These cake like bars come together in a very short time and are very tasty. The addition of wholewheat flour adds a little nuttiness. I have provided two options for icing the bars and if you just aren’t up for either, then a dusting of icing sugar would work too! I like to make these with my excellent Rum Applesauce but you can certainly use plain, unsweetened applesauce.
For the Cake:
½ cup unbleached flour
¼ cup wholewheat flour
½ cup sugar (a touch less if you are using my rum applesauce)
1/8 tsp. salt
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce or rum applesauce
1/3 cup cooking oil
2 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Spray either a 13x9x2” baking pan, or for a bit thicker bar (approximately 1” deep), use a 11×7 baking pan. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda & spices.
Stir in the applesauce, oil & eggs until thoroughly combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for about 15 minutes (depending on which pan size is chosen) or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool bars on a rack until cold. Ice the bars or dust with icing sugar.
Creamy Raisin-Nut Icing (a simpler version follows)
This icing comes with a bit of family history! Our father really liked spice cakes and so I decided to bake him one and make this icing for it. And I did, then put the finished iced cake into the covered cake server but when we lifted the to cut it a little person (that’s you dear sister), had picked out almost all the raisins and nuts and eaten them). They say you shouldn’t remind your siblings of stuff from their childhood but hey…that’s what sibs do!
Makes Enough Icing for a 13×9” Cake, if making the smaller version, then half the recipe.
½ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ Tbsp. flour
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup milk
3 – 3 ½ cups sifted icing sugar
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped, toasted walnuts**
½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
Have all your ingredients measured & ready. Melt the butter in a saucepan. While the butter is melting, place a couple of trays of ice cubes in a medium-sized bowl & fill with very cold water. Once the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat & blend in the flour & salt; stir in the milk very slowly & return the pan to medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly & don’t worry if the mixture separates (it most likely will), boil the mixture for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat & place in the ice-water bath & stir in the icing sugar gradually, adding enough to make the icing thick enough to spread. Stir in the raisins, nuts & vanilla.
Creamy Vanilla Frosting
Place 6 Tbsp. very soft butter in the bowl of a food processor; add 2 cups sifted icing sugar & 2 Tbsp. homogenized milk or light cream. Turn on the processor & process until combined. Add more milk or cream if the icing is not of spreadable consistency & the add the vanilla. Remove the icing to a bowl & stir in the raisins & nuts.
NB: You can omit the raisins & nuts if you choose!