and I hated it.

I loved it because, duh, my grandparents were now down the street and around the corner instead of an eight hour drive away. But I hated it because that meant our annual trips to the beach were over. I loved my grandparents house in Bishop, Texas, with the laundry out in the garage with a spot outside perfect for making mud pies. The drive to Corpus Christi from their house wasn’t long, and I remember one Christmas Day we went out to the beach and had tuna fish sandwiches. I always thought that was awesome.

With my Mammaw and G-Dad now in Olney, they cooked for us every Sunday afternoon. The running joke each week was if I would pull the real ice cream container out of the freezer. One Blue Bell tub held the wonderfully delicious homemade vanilla ice cream. The other one in the freezer was full of trash.

Most of the time, Mammaw would make us her Applesauce Cake for dessert. It was my brother’s favorite that she made. When his birthday came around, he always asked my mom for watermelon cake – that is until he threw a fit in the middle of the grocery store when he found out that his watermelon cake was actually strawberry cake with vanilla frosting and green food coloring – and then he’d ask Mammaw for Applesauce Cake.

She hasn’t baked it since I was in college. My mom has most of her cookbooks now. I think a few times she’s come across the recipe and made it. I think I asked for it once and got the applesauce measurements wrong. It was disgusting.

So you can only imagine my surprise, and delight, as I was flipping through Reese Witherspoon’s (aka Elle Woods) new book to find a recipe for Applesauce Cake. Immediately, I FaceTimed my mom to see if this was the legit recipe. The cake pictured in the book, Whiskey in a Teacup, had raisins and nuts in in it. (Gross.) Mom said that Mammaw’s recipe called for that but since she didn’t like those things, my Mammaw didn’t include them in the cake.

As I read her the ingredients, one big difference was the one in the book used butter. Mammaw’s used oil.

This morning as I made my trip to HEB, I decided to pick up some applesauce. I had all the other ingredients at my house. It was time to test out Reese’s recipe.

I laid the book out on the counter and got out all the ingredients. I pulled a pan out of my cupboard for the cake.

Later, once the cake was baked, when I showed my mom the finished product, she quickly asked, “Do you not have a bundt pan?” “But ‘this cake has a hole in it,'” was my response, obviously quoting My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Apparently, I used an angel food cake pan. And I don’t own a bundt cake pan. Awesome.

I put the butter and sugar in the mixer. With two cups of each, this cake is obviously not super healthy. Oh well. After that was combined, I added a load of applesauce.

Obviously, my pup Scout had to oversee everything. She thinks she’s my sous-chef. Really, she’s just hoping I drop something yummy on the ground.

And then I sifted together the rest of the dry ingredients.

From there, I stirred the dry ingredients into the wet. I almost forgot the vanilla but, praise the Lord, added it before I put the mix into the bundt pan.

It went into the oven for an hour and a half and made my apartment smell really good. With about 20 minutes left, I gave my brother a call. Of course, he would be the best one to taste and see if Reese’s cake was our Mammaw’s cake. He was running some errands but would come by when he was through.

He got to the house a few minutes after the cake came out of the oven. It had cooled a little bit, and we pulled it out of the pan. No, we didn’t ice it because that’s not the Mammaw way.

As we ate it, still steamy from the oven, we couldn’t quite make up our minds. It kind of tasted like Mammaw’s, but something was different.

After a little bit, duh, we realized that we never ate Mammaw’s cake hot out of the oven. It was usually room temperature as she baked the cake on Saturday, so we could eat it on Sunday.

After waiting a bit longer, we went back to the cake as it was closer to room temperature. Colin took a bite and grinned wide. Bingo. It’s THE cake. (And again, Scout hoped someone would drop something yummy).

One comment on “Cake

  1. After my grandmother died recently I got all of her recipes. I love making one of her classic dishes and sharing it with family as a way to remember her. Great article, keep on cooking.


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