Playing with a Cake Recipe

My mother’s white cake recipe, or Torte as we call it in Israel, is simple and easy. I love basic recipes that leave room for creating different versions of them. My mother used to coat the cake with chocolate sauce and decorate it with colorful cake sprinkles. This recipe can easily turn into a marble cake by blending a cup of chocolate sauce with the batter.

Recently my friend Juliann, who lives in Wenatchee, WA, brought me an applesauce she made from local  apples. I decided to use it in my mother’s white cake recipe and give it holidays aroma by adding sweet spices: cinnamon, clove, cardamom, and nutmeg.  Instead of oil I used butter, and I chose to replace the orange juice with creamy coconut milk (from a can). I made these changes, since I needed a more sturdy and heavy batter to carry the heavy and liquid consistency of the applesauce. Instead of sugar I use powdered sugar to whip the egg whites - it makes the whipping process a lot easier. I also reduced the sugar amount in the cake by half, since the applesauce adds its own sweetness.

I made another version of the cake after Thanksgiving, when I had some fresh cranberries leftover. I made cranberry orange chutney, a recipe I originally learned from Williams-Sonoma’s Complete Entertaining Cookbook. Unfortunately this book is out of print.  The original recipe calls for 4 cups of sugar and 4 cups of water. Personally I don’t like a lot of sugar in my deserts, so I reduced the amounts to ¾ cup of sugar and 2 cups of water. I didn’t add any spice to the cake batter, since I wanted it to be white and plain against the rich red-orange color of the chutney and its sweet and tart flavor. This cake took longer to bake due to the extra moisture from the  4 cups of chutney.

Important notes:
  • Do not over mix the sauce with the cake butter. You want to be able to see the difference between the cake batter and the sauce.
  • When using a fruit based sauce, keep the cake in the refrigerator to prevent mold from developing.

 White Cake

6 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup oil
½ cup orange juice
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Separate egg whites from yolks. In a mixer whip egg whites with sugar
Add liquids, and then the dry ingredients.
Place in a 13”X9” greased pan
Bake in 350F/180C preheated oven, for 25-30 minutes.

Applesauce Cake

 6 eggs
½  cup powdered sugar
1 butter stick (4oz/113gr.)  -  Melted
½ cup coconut milk (from a can)
1½ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
¼  tsp clove
¼ tsp nutmeg
2 cups chunky applesauce

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Separate egg whites from yolks. In a mixer - whip egg whites with powdered sugar.

In one bowl  - mix wet ingredients: egg yolks, coconut milk, and melted butter (make sure it is not too hot - you don't want to cook the yolks).

In a second bowl - mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.

Mixing at a lower speed -  add gradually liquids to the whipped eggs, then add the dry ingredients. Mix until you receive a smooth batter. 

Pour batter into a greased 13”X9” pan.
Using a big tablespoon - place dollops of applesauce on the cake-butter.
Using a spatula - mix applesauce gently.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Cranberry Orange Chutney Cake

Cranberry Orange Chutney:

2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 big orange – chopped with peel
2 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
¾  cup sugar
2 cups water
¼ tsp nutmeg -optional
1 vanilla bean – optional

Cook ingredients on a medium heat until boiling. Reduce to low and let simmer for two hours. During cooking cover pot partially to let water evaporate.  Stir content from time to time. 

When cool - purée chutney with a hand mixer.
Yields about 4 cups.

Cake Batter:

6 eggs
½  cup powdered sugar
1 butter stick (4oz/113gr.)
 ½ cup coconut milk (from a can)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp orange extract
1 ½  cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F/180C.

Repeat the same process like in the previous recipes; whip egg whites with sugar, add wet ingredients, and then dry ingredients.

Place cake batter in a 13”X9” greased pan.
Pour cranberry orange chutney on the batter, creating three elongated trips. 

 Mix applesauce gently using a spatula.

Bake fro 40 minutes.