But just the other day I was chatting with a friend, and heard myself tell her about my applesauce cake, the one my grandmother used to make and how I got the recipe from her. My grandmother, like most of the other Eastern European immigrants who arrived early in the last century, was an instinctive cook, using her memory as her guide. Certainly there weren't any cookbooks in her house. Nor was anything written down.
My husband and I lived in St. Louis after we were married, and my grandmother had moved there to be near one of her daughters. As I started cooking for my own family, I remembered her delicious applesauce cake and asked her for the recipe. She said she didn't have one, that she just made it from memory. But because she loved me (and most of all loved her new great-grandson), she said I could watch her make one and write down the ingredients. Which is what I did. And to this day when I make it I think of my grandmother and smile.
I just made this the other night to end a dinner party, and it was quite the hit. So don't be afraid to try it soon.
For years when I made it I used my own applesauce, but now, with arthritis, I can't spend a lot of time peeling apples so I buy a good jar of applesauce instead. But if you can still make your own, by all means do so.
Grandma's Applesauce Cake
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar
1 c oil (using a flavored oil, such as hazelnut, is a nice touch)
3 c flour
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 c applesauce
1 t cinnmon
2 heaping T cocoa
Mix together first 4 ingredients. Add next 3 ingredients. Add next 3 ingredients. Add nuts, raisins, chocolate chips or whatever or don't add them. Bake in fluted, well-greased pan for 1 hour at 325.